Students' site scores State award

ThinkQuest Web site

The State Department has awarded its first-ever Digital Diplomacy Award — an educational award created solely for the public — to three students who created a Web site to draw attention to world hunger.

The three students — from the United States, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom — launched "An End to World Hunger: Hope for the Future" through ThinkQuest, a nonprofit, Internet-based education program with international sponsorship.

The new State award recognizes the student-created ThinkQuest Web site that best informs the public about the importance of international affairs and diplomacy.

"The judges had a score sheet and they applied four different factors — how good is the content, how interactive, does it have good design, does it meet certain education objectives," said Janice Kiser, a State spokeswoman. For the education aspect, she said, the site had to teach people about the importance of foreign affairs.

The State Department Digital Diplomacy Award was created in March for the ThinkQuest Internet Challenge. More than 4,000 student-created sites are available through the ThinkQuest Web site.

Each of the student winners will receive a $2,000 scholarship, while their sponsoring coaches and schools will each receive a $500 cash award. In January, the State Department will fly the students to Washington, D.C., for an award presentation, tour of the State Department and meetings with State officials, Kiser said.

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