UNICEF unmasks super villain in new global comic contest


New York: UNICEF and Comics Uniting Nationsare calling on children and young people to defeat the ultimate supervillain –Silence – to help end violence in and around schools.

Silence –a supernatural character that uses its powers to stop children from speaking up and taking action against violence in and around schools – was unveiled at New York Comic Con this weekto launch UNICEF and Comics Uniting Nations’ superhero comic contest. Children and young people aged 25years and under are invited to design their own comic superhero that will defeat Silence and help keep children safe in school.

“There should be no room for Silence when it comes to children’s safety,” said UNICEF Director of Communication Paloma Escudero. “With this creative contest, we are hoping to get students, teachers, families and communities to speak up and beat Silence.”

From fighting and bullying to sexual harassment and corporal punishment,violence in and around school can have devastating, long-term consequences for children.The Silence superhero comiccontest will encourage children and young people to be part of UNICEF’s global campaign to shed light on and spark action to #ENDviolence in schools through the creative medium of comic design.

The topsubmissions in the contest will be chosen after the closing date on 25th October by a specialpanelof judges, including comic artist Gabriel Picolo and last year’s comic contest winner Sathviga ‘Sona’ Sridhar.The publicwill then have the opportunity to vote online for their favouritecomic herobetween 16th and 25thNovember. The winner will be announced in December 2019 and will work with a professional team to turn their winning idea into afull-length comic book. Their comicwill be presented to World Leaders at the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Developmentat the United Nations in July 2019,as well as distributed to schools and children worldwide.

21-year-old Sathviga ‘Sona’ Sridhar, from Chennai, India, won UNICEF’s inaugural superhero comic contest in 2017. With a focus on combatting climate change, her winning character ‘Light’ was a half tree-half human who uses special powers to save nature from a warming planet. The contestreceived nearly 2,900 submissions by young people from 99 different countries and more than 21,000 votes from 162 countries were cast to determine the winner.