Global Classroom’s World Citizen Essay Contest
*The goal of the World Citizen Essay Contest is to promote discussion among students, teachers, families, and community members about the ways that individuals can effect positive change in the global community.*
2018 World Citizen Essay Contest
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), otherwise known as the Global Goals, were agreed upon by the United Nations in 2015 to address vital global issues by 2030. They are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and work toward peace and prosperity for all.
Although these ambitious goals are interconnected, each emphasizes a different area of development, including: education, gender equality, health, water and sanitation, environment, poverty, hunger, peace and justice, etc. (To learn more about all 17 goals, please check out the following website https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs)
Overall, the 17 goals represent an opportunity for our local, national, and global communities to improve the living standards of all people in all regions of the world. How do you think you could make difference in achieving one of these goals? Where would you want to work (local or global context) toward achieving this goal and why? How would you make achieving this goal sustainable?
You can also check out these intro videos with Malala and Emma Watson
You have recently received a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to “take action” toward achieving ONE of the 17 Global Goals (SDGs). In 1,000 words or less, explain why you chose this goal, what region (local or global context) of the world you would work to address it (and why), and what steps or actions you would take to make it sustainable.
Note: For “region,” you could discuss a region of the world, specific country context, or a local community.
Suggestion for Elementary Teachers: You may want to choose ONE of the Global Goals that is connected to your curriculum standards and have your entire class focus on that goal.
Suggestion for Secondary Teachers: You may give students the option to choose ONE of the 17 goals or pre-select which goal you would like your students to address in their essay.
2018 WCEC Rule Sheet
2018 WCEC Judging Rubric
2018 WCEC Cover Form
2018 WCEC Cover Form fillable PDF*
*Please download the cover form and fill it out before saving to ensure your information is recorded properly. Always double check that the form you attach to your email has your information clearly and legibly displayed.
Extra materials for educators and students are listed below:
Introduction to the Global Goals (includes lesson plans for all grade levels)
SDG Essay Resource Packet for Educators
We are pleased to announce that this year’s prizes will once again include travel vouchers for the winning essay in each grad bracket, provided by Expedia, Inc.
Please submit essays with your cover form filled in and attached as a separate document to firstname.lastname@example.org by the deadline: Friday, March 16th
If you are interested in judging the 2018 Essay Contest, please fill out the 2018 WCEC Judge Contact Form and email it to email@example.com
The World Citizen Essay Contest is made possible by the generous support of Expedia Inc, as part of the Expedia Cares initiative.
Previous Essay Contests
2017 World Citizen Essay Contest
The United Nations has declared 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. Now is your chance to engage as a Sustainable Traveler…
You have won an all-expenses-paid trip to the destination of your choice. In 1,000 words or less, describe where you will go (and why), and explain what steps you will take to make sure that your travels are truly sustainable.
Congratulations to our 18th Annual World Citizen Essay Contest winners!
Students were celebrated at a public awards ceremony on May 2nd with keynote speaker Katherine Cheng, head of the global corporate citizenship and community relations for Expedia, Inc.
Read all of the winning World Citizen Essays here.
2016 World Citizen Essay Contest
In the 2015-2016 school year, the World Affairs Council partnered with Water1st International; our prompt asked students to think critically and be engaged as global citizens by addressing one of the most critical issues of our time: The worldwide water crisis.
Congratulations to our 17th Annual World Citizen Essay Contest winners!
The student winners were celebrated at a public awards ceremony on May 5th, with keynote speaker and former CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Jeff Raikes, and featuring the founder of Water1st International Marla Smith-Nilson.
CLICK HERE to watch Jeff Raikes’ keynote at our Essay Contest Awards Ceremony
CLICK HERE to watch the Q & A with Jeff Raikes and Marla Smith-Nilson
Read all of the winning essays here.
2015 World Citizen Essay Contest
The student winners were celebrated at a public awards ceremony on May 26th with keynote speaker Margaret Larson of KING 5 News. Check out video from the eventhere.
