Press release: Bangladeshi girl wins 50th UPU International Letter-Writing Competition with thoughts on the pandemic

Abidjan/Berne. Fourteen-year old Nubaysha Islam from Sylhet in Bangladesh today scooped the gold medal in the Universal Postal Union’s 50th International Letter-Writing Competition.

The Universal Postal Union’s Director General Bishar A. Hussein made the announcement at a special ceremony during the 27th Universal Postal Congress in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire.
“Winners of the competition all display a wisdom, a strength of character that goes far beyond their years; something that makes them stand out as individuals and as ambassadors of their generation,” said Mr. Hussein.
Recognizing the terrible impact of the pandemic, this year’s theme was “Write a letter to a family member about your experience with Covid-19.”
Nubaysha’s letter reveals the heartbreak she and her family suffered during the pandemic, with her mum suffering from depression and the loss of her aunt to the Covid-19 virus.

At one point, the fourteen-year old questions whether Covid-19 virus is Mother Nature’s punishment for humanity wrecking the world. “Maybe she’s ushering us to our senses; making us realize our mindless wrongdoings,” she writes.
She underscores this tragic viewpoint with, “The virus is deadly, so is losing hope.” However, despite the pain and loss, the schoolgirl does not give up hope and use imagery of nature to express her feelings.
“The sun is setting among the foliage, marking the end of the last day of the year and the arrival of a new daw of a new year,” says Nubaysha. She ends her winning letter with the line: “But never lose hope Amal – Never.”
In a closing address, the UPU Deputy Director General Pascal Clivaz said, “We’ve always been touched not only today, but whenever we get to hear the words of these young people presented at Congress.”
Bruno Ivanovski, a 14-year-old from North Macedonia received the second prize for his letter to his grandma about how he hasn’t seen her for a year and misses her greatly; and from Vietnam, Dao Anh Thu, also 14-years-old, received the third prize for her letter to her younger sister.
There were also special mentions for the letters of young people from: Belarus, Brazil, Turkey, Indonesia, and  Libya.
About the UPU International Letter Writing Competition
The Universal Postal Union (UPU) officially launched the International Letter-Writing Competition (ILWC) in 1971 with the aim of raising young peoples’ awareness of the important role the postal sector plays in society. The competition was created by the 1969 Tokyo Congress, with the first winner, from Brazil, announced in 1972. In 2021 the UPU is proud to be running its 50th ILWC event.
The annual competition, which now attracts more than 1.2 million global participants each year, encourages young people aged between 9 and 15 to write letters on a given theme. This year the theme was to “write a letter to a family member about your experience with Covid-19.”


The Universal Postal Union is a UN specialized agency with its headquarters in the Swiss capital Berne. Established in 1874, it is one of the world’s oldest international organizations and is the primary forum for cooperation between postal sector players.
Read Nubaysha’s winning letter here.
For further information, please contact:
Kayla Redstone
Communication Expert
Communication & Events Programme
Universal Postal Union (UPU)
Executive Office Directorate
T +41 79 930 12 50