On December 23, 2011, A–SMYLE alumni coordinator Ivan Vuksanovic ’07 and U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Officer Ms. Shelly Seaver were joined by numerous guests in recognizing and congratulating the winners of the 4th Annual Essay Competition organized by A-SMYLE alumni for elementary school students in Montenegro.
The competition was announced at the beginning of International Education Week 2011. Participants were asked to write in English on the topic “United States of America and Montenegro: What will the future bring?” This topic was chosen, according to Vuksanovic, as an opportunity to “hear how youth (and potential future A-SMYLE candidates) see the U.S. and how they see their country, as well as showing how good the relations between the two countries are, from their point of view, and what can be done to improve these relations.”
The winning essays were selected by a four-member jury comprised of Vuksanovic, fellow alum Ksenija Vukmirovic ’08, and American Corner Coordinators Anica Vujnovic and Milena Miskovic Vucelic. These essays were then passed on to the U.S. Ambassador to Montenegro, Ms. Sue K. Brown, who, according to a tradition set in previous years, signed books that were given as prizes to the winners.
The closing ceremony was held at the American Corner in Podgorica. During the ceremony, the authors of the winning essays—Nikola Minić from Bijelo Polje (first prize), Marija Jeknić from Kolašin (second prize) and Andrija Mirović from Kolašin and Ivana Ćuljković from Mojkovac (both third prize)—read their work aloud for the audience before being personally awarded their certificates and prizes by PAO Seaver. The winners thanked American Councils, who granted funding for the competition, and expressed their interest in applying for the A-SMYLE program when they become eligible.