Congratulations to our Winners:
Washington State students in grades 3 through 12 were invited to think like a foreign news correspondent with the following essay prompt:
In our increasingly interconnected world, it is important to be informed of issues and events around the globe in order to better understand and engage with the people around us. If you were a foreign news correspondent, where would you like to be assigned? What story would you cover and how would you gather the necessary information? Why do you think this is an important story to tell?
Read the winning essays here.
Zara Rupp, The Water Crisis
Ruby Whorton, Disappearance to ISIS
Katie Wade, The Effects of Boycotting Chocolate: Good or Bad for Child Laborers in Cote d’Ivoire?
2014 World Citizen Essay Contest
On June 5th, Rick Steves joined the World Affairs Council and essay contest winners to speak on the value of thoughtful travel and present students with their certificates and prizes.
Congratulations to our winners:
|First Place||Aryeh Tenbroek, Bryant Elementary, “Freedom for Tibet”||Anirudh Prakash, Odle Middle School, “Piracy: A Conspiracy to Shun Ancient Growth”||Daaniya Iyaz, STEM HS, “Peering Across the Partition”|
|Second Place||Roberto Kannapell, Bryant Elementary, “Guatemalan Coffee”||Melinda Day, Tahoma Middle School, “Broadening Perspectives Through Travel”||Warisha Soomro, STEM High School, “The ‘Perfect’ Destination”|
|Third Place||Gilly Wolf, Bryant Elementary, “Ethiopia”||Gabrielle Chappell, College Place Middle School, “World Citizen Essay”||Marium Raza, Redmond High School, “Hopeless Paradise: Questions about the Future of Swat Valley, Pakistan”|
Read about the way these students are thinking about the world beyond our borders! Find excerpts and the full essayshere.
Washington State students in grades 3-12 were asked to respond to the following prompt:
Through his book, TV and radio shows, guided tours, and public speaking engagements, Rick Steves has introduced Americans to many parts of the world. His recent book, Travel as a Political Act, suggests that travel may be important for reasons that go beyond a dream vacation. Rick Steves has traveled to Iran, Israel, and Palestine among other places, with the goal of making connections with and understanding the concerns of the people who live there.
If you traveled with the same goal, where would you go and why? What would you hope to learn? How will traveling to this place and meeting its residents broaden your perspectives – why is this important?
We received nearly 450 essays this year! Thank you to everyone who participated. And thank you to our volunteer judges!
2013 World Citizen Essay Contest
We celebrated our winners at a special event at the Seattle Asian Art Museum with Nancy Pearl on May 30th. At the ceremony, the winners received their cash prizes, a certificate, and a copy of Nancy Pearl’s book, Book Crush.
Congratulations to our 2013 World Citizen Essay Contest Winners:
|First Place||Kayla Lay, View Ridge Elementary School, “The Brave Little Turtle“||Quinn Sullivan, Eckstein Middle School, “Be Brave”||Emily Geyman, Lakeside School, “Weep Not, Child: The Light of Kenya, a Story of Hope”|
|Second Place||Grace Harman, Bryant Elementary School, “A School Life”||Anna Galbraith, Eckstein Middle School, “Persevering in the Darkest of Times: Wisdom from Maus”||Madeline Bennett, Redmond High School, “Becoming Conscious”|
|Third Place||Cora Wright, Bryant Elementary,“The Breadwinner”||Harriet Wright, Eckstein Middle School, “Breaking Down Walls”||Meg Leonard, Redmond High School, “Abby Takes a Stand”|
2012 Games Without Borders Youth Challenge
Congratulations to the winners of our First Annual Games Without Borders Youth Challenge!
In lieu of the World Citizen Essay Contest, Global Classroom encouraged students to apply their knowledge of and passion for gaming while learning about world issues. Since fun, educational games about global topics are hard to find, GC gave Puget Sound students a new challenge: create a game that young people would love eto play and that would raise awareness about a global topic or issue.
