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Icelandic designer reigns supreme in UN competition

Icelandic designer reigns supreme in UN competition

How do you raise public awareness of some critically important international development issues? The United Nations answered this question by launching the UN Ads Against Poverty Competition, aimed at boosting awareness of its eight Millennium Development Goals — ranging from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education. Some 2036 entries later, the judges announced a winner by way of graphic designer Stefán Einarsson, from Iceland, for his “We are still waiting” campaign. 

Einarsson’s campaign calls on world leaders to live up to their promises of ending poverty by 2015, and was chosen from 29 finalists. For his graphic prowess, Einarsson picks up €5,000 (NZ$9000). 

“I am, of course, delighted that I have won and I sincerely hope that this ad will remind our leaders that they have to keep their promises and achieve the Millennium Development Goals,” says Einarsson. 

Einarsson’s winning entry was selected by popular vote as well as by a jury of prominent European advertising and marking experts, artists, designers and UN communications officials. The competition invited all citizens of the 48 European countries to submit one-page print entries in the form of drawings, designs, cartoons, photographs or slogans. 

“The level of participation and the quality of the Ads Against Poverty by the European creative community, professionals and amateurs alike, was beyond our wildest expectations,” says Afsané Bassir-Pour, director of the UN Regional Information Centre in Brussels, which launched the web-based campaign. 

While there can only be one winner, the UN will be sending some of the entries to major European newspapers to be published in the relevant countries. Partners will also be exhibiting the ads in different cities 

More finalists below.