Imperial College London

Global unity: Winners of 2021 Global Creative Competition announced


Global Creative Competition live event

The Second Annual Global Creative Competition saw medical students from around the globe share their creative responses to the theme: Global Unity.

The competition, organised by the Medical Education Innovation and Research Centre (MEdIC), received entries across a variety of mediums such as painting, drawing, sculpture, illustration, graphic art, comics, photography, textiles, short film, animation, music and spoken word.

Professor Sonia Kumar, Professor of Medical Education and Director of MEdIC, said: “We were overwhlemed by the response of our worldwide community of students and their incredible creative talents. It was a real challenge for our shortlisting team to narrow down the finalists.”

Professor Kumar and Imperial medical student Nour Houbby hosted a virtual awards ceremony with shortlisted candidates. The winners and runners up were voted on by attendees to the live stream.


Call me when unity is true – by Zainab Ifthikar, Alfaisal University, Saudi Arabia

Originally from Sri Lanka, Zainab is a final year medical student at Alfaisal University in Saudi Arabia. In 2021 she was selected as a winner of the Women’s Achievement Award by McKinsey & Company.

Through her poem “Call me when unity is true” Zainab highlights recent global examples of when a lack of global unity has been evident such as the persecution of Uighur muslims, the killing of George Floyd and terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka.

On the topic of Global Unity Zainab said: “I didn’t want to write about an abstract reality of our world whilst ignoring the actual reality that we will live in.”

“I end my poem on a hopeful note, that a day will come when religion, race or colour does not determine our social value and does not determine whether I get to live or die. That day is when I will celebrate the flip side of our reality and celebrate global unity.”

Watch 'Call me when unity is true' by Zainab Ifthikar

Call me when unity is true by Zainab Ifthikar

Terraform - by Aashley Muthuri, University of Nairobi, Kenya

Aashley, a 4th year medical student from the University of Nairobi, submitted a painting entitled Terraform.

The painting depicts a young child being carried by a soldier, with both surrounded by a golden halo. Aashley explained how she was influenced by scenes in Afghanistan in August, 2021: “I chose this piece to start conversation, emotion and thought about what was happening in the world in August in Afghanistan at the same time as the Global Creative Competition was running. The soldier and the child in the painting have died from one of the terror attacks in Afghanistan” 

On the title of her submission Aashley explained: “To terraform means to transform another planet to mimic earths conditions. Could earth terraform again so as to mimic itself how earth was designed and how we were initially design to live with each other.”

'Terraform' by Aashley MuthuriTerraform by Aashley Muthuri

Runners up

The Battles We Fight – Lloyd Anicier Barba, Far Eastern University, Philippines

Lloyd submitted a poem entitled The Battles We Fight after watching news reports on the war in Afghanistan as well as natural disasters in Indonesia, Australia and his home country of the Philippines, human rights abuse and the COVID-19 pandemic.

He explained how he wanted to highlight four ways that global unity can pave a way to a better future: “First resolving conflicts and protecting our people. I always admire when countries including my own welcome refugees from war stricken countries. Second, global unity in response to climate change and protecting vulnerable communities. Then, human rights and protection from abuse and finally global unity in ending the COVID-19 pandemic and preventing future pandemics.”

“I want to rekindle in every one of us the spirit of unity and shared destiny even if we are separated by geographical borders we should not be alone in our own battles especially in our darkest times.”

Watch 'The Battles We Fight' by Lloyd Anicier Barba

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The quest for global unity – Bongkem Sylvie Kathleen Fomum, Catholic University of Cameroon, Cameroon

“As a medical student in Cameroon I have suffered the effects of disunity. In 2017 I did not go to school as a result of political and social unrest in my country.” This lived experience informed Bongkem’s submission to the Global Creative Competition. The 4th year medical student created a spoken word piece entitled ‘The quest for global unity’

“When I first saw the theme I tried to picture all the nations of the world and realised that people from different cultures, religions and backgrounds do not connect on fundamental values such as peace, justice, human rights, social performance and environmental preservation.”

“My message is that our colour, religion or language doesn’t determine how far we go or where we place ourselves. We can come to a compromise of unity and we can create a world that works for us.”

Watch 'The quest for global unity' by Bongkem Sylvie Kathleen Fomum

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You can watch the whole ceremony with all shortlisted candidates on YouTube.


Jack Stewart

Jack Stewart
School of Public Health

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