The winners were:
Middle School Division:
Children of Change by McKenna Sevruk (7th grade, Tahoma Middle School)Middle School Division:
Microloan Adventures by Luke Johnson, Christo Pamboukas, Joey Peterson, and Reed Stever (7th grade, Tahoma Middle School)
High School Division:
Animal Rescue: The Video Game by Kaylene Stocking and Sarah Yerrace (9th grade, Timbercrest Junior High)
Let’s Trade! by Alina Amkhavong, Hannah Madani, Cristina Martinez, and Sahar Mohammad (10th grade, Kent-Meridian High School)
Syria at Risk by Sopheaktra Danh and Melody Northcutt (12th grade, Aviation High School)
To learn more about this contest, visit our Games Without Borders Youth Challenge webpage.
13th Annual World Citizen Essay Contest (2011)
Congratulations to our 2011 World Citizen Essay Contest Winners!
On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the World Affairs Council and the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Seattle World’s Fair, the World Affairs Council embarked on a two-year partnership with the Seattle Center Foundation.
The question for the 2011 World Citizen Essay Contest was:
“Looking back over the last sixty years, please identify a Puget Sound-based innovation that has left its mark around the world. Explain why and how this innovation had an impact beyond the United States. (This impact can be related to the arts, sports, music, popular culture, technology, civic action, global health, education, manufacturing, etc.)”
Thank you to all of the students who submitted essays and to the outstanding judges who volunteered their time to read them all!
Our special congratulations to the following students who were the top finalists in each category. Click on the links below to read excerpts from our winning essays.
On June 23rd, 2011 World Citizen Essay Contest winners were interviewed about global innovation on Public Exposure SCAN-TV. Watch the 30 minute interview here.
12th Annual World Citizen Essay Contest (2010)
The question for the 2010 World Citizen Essay Contest was:
“Despite the ever increasing importance of understanding the histories, governments, and cultures, of people from all over the world, many news organizations in recent years have had to cut their foreign correspondent staff. If you were a journalist on an international assignment, where would you like to go, what issue would you cover, and why? “
Thank you to the 390 students who submitted essays and the 78 judges who spent time reading them all. Essay Contest winners were being honored at a Global Classroom Celebration on May 17th, 2010.
Our special congratulations to the following students, top finalists in each category.
11th Annual World Citizen Essay Contest (2009)
The question for the 2009 World Citizen Essay Contest was:
“Imagine that you are Hillary Rodham Clinton, the new U.S. Secretary of State and head of the U.S. Department of State, which has a mission to create a more secure, democratic, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community. Describe one international issue you think is important today. Why do you think this issue is important to both the U.S. and the world? Considering the mission of the U.S. Department of State, what would you do about this issue?”
Thank you to the 215 students who submitted essays and the 78 judges who spent time reading them all. Essay Contest winners were being honored at a Global Classroom Celebration on May 27th, 2009.
Our special congratulations to the following students, top finalists in each category.
10th Annual World Citizen Essay Contest (2008)
The question from the 2008 World Citizen Essay Contest was:
“In April, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama (1989 Nobel Prize winner for Peace) will journey to Seattle to discuss and celebrate compassion in action with Seattle-area youth, educators, and policy makers. Definition: ‘Compassionate acts are generally considered those which take into account the suffering of others and attempt to alleviate that suffering as if it were one’s own.’ (From Wikipedia – as cited by the organization Seeds of Compassion) A) Considering the definition above, identify an individual who has been moved by compassion to take action on a problem. Describe his or her work. How did he or she demonstrate compassion? B) Now, imagine yourself as an adult. Following in this individual’s footsteps, what international issue would you want to tackle? Why is this issue important? What steps might you take to resolve the issue? Why does this issue awaken compassion in you?”
Thank you to the over 200 students who submitted essays and the 33 judges who spent time reading them all. Essay contest winners were honored at a special reception and award ceremony on June 17, 2008.
Our special congratulations to the following students, top finalists in each category.
