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International Competition Let's Celebrate EU Day - Jelena Kovačević and Martina Budimir

Updated: Jun 5

Two foreign language teachers from the Croatian School of Economics Požega (Ekonomska škola Požega, Jelena Kovačević and Martina Budimir have leveraged their extensive experience in international competitions and projects to organize an international competition for students worldwide for the fourth consecutive year. Supported by their school, which is an ambassador school of the European Parliament in Croatia and an active participant in Erasmus+ projects, they aimed to celebrate Europe Day. 

The working languages of the competition were English and German. To align with Europe Day while inviting schools globally and not just from the European Union, universal themes and messages promoted by the Union were chosen. This year's theme, in light of the upcoming 2024 European elections, was:

"The best way to predict the future is to create it.” 

„Der beste Weg, die Zukunft vorauszusagen, ist, sie zu gestalten.“

Abraham Lincoln

The organizers aimed to emphasize the importance of civic participation, especially among young people.

Objectives of the competition were to increase awareness of the European Union and its goals, celebrate European democracy, convey the message of unity in diversity, promote the learning and use of foreign languages, encourage creativity and boost self-confidence.

Students aged 10-14 and 15-19 were invited to participate. They could submit their interpretations of the theme through short films (up to 1 minute), songs (audio or video, up to 2 minutes, with lyrics written by the student), or pictures/drawings/digital art. Entries had to include a message in either English or German that was not merely a repetition of the competition's motto. The competition ran from February 11 to April 15, 2024. This year, the virtual awards ceremony was not held due to illness of one of the main organizers. 

A total of 147 entries from 21 countries across 4 continents were received:

- 101 in English and 46 in German

- 87 from children and 60 from youths

- Entries included: 62 from Croatia, 9 from France, 8 from Latvia, 7 each from Romania, Serbia, and Ukraine, 6 from Poland, 5 each from India, Kazakhstan, Colombia, and Germany, 4 each from Mauritius and Turkey, 3 from Greece, 2 each from Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Philippines, and Georgia, and 1 each from Mongolia, Spain, Tunisia, and Vietnam.

In 2021, the competition saw 131 entries from 14 countries across three continents. In 2022, participation increased to 148 entries from 14 countries, with entries from South America for the first time, raising the number of continents represented to four. Last year, 133 entries came from 15 countries. Over the years, 559 entries from 29 countries have been received.

All participants and their mentors have received certificates, with the top three winners in each category (age group and language) receiving awards, totaling 12 prizes.

Winners in 4 categories:

English Language

Category: Children (10-14)

1. Ivan Pejin, song (mentor: Pamela Grozdanić), Rijeka, Croatia

2. Andrija Traven, song (mentor: Dora Šantić), Rijeka, Croatia

3. Zoe Marie Thellman, film/art (mentor: Iris Zorić), Osijek, Croatia

Category: Youth (15-19)

1. Paulina Klimkiewicz, song/film (mentor: Ewa Lachowicz), Poland

2. Marta Babić, film (mentor: Amela Ojdanić), Rijeka, Croatia

3. Valentina Ledinski, art (mentor: Tatjana Šoša), Zagreb, Croatia

Work by Valentina Ledinski

German Language

Category: Children (10-14)

1. Alisa Mykytiuk, film (mentor: Nataliia Yakymchuk), Ukraine

2. Lea Tome, film (mentor: Maja Kaurin Vučković), Pakrac

3. Iva Papac, film (mentor: Jasminka Hajpek), Požega

Category: Youth (15-19)

1. Loïc Daubie, film (mentor: Elodie Durigneux), France

2. Anesa Delić, art (mentor: Selma Handukić), Bosnia and Herzegovina

3. Rea Pongrac, art/film (mentor: Tanja Baksa), Prelog, Croatia

Work by Anesa Delić

The award-winning entries can be seen HERE.

The competition is financially supported by Požeško-slavonska County and the Kroatischer Deutschlehrerverband (KDV). Sponsors who contributed with prizes for the winners are: European Parliament Office in Croatia, European Commission Representation in Croatia, Agency for Mobility and EU Programmes (AMPEU), Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Zagreb, Goethe-Institut Croatia, Austrian Cultural Forum in Zagreb, European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe (ECML), Croatian National Tourist Bord, Požeško-slavonska County Tourist Bord, Naklada Ljevak, Hueber and Pearson.

The competition has been deemed noteworthy by Senior Advisors for English and German languages in Croatia, Croatian Association of Teachers of English (HUPE) and Forum for Freedom in Education.

For updates on the competition, visit the Let's Celebrate EU Day on Facebook.  

Reported by: Jelena Kovačević and Martina Budimir

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