The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition is the world’s oldest schools’ international writing competition, managed by The Royal Commonwealth Society since 1883. Every year, it offers all Commonwealth youth aged 18 and under the opportunity to express their hopes for the future, opinions of the present, and thoughts on the past, through the written word. The competition is used by individuals and teachers to build confidence, develop writing skills, support creativity and encourage critical thinking, using literacy to empower young people to become global citizens.
All entrants receive a Certificate of Participation and one Winner and Runner-up from both the Senior and Junior categories will be invited to attend Winners' Week in London. Past winners include author Elspeth Huxley, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Mei Fong, and the Prime Minister of Singapore Lee Hsien Loong.
Towards a Common Future
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.
Download the 2018 Flyer
Born between 2nd June 1999 and 31st May 2004 (14-18 years of age)
- The road to a safer future.
- How does education contribute to a fairer future?
- ‘Healthy, Wealthy, Happy, and Free’: is one more important than the others?
- Future generations have rights too, which must be defended. Discuss.
Born after 31st May 2004 (under 14 years of age)
- What does a 'safer future' mean to you and your community?
- 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?
- ‘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?
- Our Common Earth.
Judges described entries to the competition in 2017 as ‘emotive’ ‘hauntingly assuring’ ’striking’ and as having ‘powerful narratives’, that ‘this letter should be read by everyone’. We expect a similiarly high calibre of writing for 2018.
The competition is open to all citizens and residents of the Commonwealth aged 18 and under until 1 June 2018. All entrants receive a Certificate of Participation and 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. For more information about the competition, please visit Terms and Conditions and Frequently Asked Questions.
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History of the Essay Competition
The RCS has a rich history of nurturing the creative talents of young people around the Commonwealth. We endeavour to promote literacy, expression and creativity among young people by celebrating excellence and imagination. Run by the RCS since 1883, this international schools’ writing contest – the world's oldest – is a highly regarded and popular international education project.
In 2015, the contest was renamed ‘The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition’, in honour of HM Queen Elizabeth II’s role as both Head of the Commonwealth and Patron of the Royal Commonwealth Society.
This annual essay contest is organized in an effort to harness the energy, creativity and initiative of the world's youth in promoting a culture of peace and sustainable development. It also aims to inspire society to learn from the young minds and to think about how each of us can make a difference in the world.
*This program is an activity of the UNESCO Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).
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For further inquiries concerning the International Essay Contest for Young People, please contact email@example.com
The Goi Peace Foundation
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan
Japanese National Commission for UNESCO, Japan Private High School Federation
Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education, Japan Broadcasting Corporation, Nikkei Inc.
FELISSIMO CORPORATION, SEIKO HOLDINGS CORPORATION
Essay Contest 2018 Flyer (PDF)
Past Winning Essays
Q1Are there any exceptions to the age limit for participating in the contest?
A1No, you must be 25 years old or younger as of June 15, 2018, which is the entry deadline date. That means you must be born after June 15, 1993. On the other hand, there is no minimum age requirement.
Q2Is there a fee for participating in this contest?
A2No, participation is free of charge.
Q3Do I have to be Japanese or Asian to join the contest?
A3A3: No, all nationalities can participate from anywhere in the world.
Q4My essay is a little over 700 words. Is it acceptable?
A4No, essays must be 700 words or less in order to qualify. However, the cover page and essay title are excluded from the word count. There is no minimum word count.
Q5Are the title and cover page included in the word count limit?
A5No, the 700 word count limit is for the body of the essay only.
Q6Do I need a cover page for my essay submitted online?
A6No, a cover page is only required for entries submitted by postal mail. For online entries, all required information is submitted through the registration form, and therefore, you do not need to include a cover page in your essay file.
Q7Can I give any title to my essay?
A7Yes, you can give your essay an original title as long as the content is in line with the theme.
Q8Is there a specific format for the essay (font style, size, line space, etc.)?
A8There are no particular rules regarding formatting. However, your essay file should be submitted in either MS Word(DOC/DOCX) or PDF format.
Q9Can I quote from books or websites? If so, where should I write the reference?
A9If you use quotations, please include the reference at the bottom of the essay. The reference should not be included in the word count.
Q10Can I add photos, images, or my biography to my essay?
A10No. Please send your essay only.
Q11Can I submit my essay via email?
A11No, we do not accept entries by email. Please submit your essay either by postal mail or through the online registration page: http://goipeace-essaycontest.org/* This link will be activated soon.
Q12Can I submit a hand-written essay?
A12Yes, we accept hand-written essays. You can either send it by postal mail or submit a scanned PDF copy through the online registration page: http://goipeace-essaycontest.org/* This link will be activated soon.
Q13Can I submit more than one essay?
A13Yes, you can submit more than one essay as long as the contents are different. They can also be written in different languages. Please use the same account to submit multiple essays online.
Q14Can I submit my essay in my native language?
A14Essays are accepted in English, French, Spanish, German or Japanese only, since these are the only languages the contest organizers and judges can read. However, we can accept essays written in other languages, if they are accompanied by translations in one of the accepted languages.
Q15Can we co-write and submit one essay as a team?
A15No. Essays must be written by one person. Co-authored essays are not accepted.