Posted by Philip Poole on 2008-04-21

Samford student Jonathan Coley has won a national essay contest sponsored by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.

Coley, a sophomore political science major from Germantown, Tenn., won the museum's 2008 Genocide Prevention Op-Ed Writing and Video Contest for an essay on genocide in Darfur that was published in the March 5 issue of The Crimson, Samford's student newspaper.

In addition to recognition on the museum's website, Coley will be presented at the national Day of Remembrance ceremony on May 1 and participate in several other events at the museum. He also will meet with human rights experts while in Washington.

Coley said he became interested in the Holocaust and other genocide issues because of the genocide course he is taking during the spring semester. He submitted the essay at the urging of Crimson editors and his professor, Fred Shepherd. Because there were more than 100 entrants, Coley said he didn't expect to win.

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum invited college and high school students to write an op-ed or compose a video responding to the question "What advice would you give the next U.S. President on preventing and responding to threats of genocide and related crimes against humanity?" The essays and videos were judged by actress and UNICEF goodwill ambassador Mia Farrow, Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, and John Prendergast, co-chair of ENOUGH!, an international human rights advocacy group.