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Youthink! About Ending Poverty

June 15, 2006— The team behind the World Bank’s youth website, Youthink!, joined a star-studded cast including Prince and noted New York Times columnist, Thomas Friedman, in accepting one of the 10th Annual Webby Awards.

The Webbys, which have been dubbed the Oscars of the Internet, are awarded by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences, a global organization recognizing excellence in web design, creativity, usability and functionality.

Youththink was selected by the 500-member body of leading web experts, business figures, luminaries and creative celebrities as the winner of the Webby Award for Activism.

Launched in April 2004, with the aim of introducing development issues to a teen audience, Youthink has more than 16,000 visitors a month. The Webby activism award was for the best site for facilitating political change, social movement, human rights, public education and reform or revolution.

While proclaimed the “on-line equivalent of the Oscars”, the Webby Awards are also noted by their mandatory five word acceptance speeches.

Nicole Frost, Online Communications Manager, receiving the 2006 Webby Award for Youthink!

So with that in mind, the World Bank’s on-line communications manager, Nicole Frost, took to the stage at Monday night’s awards presentation at the Cipriani Wall Street in New York City and accepted the Webby Award for Youthink with the words: “Youthink – about ending poverty”.

It was a 15 year old Indonesian girl who came up with the words for Frost’s acceptance speech after Youthink posted a notice on its website seeking ideas from its readers.

But, equally the five words uttered by musician Prince, who was awarded a Lifetime Webby Award, could have been on behalf of Youthink.

“Everything you think is true” said Prince, who received the Webby for his visionary use of the internet to distribute music and connect with fans. Prince wrapped up the evening with a performance of “Don’t Play Me” – which ended with the musician flinging his guitar behind him before exiting the stage.

Prince received a Lifetime Achievement 2006 Webby Award.

“You are all magicians – creating a place for us to go to, “said filmmaker Tiffany Schlain, who created the Webbys in 1996, when the web was still in its infancy. She noted that almost a billion people are now on-line – almost one sixth of the world’s population.

In marking Youthink’s award, Frost said:  “The Youthink team is thrilled to receive recognition for a product that we are proud of and enjoy working on. We hope that Bank staff  will continue to contribute great material from their country programs.”

This year’s nominations for the Webby awards drew more than 5,500 entries from more than 40 countries for categories as diverse as consumer and culture, film, food, travel and blogging.

Each was limited to the obligatory five words. “The world really is flat,” said Thomas Friedman, in accepting his award as the Webby Person of the Year. Friedman also spoke about how he was now working on the issues of energy and clean technology and proclaimed “Green is the new red, white and blue.”

Columnist Thomas Friedman, accepting his Person of the Year Award

“Whatever can be done, will be done” Friedman said. “There’s only one question – can it be done to you or by you? But trust me it will be done,” he said referring to the growing power of the web.

Other award winners included Chris Wolfe, founder of MySpace.comGorillaz as Artist of the Year; Arianna Huffington for her political blogGoogle EarthGoogle MapsFlickrNational Public radio and the BBCUNICEF –State of the World’s Children 2006, won a Webby people’s choice award - for charitable organizations/non-profits.

The Webby awards ceremony was hosted this year by comedian Rob Corddry, from Comedy Central’s The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences is a diverse organization with members such as musicians, Beck and David Bowie, internet investor, Vint Cerf, The Simpsons creator, Matt Groening, and The Body Shop president, Anita Roddick.

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