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National Light Reporter, Okafor named jurist for human right essays contest



USA’s Tom Block also in the IHRAF essay panel

NATIONAL Light’s reporter, Izunna Okafor, has been appointed a jury of the 2021 African Human Rights Essay, being organised by the International Human Rights Art Festival (IHRAF).

  This was contained in a statement issued by the Coordinator of IHRAF in Africa, Mr. Wole Adedoyin, who recently unveiled the Nigerian journalist and author, Izunna Okafor, and American Playwright, Tom Block as the judges of the international essay competition.

  According to Mr. Adedoyin, the essay writing competition aims at addressing human rights issues and promoting human rights culture and ethics in Africa.

  He said: “We have already received many wonderful entries from different countries in Africa, including Malawi, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana.

  “To evaluate and select outstanding entries for the top prizes in the competition, the organizers have unveiled two distinguished individuals with diverse experiences and expertise in Essay Writing. The two selected judges are Izunna Okafor (from Nigeria) and Tom Block (from America).

  Okafor, who is a renowned journalist working with the Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation (publishers of National Light Newspaper, Ka Ọ Dị Taa Igbo Newspaper, and Sports Light Xtra), is also an author of five books, with 27 national and international awards, and thousands of publications, cutting across journalism and creative writing.

  A diglot writer and Igbo Language Activist, Okafor, who was a joint winner of the National Light’s Staff of the Year in 2019, and won 2015 Nigerian Writers Award, is also the Coordinator of Society of Young Nigerian Writers (Anambra State Chapter), the convener of Chinua Achebe Literary Festival; as well as the Project Coordinator, Writers Against COVID-19 Movement, and Editor-in-Chief, Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology, and COVID-19 Poetry/Essay Anthology, among other positions.

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  Adedoyin further notes that Tom Block is a playwright, author of five books and 20+ year visual artist whose plays have been developed and produced at such venues as the Ensemble Studio Theater, HERE, Dixon Place, Theater for the New City, IRT Theater, Theater at the 14th Street Y, Theater Row, A.R.T.-NY and many others.

  “He was the founding producer of the International Human Rights Art Festival (2017), the Amnesty International Human Rights Art Festival (2010) and a Research Fellow at DePaul University (2010). He has exhibited his artwork and spoken about his ideas throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, Turkey and the Middle East,” Adedoyin said.

  Prizes to be awarded in the competition include: Nelson Mandela Prize ($100); Thomas Sankara Prize ($75); Omoyele Sowore Prize ($50); and Seven Honorable Mentions

  “The longlist of 15 outstanding entries in the essay competition is expected to be announced on the 10th of April, 2021,” Adedoyin added.

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