In a world where J.K. Rowling’s manuscript of “Harry Potter” was rejected 12 times and Kathryn Stockett’s manuscript of “The Help” was rejected 60 times, it can be easy to become despondent about publishing your fiction, even more so for teenage writers aching to voice their thoughts to the world.
However, there’s an abundance of writing competitions year round for teens and writing contests for high school students — you just need to know where to look.
Here, I compiled a list of 33 writing contests for teens. Genres include: fiction, poetry, nonfiction, screenplays, and plays.
Some of these contests may sound like the competition is too stiff, especially if the organization receives thousands of submissions every year. But speaking from personal experience, you never know unless you try. Rejections will pile up for young authors, but so will acceptances accompanied by whoops and fist pumps.
Additionally, the experiences offered by certain teen contests such as working with professionals, revisiting your work, and perhaps even seeing it come to life either in a publication or on stage is indescribably rewarding and gratifying.
So, young writers, submit on!
1. Ocean Awareness Student Contest
The theme is “Making Meaning out of Ocean Pollution,” and it challenges you to research, explore, interpret, and say something meaningful about the connections between human activities and the health of our oceans. Prizes range from $100-$1,500.
Grades: Middle school – High school
2. Rattle Young Poets Anthology
This is an anthology to look back on the past and view your younger work with pride. The author of the poem must have been age 15 or younger when the poem was written, and 18 or younger when submitted.
Ages: 18 or younger
Number of submissions: “Thousands” are submitted, 50 are chosen.
3. Inkitt Novel Contest
If you have a novel over 20,000 words, submit it to this contest where a community of readers will read your story. The more they love it, the better chance you have of winning a publishing deal.
Think of it as American Idol for your novel.
Plus, all published authors with Inkitt receive these great perks:
- $6,000+ invested into your book launch
- 25% royalties on every copy sold
- Cover design and professional editing
- Publicity on Amazon (over 90% of their books become bestsellers right after launching)
This is a fantastic contest that can get you a ton of exposure and even result in a book deal. Read the reviews on their website and submit today. It’s free and easy to upload your manuscript and have readers start reading your work immediately.
4. Hypernova Lit
Any and all types of writing are welcome. Long short stories, short short stories, prose poetry, traditional poetry, blackout poetry, creative accounts of your life and experiences, essays about yourself, essays about what you love, plays, scripts, letters, lists, rants, lyrics, journal writing.
Deadline: Open Year-round
5. Princeton University Poetry Contest for High School Students
The Princeton University Poetry Contest recognizes outstanding work by student writers in the 11th grade. Prizes: First Prize – $500, Second Prize – $250, Third Prize – $100.
6. The Bennington Young Writers Awards
Students in the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades enter in one of the following categories: poetry (a group of three poems), fiction (a short story or one-act play), or nonfiction (a personal or academic essay). First-place winners in each category are awarded a prize of $500; second-place winners receive $250.
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7. Canvas Literary Journal
Teen literary magazine published quarterly.
Seeking writers ages 13-18 to submit fiction, novel excerpts, poetry, plays, nonfiction, new media, and cross-genre.
8. The New Voices One-Act Competition for Young Playwrights
Submit your best one-act play (one per playwright!) to the New Voices competition and you can potentially win cash, software from fabulous sponsors Final Draft and Great Dialogue, and even publication!
Ages: 19 or younger
Submission period: Fall
9. Princeton University 10 Minute Play Contest
Eligibility for this annual playwriting contest is limited to students in the eleventh grade. Prizes: First Prize – $500, Second Prize – $250, Third Prize – $100. The jury consists of members of the Princeton University Program in Theater faculty.
10. Jet Fuel Review
Through Lewis University, Jet Fuel Review is run entirely by students under the supervision of faculty advisers Dr. Simone Muench and Dr. Jackie White.
Jet Fuel Review is looking for quality in writing, whether it be in poetry, prose, non-fiction, or artwork.
Submission periods: August to October; January to March
11. Scholastic Art & Writing Awards
Since 1923, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have recognized the vision, ingenuity, and talent of our nation’s youth. Through the Awards, students receive opportunities for recognition, exhibition, publication, and scholarships.
