Make a wish for the planet

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

New York | DPI

The Department of Public Information is wrapping up an educational outreach initiative to mark the 70th anniversary of The Little Prince in the United States with an essay and drawing contest about the universal lessons of the book. The contest is part of a Cultural Diplomacy Initiative developed by the DPI Education Outreach Section of the Outreach Division in partnership with the International Organization of La Francophonie (IOF) and the Estate of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

Young people between the ages of 5 and 18, including families of staff members, are invited to respond to the question “Are the values of The Little Prince still universal values today?” Entries must be received by the Outreach Department (e-mail: by 30 June 2014. Awards will be announced at UN Headquarters in New York during the September commemoration of the International Day of Peace.

To promote the contest, the three partners produced a bilingual (English/French) booklet that highlights how the values explored in The Little Prince correspond to those of the UN and the IOF. It explores essential challenges faced by humanity today and the role of our organizations in promoting these universal values. United Nations Radio also produced an inspiring programme about a special event which took place at the New York Public Library to promote the anniversary of the book.

The Little Prince was first published in New York at the beginning of April 1943. At that time, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry had been living in exile in the city for over two years and was preparing to leave on a long journey. Tormented by the separation from his family and his homeland, he departed for North Africa alongside 50,000 American soldiers with the ideal of preserving a ‘certain quality of human relationships’.

Translated into 270 languages, The Little Prince has become the best-known and most translated work of Francophone literature around the world. It speaks of fundamental truths and shines a light on universal values such as peace, friendship and solidarity, diversity and multilingualism, education, health and protection of the environment. Through a tale of an initiatic journey, it teaches open-mindedness and the importance of discovering our fellow human beings. The values it illustrates are applicable to all ages and all cultures.

Do not hesitate to spread the word and encourage your children, families and friends to participate in the contest.

More on the contest
The contest is open to participants between the ages of 5 and 18. Three awards will be given for each age category (5-8, 9-12, 13-15, and 16-18) and the winning submissions will be posted on a United Nations website. We ask that you please include your first name, last name, date of birth, and e-mail address. All drawings must be digitized and text submissions, either in English or French, must not exceed 500 words. Participants retain ownership rights for their drawings or text, but by participating in the contest, they agree to give the United Nations the exclusive, irrevocable right to use the contents of their submission, fully or partially, without compensation. Winners must provide proof of their date of birth.