“Poles have a deeply ingrained sense of solidarity with people in need,” Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski said when presenting awards to the laureates of the MFA photo competition “Lens on Development” – 2013 edition.
“Public approval for assisting countries that are now less fortunate than us continues to be strong in Poland,” underlined the minister. “As many as 74 per cent of Poles believe that we should help poor countries, just as we used to receive help from others,” he added. The chief of Poland’s diplomacy pointed out that the European Union remains the world’s largest donor of assistance, funding as it does 60 per cent of all global development initiatives. “Poland actively shapes the policy to reduce poverty and funds development projects benefitting less affluent countries,” recalled Radosław Sikorski.
When congratulating the winners, Poland’s top diplomat noted that the first edition of the “Lens on Development” photo contest was staged during Poland’s presidency of the EU Council in 2011. “Seeing that the undertaking was successful, we decided to hold more editions and I am hopeful that it will become a permanent fixture in the calendar of major events,” said the minister. The contest not only aims to “select photos representing the highest artistic value,” as Minister Sikorski underscored, but also to “familiarize Poles with development issues and make the public more sensitive to the problems of regions that are reached by Polish aid.”
The competition was open to all people who were interested in photography and development challenges facing poor countries and countries undergoing transition. Entries were accepted by e-mail from 1 September to 20 October 2013. Several hundred photographs were sent in, from which the contest jury awarded ten in three categories: “Education and entrepreneurship as the key to better life,” “Impact of the natural environment on human life,” and “Democracy and human rights in development.”
The host of this year’s award presentation ceremony was Martyna Wojciechowska, the editor-in-chief of National Geographic Polska and head of the jury. The winning photos will be published on www.polskapomoc.gov.pl and in December’s edition of theNational Geographic magazine.