Commonwealth Essay Winners

15 August 2016 /

Young writers awarded Winners of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition

Four young writers have been awarded Winners and Runners-Up of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2016, which is the world’s oldest international schools writing competition and has been sponsored by Cambridge University Press since 2013. The winning essays were selected from approximately 13,500 entries spanning the five regions of the Commonwealth.

Representing nearly every Commonwealth country, entrants wrote about contemporary issues including the Syrian refugee crisis, conflict migration in Africa and finding a diasporic identity.

Senior Winner Inessa Rajah, 17, is from Durban, South Africa. Senior Runner-up Esther Mugalaba, 19, comes from Lusaka, Zambia.

The Junior Winner and Runner-up, Gauri Kumar, 13, and Tan Wan Gee, 14, respectively, are both Singaporean nationals.

Entries were assessed by a pan-Commonwealth body of judges, drawn from more than 30 different countries across the globe. Judges described the entries as ‘inspirational’, ‘ambitious’, ‘profound’, ‘moving’, ‘imaginative’ and stated that ‘the future of the Commonwealth is bright’.

The four pan-Commonwealth Winners and Runners-up will attend the traditional ‘Winners Week’ in London in October of this year; a special programme consisting of cultural and educational activities. The week will culminate in an Awards Ceremony at Buckingham Palace where HRH The Duchess of Cornwall will present the Winners and Runners-up with their certificates on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen. This will be the third time that the Duchess of Cornwall has taken part in the Awards Ceremony.

Director of the Royal Commonwealth Society, Michael Lake CBE, said: The four young people chosen as the Winners and Runners-up of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2016 represent the very best and brightest that the Commonwealth has to offer. Their essays and poems explore contemporary themes with maturity, intelligence and depth beyond their years. We are proud of them and the thousands of other young writers who entered the competition this year from all around the Commonwealth.”

Rod Smith, Managing Director of Education, Cambridge University Press:The Royal Commonwealth Society shares our vision of empowerment through education, and we’re thrilled to be sponsoring The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition once again. The quality of the entries this year were exceptional, and all of us at Cambridge University Press would like to extend our congratulations to the winners.”

Ends

NOTES TO EDITORS:

More information about the Competition, including the Winners and Runners-up can be found here: https://thercs.org/youth-and-education/the-queens-commonwealth-essay-competition/

Senior Winner: Dr. Congo-man,Inessa Rajah, South Africa, aged 17

Senior Runner-up: Let Them In: A Short Discourse Outlining How Complicated These Three Words Can Be,Esther Mungalaba, Zambia, aged 19 

Junior Winner: Untitled,Gauri Kumar, Singapore, aged 13

Junior Runner up: Are We Really So Different?/ Dear Santa, Tan Wan Gee, Singapore, aged 14

The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition was founded in 1883 and is the world’s oldest international schools’ writing contest. The competition is sponsored by Cambridge University Press and received approximately 13,500 entries from almost every country in the Commonwealth.

The Junior category is open to entrants aged 13 years and under and the Senior category is open to entrants aged 14-18.

The overarching theme for 2016 was ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’, which is also the 2016 Commonwealth Year theme, and a topical theme for today’s youth. Both Senior and Junior topics gave young people the opportunity to think about aspects of the theme such as: the significance of community; the importance of diversity and difference; the question of belonging; the values of tolerance, respect and understanding; and the sense of shared responsibility that exists within the Commonwealth today. The topics were a chance to develop critical thinking and to express views in a creative manner.

The Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS), founded in 1868, is a network of individuals and organisations committed to improving the lives and prospects of Commonwealth citizens across the world. Through youth empowerment, education and advocacy, the RCS promotes the value and values of the Commonwealth. www.thercs.org

Partners:

Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by Henry VIII in 1534, it is the world’s oldest publishing house and the second-largest university press in the world. Cambridge University Press has been a sponsor of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition since 2013. www.cambridge.org

Media enquiries:

Anja Nielsen, Manager of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition, Programmes Officer (Youth and Education), the Royal Commonwealth Society

T: +44203 727 4306 | E: anja.nielsen@thercs.org

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Deadline: June 1, 2018

Interested in current issues? Want to EXPRESS YOUR ideas globally? Ready to write about it? The Royal Commonwealth Society invites entries for the The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2018 for a chance to win a trip to London. The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition is the world’s oldest schools’ international writing competition, established in 1883. With thousands of young people taking part every year, it is an important way for the young voice of the Commonwealth to be developed and heard.

Building upon the 2017 theme of ‘A Commonwealth for Peace’, this year’s theme ‘Towards a Common Future’ and its topicsask young writers to explore how the Commonwealth can address global challenges and work to create a better future for all citizens through sub-themes of sustainability, safety, prosperity and fairness, in line with the theme of the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London.

Categories

Senior Categore:  Born between 2nd June 1999 and 31st May 2004 (14-18 years of age)

  1. The road to a safer future.
  2. How does education contribute to a fairer future?
  3. ‘Healthy, Wealthy, Happy, and Free’: is one more important than the others?
  4. Future generations have rights too, which must be defended. Discuss.

Junior Category: Born after 31st May 2004 (under 14 years of age)

  1. What does a ‘safer future’ mean to you and your community?
  2. Write a recipe for a common future: what ingredients will you need? What is the best method for making it? What will it look like?
  3. ‘A Day in the Life’. Imagine you are your country’s Head of Government for the day: how will you build a better future for young people?
  4. Our Common Earth.

Prizes

  • All entrants receive a Certificate of Participation
  • One Winner and Runner-up from the Senior and Junior categories will win a trip to London for a week-long series of educational and cultural events.

Eligibility

  • The competition is open to nationals or residents of all Commonwealth countries and territories, as well as residents of The Gambia, the Maldives and Zimbabwe. Residents of non-Commonwealth countries whose entries are submitted through their local RCS branch are also eligible.
  • Entrants must select a Senior or Junior topic depending on their age on 1st May 2017. Senior entrants must be born between 2nd June 1999 and 1st June 2004 (14-18) and Junior entrants must be born after 31st May 2004 (under 14 years of age).
  • The maximum word counts are 1,500 words for Senior entries and 750 words for Junior entries. These word limits apply to all topics and all formats (essay, poem, letter, etc). Exceeding the word count will result in automatic disqualification.
  • Entries must be written in English.
  • Only one entry per participant is allowed. Once an essay is submitted, students/teachers will nothave the opportunity to revise it. Please carefully check and improve your writing before submitting the final copy, and also ensure that all supplementary information is filled in correctly (name, contact details, topic number, etc.)

Application

See the Terms and Conditions and Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Essays can only be uploaded as a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx) or in PDF format (.pdf). The online platform does not accept Google Docs (.gdoc), Pages documents (.pages) or other word processor formats. Note: if they are unable to find or open your essay file (either through an incorrect format or upload error), your entry may not be counted in the competition.
  2. All online entries must be submitted before midnight (GMT) on 1st June 2018; any offline entries must arrive at RCS London by 1st May 2018

In order to submit your essay you will need to register, making sure to complete all the mandatory fields. The password you register with will be used to login to your account, where you can see your registration details and reference number.

Having trouble submitting your essay? Contact[email protected]

For more information, visit The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition.

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