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Falkland Islands

Newcastle academic part of Falkland Islands anniversary

Published on: 10 March 2022

A geographer at Newcastle University is part of a unique project to mark the 40th anniversary of the Falkland Islands war.

As part of the anniversary, the Falkland Islands Government is offering eight school students the opportunity of a lifetime – an all-expenses-paid visit to the Falkland Islands in February 2023, where they will experience for themselves the Falkland Islands’ culture, history, and extraordinary natural environment.

Working in partnership with historians and geographers from Newcastle University, the University of Exeter, and Royal Holloway, University of London, the Falkland Islands Government want to know what the Falklands mean to young people in the UK today.

Dr Matt Benwell, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at Newcastle University, has carried out extensive research on young people’s experiences in relation to the geopolitics of the Falkland Islands. “We’re really excited to work with young people from all over the UK for this unique competition and can’t wait to see the inspirational ideas they have about the modern Falkland Islands”, said Dr Benwell.

The eight students will enjoy the hospitality of the Falkland Islands’ community, with a chance to immerse themselves in the Islands’ diverse, multicultural society. The winners will also have the opportunity to enjoy the Falkland Islands’ pristine environment first hand, on adventure travels around the coast to see the famous wildlife, such as penguins, sealions, and dolphins; help with conservation work; visit farms; and learn about the heritage of the Falkland Islands.

TV broadcaster, author, and adventurer, Ben Fogle has agreed to head the judging panel that will select the competition winners. Ben, who has visited the Falkland Islands many times, most recently in February 2022, commented, "The Falkland Islands really are a magical place. I’ve been lucky enough to visit the Islands many times over the years, drawn back by the unique wildlife. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the liberation of the Islands and to mark the event, we want you to enter our competition."

The competition is all about storytelling and ‘place’ and is open to all UK resident students born between 10 February 2005 and 10 February 2007(aged 16-18 years old at the time of travel in 2023).

The judges want to hear the views of as wide a range of students as possible, from around the UK and from different types of schools.

Students might have links to the Islands through a member of their family who fought in the war and want to tell their story; or they may have an interest in wildlife and love penguins; or they may be inspired by the Falkland Islands’ pristine environment. Others may want to dig into the Islands fascinating history, the relationship with Britain and the wider world, or focus on the ‘heroic age’ of exploration and the Falklands status as a gateway to Antarctica. Other students may be more interested in the modern Falklands and the cultural, political and diplomatic links with the UK and Latin America. Entries are also welcome from students that have never heard of the Falkland Islands before but have been inspired by the competition to find out more.

Falkland Islands Junior Ambassador Tamsin McLeod said: "We are really looking forward to meeting and welcoming the winning students to the Falkland Islands in 2023 and showing them our home and the unique experiences of growing up in the Falklands." 

Catriona Pennell, Professor of Modern History and Memory Studies at the University of Exeter added: "Students are encouraged to tell their stories in ways that are meaningful to them and their peers, so entries to this competition can be submitted in a range of flexible creative ways, such as essays or stories, posters, podcasts, or short films. The judges will be looking for creativity, innovation, originality, and challenging misconceptions. Clarity, passion, accuracy, and insight will all score highly."

Full information about the competition and the entry/shortlisting process can be found at its website: The website also contains a wealth of background information on the Falkland Islands to whet students’ appetites and imaginations.

The eight competition winners will spend just over a week on the Islands, on a fully-funded and escorted tour, learning about the culture, history, and people of this UK Overseas Territory. 

The visit to the Falkland Islands is planned to take place in February 2023 (half-term period), and will be paid for by the Falkland Islands Government. Closing date for entries is 31.07.22.

You can keep updated with the Falklands 40th anniversary via Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok and Twitter @falklands40comp.

Press release adapted with thanks to the Falkland Islands Government.

A view of the Falkland Islands
Falklands Forty Schools Competition - Launch Film

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