Alina Kaur’s winning article is about a disabled man who finds freedom by paragliding.
(Photo courtesy of Roman Solomatin)

By Nelson Graves

Alina Kaur of Novosibirsk State University and Nicholas Jain of Princeton Day School have won News-Decoder’s $1,000 contest showcasing young people’s perspectives on critical global issues.

More than half of the submissions to News-Decoder’s second essay and reporting competition focused on Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election. Other entries tackled climate change, Europe’s economy, China’s conception of “face” and the health crisis in Aleppo, among other issues.

Alina Kaur

Alina Kaur

The multimedia stories came from Asia, Europe and North America — home to most of the 16 academic institutions in News-Decoder’s pilot program. Participants were asked to address global issues relating to conflict, development, economics, the environment, human rights or security.

We will be publishing the winning articles and other entries in coming days.

Kaur, a first-year student in journalism at Russia’s Novosibirsk State University, writes about a wheelchair-bound man who escapes the bounds of his physical disabilities by paragliding.

Jain, in his final year at Princeton Day School in the United States, addresses the relationship between Trump’s rhetoric and a rise in hate crimes in America.

A three-person jury awarded $500 to each of the two winners. The prize money was provided by donors who contributed to News-Decoder’s crowd-funding campaign in early 2015. The not-for-profit educational news service and forum will be launching a fresh fund-raising campaign in coming days.

Serving on jury were:

  • Jui Chakravorty, founder and managing editor of, a digital video startup.
  • Robert Holloway, a former senior editor at Agence France-Presse and ex-director of the AFP Foundation.
  • Patricia Sourdin, an author and consultant who teaches at Johns Hopkins University in Italy, the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia.
Nicholas Jain

Nicholas Jain

There were two runners-up in the high school category: Michaela Cohen of Greens Farms Academy in the U.S. state of Connecticut and Kate Curry, who comes from the U.S. state of West Virginia and is studying this year with the School Year Abroad program in France.

Cohen reflects on whether Trump’s victory, Brexit and the rise of nationalism point to the end of liberal democracy — and concludes that they do not have to.

Curry addresses the impact that the Trump Administration could have on global efforts to curb climate change, and explains why many voters in her home state favored the Republican nominee.

The academic institutions in News-Decoder’s pilot program are:

American College of Thessaloniki (Greece)
American University (U.S.)
Aristotle University (Greece)
Bournemouth University (UK)
Cornell College (U.S.)
Greens Farms Academy (U.S.)
Indiana University (U.S.)
ISF Academy (Hong Kong)
King’s Academy (Jordan)
King’s College London (UK)
Menlo School (U.S.)
Novosibirsk State University (Russia)
Princeton Day School (U.S.)
Princeton International School of Mathematics and Science (U.S.)
School Year Abroad (China, France, Italy, Spain)
Westover School (U.S.)

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