Essay Writing Contest for University Students

The United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) and the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., are launching a global contest for university students, inviting them to imagine a speech that would be made by the Secretary-General at the opening of the next session of the General Assembly, reflecting particularly on the questions of global interdependence and individual human rights. 

Article 28 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights enshrines everyone’s right to an international order where the inherent dignity and rights of all are fully realized.  What is less clear is what sort of a global civics is necessary and feasible for today’s citizenry to navigate this growing interdependence.  Participants in the contest are invited to ponder these vital questions.  The submissions, in English and up to 1500 words in length, should address, in the form of a draft of the imagined speech by the Secretary-General, what responsibilities we can all take on towards people who happen not to be our compatriots, and what rights we can claim, as we work to solve global problems together in a shared culture of intellectual social responsibility.

The competition is open to all students currently enrolled at a university.  Submissions should be sent simultaneously to and by 15 June 2012 with “Speech Competition” written in the subject line.  The submissions will be judged by an international panel.  The top three submissions, at least one of which will be from an UNAI member institution, will be invited to New York and Washington, D.C., to meet with the United Nations Secretary-General and the leadership of the Brookings Institution, respectively.

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