Sunday, 17 July 2016

Exclusive Interview with Terri Nwanma, Winner of UNESCO National Essay Competition.

We bring to you another interesting interview with an intellectual, a visionary, a young writer, Terri Nwanma. She shared a few things about herself, her interests and her latest achievement.

Can we meet you? 

Hello. I'm Terri Nwanma. I'm 16. I love food, new books and fashion. I'm a budding writer, feminist and blogger. Watch out for me in the near future, I plan on being President. 

What do you do for fun? 

I read books, I check out new trends. Oh, I didn't mention, I have a spot for fashion.

What age did you start entering for competitions? 

I took part in ThisDay Independence day essay competition when I was 9. I won that but up until my last win, I had a drought of successes but I persisted. 

How do you sharpen your writing skill?

I hone my writing skills by going for writing workshops, asking my dad who's a journalist for advice, reading writing style guides and reading good books. Also watching TV, listening to the radio and watching a vast array of movies broadens my vocabulary. 

Are you into fiction, essays or what, tell us. 

Am an all-rounder.

The latest competition you won? 

UNESCO National Essay Competition.

Tell us about it? 

It was titled building peace in our hearts and minds through our words. I drew inspiration from my knowledge of the power of words and my experience with bullying. I had written the essay last year and hearing no response, had written it off as one of my many losses. But by God's grace and to my overwhelming surprise, I came out tops with the star prize being a trip to United Nations headquarters for a summer camp. 

Your source for competition notices? 

I receive emails from blogs I subscribe to such as this blog,

Let's have a feel of you. Can we see the mind-blowing winner-essay? 

Peace to me represents not just the absence of conflict but wholeness of heart and mind. A state
of being where all emotions are at a healthy balance and all necessary human qualities are
present. We can create such a peace through gentle considerate words and rephrasing of
sentences which could be hurtful. Wholeness cannot be achieved when a dent has been placed on
self esteem. This blow to self esteem can be caused by verbal bullying, teasing and constant
prodding about a physical feature, a character trait, sensitive information, socioeconomic status
and possessions.

These events might be overlooked as poking fun but they leave imprints on the hearts of those
who are at the receiving end of the derogatory words. Most times, people who are the butts of
certain jokes reminisce over these events and feel inadequate and insecure. They begin to see
themselves through the eyes of others and this negative paradigm shift causes them to be restless
at heart as they are always anxious to seek others’ opinions about them. To prevent this we can
choose to use edifying and encouraging words no matter the situation and how different the other
person might seem from the norm. We should not create intangible barriers of race, religion,
culture or tastes that would loom as obstacles to achieving a common goal through our
discriminatory words but rather create an invisible unified frontier through inclusive words and

Peace also connotes stability. For mental calm to reign in a country, the press as well as the
masses must not incite agitation and fear in people’s hearts and minds. Yes it is true. We do live
in tumultuous times and the cold grip of fear grasps our hearts from time to time but working up
one’s self would do no good. Instead of wailing and weeping over our woes and the saddening
news we hear every day and painting an even gloomier picture of the future with our despairing
words, we can prevent worry lines from being etched on the faces of both the old and the young.
One can motivate groups of people and help ameliorate problems instead of sitting idle,
grumbling and muttering. Those with oratory skills and crowd invigorating charisma can put
these qualities to use and propel those who were previously despondent to be hopeful about and
create a more peaceful and sustainable future.

The basic definition of peace is the lack of warfare or freedom from conflict. To create such a
peace in our hearts and minds we can avoid saying what we do not mean or things that don’t
tally with our values and personal beliefs. Saying things that would please the hearers or make us
popular with others can, in a sense, improve interpersonal relationships and leave us feeling good
about ourselves as we are accepted. But the fact remains that if these verbalized expressions are
contrary to your true opinions, your conscience will never be stilled as you would see yourself as
a fraud, a people pleaser and an untrustworthy person.

Peace also means harmony and concord, a rhythmic calm in the minds and hearts of people.
Lullabies are sung to babies to still their tears and to pacify them when they are in pain. As
infants, it is impossible for them to decipher the meaning of the words being sung but the
soothing tone of the simple melody calms their frantic cries and the baby usually slumbers. In the
same vein, full grown humans should be as mindful of the tone of voice they use in speaking to
people as they are of the words being used. A condescending tone, a condemning tone and an
offensive tone can all rile up people and create discord in their hearts even before retaliatory
words and actions are used. Also diplomacy and sincerity should be used instead of deceitful
flattery as people can eventually discern the true opinions held about them.

The irrefutable truth remains that physical trouble stems from the revenging plans a troubled
mind concocts. One of the major global problems today is terrorism and for a human to get to
such a stage that he can commit suicide while destroying lives and livelihoods, the serenity that
is meant to be in his heart has been acutely disrupted due to violence instigating words spoken to
them by their masters. To prevent this from happening to more lives and to promote a sustainable
future, we should be prudent and tactful in using our words.


  1. I have a crush on her already.

  2. How can she b a model and a intellectual. Wow

  3. The essay is too long ooo

  4. Nice essay. It deserved the win.

  5. Yes it was. She thinks so maturely.

  6. Terri Nwanma, she was my classmate in Grange. Terri, it's me, Sijuwade. You are going places.

  7. That's how she has gone to UN.