Students across America submitted nearly 320,000 original works during our 2016 program year across 29 different categories of art and writing.
Submissions period: September to December
In this handbook for young writers, “Spilling Ink,” professional authors give advice to teens who want to become authors.
By mixing personal anecdotes with practical advice, this book offers everything a young author will need to create incredible stories.
12. One Teen Story
One Teen Story is an award-winning literary magazine for readers and writers of young adult literature. Subscribers receive one curated and edited work of short fiction each month in the mail or on their digital devices.
Submission period: September to May
13. The Claremont Review
The editors of the Claremont Review publish the best poetry, short stories, short plays, visual art, and photography by young adults. We publish work in many styles that range from traditional to modern.
We prefer pieces that explore real characters and reveal authentic emotion.
Submission period: September to April
14. Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest
Sponsored by Hollins University, the Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest is in its fifty-second year. The contest awards prizes for the best poems submitted by young women who are sophomores or juniors in high school or preparatory school. Prizes up to $5,000 are awarded to winners. Winners are chosen by students and faculty members in the creative writing program at Hollins.
15.VSA Playwright Discovery Competition
Each year, young writers with and without disabilities, in U.S. grades 6-12 (or equivalents) or ages 11-18 for non-U.S. students, are asked to explore the disability experience through the art of script writing for stage or screen.
Writers may craft scripts from their own experiences and observations, create fictional characters and settings, or choose to write metaphorically or abstractly about the disability experience. Winners in these divisions will receive $500 for arts programs at their schools.
Grades: 6-12 OR Ages: 11-18
The National YoungArts Foundation identifies and nurtures the most accomplished young artists in the visual, literary, design and performing arts and assists them at critical junctures in their educational and professional development.
Additionally, YoungArts Winners are eligible for nomination as a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students who exemplify academic and artistic excellence.
Ages: 15-18 OR Grades: 10-12
17. The Critical Junior Poet’s Award Contest
The Critical Pass Review is now accepting submissions online for its Critical Junior Poet’s Award Contest, an editor’s choice award for exceptional promise in the art of poetry. Applicants between the ages of 13 and 18 can enter for free. The winner will receive a $100 cash prize, a $20 iTunes card, a CD of master poets reading their poetry, publication of his/her winning work in The Critical Pass Review‘s Summer 2016 issue, and more.
Submissions period:November to March
“Leap Write In!” is from acclaimed author Karen Benke, who does a fantastic job helping teen writers to generate ideas for their next story.
This book has an amazing spread of writing prompts, all designed to get your heart on the page and the reader’s heart in their throat.
18. The Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers
The Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers recognizes outstanding young poets and is open to high school sophomores and juniors throughout the world. The contest winner receives a full scholarship to the Kenyon Review Young Writers workshop.
19. Santa Fe University of Arts & Design High School Creative Writing Competition
The Glazner Creative Writing Contest is an opportunity for high school juniors and seniors to compete for a chance at publication in Santa Fe University of Art and Design’s online journal, Jackalope Magazine. To enter, students must submit up to 10 pages of work in any genre to our contest email address (ude.y1520740882tisre1520740882vinue1520740882fatna1520740882s@tse1520740882tnoc1520740882).
Deadline: November to December
20. Young Authors Writing Competition (Columbia College Chicago)
The Young Authors Writing Competition is a national competition for high school writers of fiction, creative nonfiction and poetry. It began as a local contest in 1995, and since then has expanded into a national competition that has received tens of thousands of submissions from students across the country. 1st Place: $300, 2nd Place: $150, and 3rd Place: $50.
Submission period: November to January
21. Odyssey Con
The OddContest is an annual competition for speculative (science fiction, fantasy, or horror) stories or prose poems no longer than 500 words. Prizes: $50 to first place; Odyssey Con membership and free books to top 3.
