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.
The World Affairs Council is thrilled to host KING-TV’s Margaret Larson as our keynote speaker for the 16th annual World Citizen Essay Contest and World Educator Award Ceremony. Margaret will share her experience as a broadcast journalist and foreign correspondent and highlight the importance of an informed and engaged global citizenry.
As part of this special evening we will honor our 2014-15 World Educator award recipient, Brandon Frederick. Brandon is a social studies teacher and outstanding global educator at Bonney Lake High School in the Sumner school district and was chosen based on several nominations from his colleagues and students.
Finally we will salute nine Washington State students in grades 3 through 12 for their award-winning essays in response to the following 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? Student winners will read a short excerpt from their essays and awards will be presented by Margaret Larson.
Please join our community in celebrating the tremendous work of local students and an outstanding educator.
For more than twenty five years, Margaret Larson worked as a broadcast journalist, most notably with NBC News as a foreign correspondent based in London, news anchor for the Today show, and Dateline NBC reporter, and as a reporter/news anchor at KING-TV in Seattle. During the Kurdish refugee crisis in southern Turkey at the end of the first Persian Gulf War, she began reporting on global humanitarian crises. What she learned and experienced changed her outlook, her career and her life. In 2003, she formed a communications consulting practice for international nonprofit organizations including World Vision, Mercy Corps, PATH and Global Partnerships, creating videos and online content to serve humanitarian causes. Her aid-related work has taken her to southern Lebanon, the Kosovo crisis, Afghan refugee camps one week after the launch of the US bombardment, the most recent Iraq ground war, the South Asian tsunami and its one-year anniversary, the depths of the African AIDS pandemic, maternal/child health programs in India and Asia, and the child soldier crisis in northern Uganda.
Larson has won broadcast journalism awards including four Emmys, two national Clarion awards, three Telly awards and a national Society of Professional Journalists award. In 2004, she received the national Headliner Award from the Association of Women in Communication*. In 2005, she was named “Best Voice for Humanitarianism” by the Seattle Weekly newspaper. In 2007, she was selected for the Women of Vision award by the “Women Work!” organization in Washington D.C. And in 2008, she was chosen to create the profile videos for the global humanitarian Opus Prize awardees in Nicaragua, India, and Burundi.
Brandon is a social studies teacher at Bonney Lake High School in Sumner, WA. He has been teaching social studies for over 15 years and currently teaches AP Human Geography, AP US History, and AP Government and Politics. Brandon demonstrates a deep investment in educating students about world affairs and promoting cultural understanding in and out of the classroom. Brandon also implemented an annual event at his high school called the International Economic Summit through training he received at the Idaho Council on Economic Education and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. This Summit involves about 200 high school seniors each year, divided into country teams, and competing in a giant trade simulation. Students dress up, cook food, negotiate alliances and trade pacts, and discuss global issue statements. Brandon now oversees this Summit at two high schools. In addition, Brandon succeeded in bringing Advanced Placement (AP) Geography classes to Bonney Lake High School and attends AP Readings in June to score AP exams. He has also served as the Social Studies department chair, is on the literacy committee, and is seen as a leader by staff and students alike. Brandon is also a participant in the World Affairs Council Fellows Program.
Please note: All essay contest student participants are invited to attend the event free of charge. Please email Amy at firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your ticket. Seattle Central College students are invited to register at the member level.
Hosted by Seattle Central College
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