Winners of Earth Day Art Contest Visit Washington, Disney World

Washington – Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte, joined by honorary ambassador Mickey Mouse, congratulated three young people from Bulgaria, South Korea and Belarus, who were the winners of the department-sponsored 2007 Earth Day International Art Contest.

The department's Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science sponsored the international art competition for children aged 10-15 from around the world, based on the theme, "What is important to you about our environment?"

According to a State Department media note released April 25, the purpose of the contest was to highlight U.S. engagement and leadership on environmental issues.  The United States continues to lead the world in addressing many important international environmental issues, such as climate change, clean energy, natural resource conservation, air and water pollution, ocean protection, fisheries conservation and infectious disease prevention.

Officials from the embassies of each winner's home country attended the April 26 ceremony, as did approximately 500 young people accompanying their parents to work at the State Department on “Take Your Child to Work Day."

Mickey Mouse bestowed gifts as well as congratulations.  After their visit in Washington, the winners will fly to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, where they will be guests for three nights at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  The children will participate in a series of educational conservation activities at the Animal Kingdom and other parks at Walt Disney World, according to the State Department.

The three winners are:

• Age 14-15 - Mariya Nikolova, 15, from Kazanluk, Bulgaria;

• Age 12-13 - Soo-Yun Ga, 12, from Seoul, South Korea; and

• Age 10-11 - Anna Kutuzava, 11, from Minsk, Belarus.

Mariya Nikolova attends an advanced-mathematics secondary school and also has taken painting lessons for 10 years.  She attends the Galya Ivanova’s School of Painting in the Ivan Rilski Child Centre in her hometown of Kazanluk.

Soo-Yun Ga’s art talent was discovered early; she attends art school in Seoul.

Anna Kutuzava is a fifth-year pupil at Polotsk Gymnasia No. 1.  She has been drawing in a school art studio as an extracurricular activity since she began her formal education and is fond of drawing wildlife.

The media note is available on the State Department's Web site, as is a transcript of Negroponte's remarks.

For information on environmental issues, see Environment.