Ages: 18 or younger
22. Young Playwrights INC.
Selected writers will be invited to New York, expenses paid, for our Young Playwrights Conference to work with some of this country’s most exciting professional theater artists, and to hear their plays read in our Off-Broadway Readings Series.
Ages: 18 or younger
23. University of Iowa – Hemingway Festival High School Writing Contest
Accepting Fiction, Creative Non-Fiction, Poetry, and Essays.
Winners and Finalists will be recognized at the 7th Annual University of Idaho Hemingway Festival, and cash prizes will be awarded in each category. Winners will also be considered for publication in an online University of Idaho publication. There will be one winner and one Finalist in each category with one Overall Grand Prize Winner. Cash prizes up to $500.
24. Interlochen Review
Interlochen Arts Academy is a high school boarding school and summer camp. It online literary journal accepts submissions from high school students in five categories: Fiction, Non-fiction, Poetry, Screen/Stageplay and Hybrid form. Up to 6 pieces total.
Submissions Period: February to March
25. Aerie International Journal
Aerie International was born of a desire to offer outstanding young writers and artists an opportunity to share, edit, and publish their work internationally. What makes this journal unique is that it is designed, edited and published entirely by high school students. Students whose work is selected received $100 in addition to a copy of the magazine.
26. Chapman Art and Writing Holocaust Contest
Focusing on themes central both to the Holocaust and to ethical decision making in our world today, the contest gives students from public, private and parochial schools the opportunity to share their creative works in response to survivors’ oral testimonies.
Participating schools may submit a total of three entries from three individual students in the following categories: art, film, prose, and/or poetry.
“Writing Magic” is for every young author who wants to create a world that magically transports the reader.
She focuses on the core advice every writer needs: how to write beginnings and endings, how to create unforgettable characters, and how to write snappy dialogue that keeps readers laughing and crying.
27. Writopia Lab Worldwide Plays Festival
The festival includes plays written in workshops at Writopia’s labs across the country and plays submitted to our competition from playwrights around the world from playwrights in 1st through 12th grade (ages 6 to 18). Plays are professionally produced in New York.
Grades: 1-12 OR Ages: 6-18
28. The Blank Theater’s Young Playwrights’ Festival
Since 1993, 12 plays are chosen by a panel of theatre professionals from submissions across America. Winning playwrights are provided careful mentoring and direction from industry professionals to help prepare their work for public performance and hone their skills, talent and confidence. Nowhere else in the nation can young playwrights receive the prize of seeing their vision come to life on stage in a professional production featuring known actors from film, television and theatre. The plays are crafted by seasoned professional directors and each is given several public performances in a month-long Festival.
29. Austin International Poetry Festival (AIPF)
Each year the Austin International Poetry Festival (AIPF) recognizes youth poets by publishing their work together in a truly diverse anthology. We welcome international poets from kindergarten through high school grade level or age to submit up to three poems.
30. Winter Tangerine
Winter Tangerine is a literary journal dedicated to the electric. To the salt. The sugar. We want bitter honey, expired sweets. We want catalysts. Accepting submissions of poetry, prose, drama, visual art, and short film.
Submission period: April to October
31. The Adroit Prizes for Poetry and Prose
The Adroit Journal, published at the University of Pennsylvania is open to all writers. The Adroit Prizes for Poetry and Prose are awarded annually to two students of secondary or undergraduate status whose written work “inspires the masses to believe beyond feeling the work.” In other words, we strive to receive the absolute best work from emerging young writers in high school and college, and the best of the best will receive these two lovely awards.
Submission Period: To be announced
32. Hanging LooseMagazine
Hanging Loose Magazine is a professional magazine that welcomes high school submissions. Payment plus 2 copies. Send 3 to 6 poems, or 1 to 3 short stories, or an equivalent combination of poetry and prose to High School Editor, Hanging Loose, 231 Wyckoff Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217. Identify yourself as a high school age writer.
Deadline: Open Year-round
An online publishing opportunity for young writers.
The New Pages Young Author’s Guide
A resource for young authors to find places to submit their work!
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