World Youth Movement Essay Contest

Congratulations to the Youth Movement Essay Contest Winners!

Hundreds of young people expressed thier hopes and dreams, and shared the ways their personal engagement contributes to building democracy. Each year the World Youth Movement for Democracy holds an essay contest to encourage young people around the world to express their thoughts, hopes, and dreams regarding democracy and human rights in their respective countries.

This year’s contestants were asked to respond to questions about how young people contribute to democratic developments, especially by using new practices and tools such as new media and social networking.

Participants came from all corners of the world, yet expressed a common hope for youth to be the driving force to shape their societies and governmental systems to be more egalitarian – to transcend social barriers to find equality in class, religion, gender, etc. Young people found social media and the Internet as useful tools to share their ideas on these issues, and to connect with others to express their concerns and advocate for change. Many contestants shared the creative ways that youth are shaping their societies and bringing new life and ideas to policymakers.

For the 2010/2011 Essay Contest, these 15 people are winners of the contest. Congratulations!





Latin America and the Caribbean

Middle East and North Africa


Special thanks to the Essay Contest Committee for their support!

Committee members filled a variety of roles in the planning and implementation of the contest - disseminating the contest announcement, translating material, or reviewing the essays both regionally and globally. The Youth Movement would like to recognize the following people for their tremendous contribution to this year’s contest:

Ismail Alexandrani

Alex Fotoh

Angel Marin

Samar Jubran

Ekaterina Babinsteva

Chiedza Gadzirayi

Sixto Martinez

Rami Shamma

Prakash Bhatarri

Hlanganani Gumbi

Mao Pises

Pedro Silverio

Dhafer Hassan

Sara Iris

Deewai Rodriguez

Daria Taradai

Niwa Dwitama

Tapera Kapuya

Gina Romero

Essay Review:
The review process for the contest began at the regional level. Each essay was stripped of all identification and sent to Committee members from the contestants region for review. The essay review rubric included four main categories, and a score of 1-5 was given to each of these for a total possible score of 20. The categories are:

Composition – Does the essay make a clear argument? Does it make sense? Do the different parts of the essay all contribute to our understanding of the main argument? Are the statements made in the essay supported by examples or evidence? Are these examples accurate? If the author proposes solutions, do they relate directly to the problem discussed?

Clarity – Could you understand all the points in the essay without needing a lot of background information? Could it be understood by the general public, or by people who may not have the same historical/social/geographical knowledge?

Creativity – Is the essay interesting? Does it provide a new perspective on an issue? Would people generally enjoy reading this essay?

Practicality – Could ideas in this essay be referred to in advocacy? Does this essay provide suggested actions to advance democracy either in a specific community or generally across the globe? Could the thoughts in this essay easily help democracy activists in their efforts?

The three essays with the highest combined score in each region advanced to the global level. At this level, all judges, not just those from the contestants region, evaluated the essays using the rubric outlined above. The two highest combined scores were named as global winners of the contest.

*For security reasons, the identity of the winner from Bahrain has been withheld.
**Essays were submitted for review in 2010.

Recently, CIPE announced the launch of the 2012 CIPE Youth Essay Competition. As we look forward to reading a new batch of essays from young leaders around the world, winners from last year’s youth essay competition have advice for their peers.

Tackling issues of democratic governance, corruption, and sustainable development in their own essays, when interviewed about what they would like to see in the 2012 contest the 2011 winners emphasized the importance of local solutions, gender equality, freedom of press, and political pluralism.

Babatunde Gabriel Oladosu, 2nd place winner in the economically sustainable development category, said “I would love to see young people proffer local solutions to local problems. I believe that local solutions remain the way to go even in a globalized world. I’d suggest an essay that challenges youth to innovatively solve social problems using local resources and insights.”

From the corruption category, 1st place winner Chukwunonso Ogbe looked to gender equality as a priority for this year’s entries: “I would like my fellow youths to appraise the issue of gender inequality that has been a bane to the growth and development of many nations and caused many women to be subjugated and discriminated against. I would like to see a resourceful discourse on the issue of gender inequality cum discrimination, and how same adversely affects development. I would like my fellow youths to look into the issue of gender inequality from a dispassionate dimension, in order to proffer pragmatic solutions on what could be done in order to address the social anomalies that emanates from the unequal treatment meted on women.”

Judith Aduol Nyamanga, 3rd place winner in democratic transitions, highlighted the proactive and supportive role media can play in democratic reforms. According to Nyamanga, “Democracy thrives in a free but responsible society. What role can the media play in enhancing democracy? What tools of communication can the media design to use in ventilating/enlarging the democratic space? Are the tools reachable to the larger audience given the diverse characteristics that such audiences are made of? What are some of the challenges the media face while in the quest for democratic development? How can the media overcome the challenge caused by government’s influence or individual influence to go slow on such a noble cause?”

Political pluralism was also a theme among the winners. Kirsten Han, 2nd place in democratic transitions, connected political pluralism with non-violent movements and local solutions: “I would love to read more about non-violent conflicts/people’s movements in different countries. In a way it’s also part of democratic transitions, but it would be great to see the focus on bottom-up initiatives and people coming forward to take the lead and to organize themselves.”

Riska Mirzalina, 2nd place in the corruption category, added “[A] topic on pluralism and peace would be an interesting topic as nowadays, migration has allowed people to integrate with different cultures and democracy has opened the doors for some voices which have not been heard before.”

Finally, two suggestions from the 3rd place corruption winner Ruth Nyambura hit the nail on the head, so to speak. She advised topics on “growth mediated development; how to ensure that economic growth translates into equitable development for all.” As well as on “Youth employment; how to save our generation from becoming a lost generation.”

Now YOU can answer Ruth’s prompts and reflect on the other winners’ suggestions. This year’s theme is entrepreneurship, and inclusive growth as well as youth unemployment feature prominently in the three categories.

This year’s competition is open to all youth (age 18 – 30) from around the world. For more information on the 2012 CIPE International Youth Essay Competition see:

Winners of the competition will receive a $500 honorarium, and CIPE will publish winning essays as Economic Reform Feature Servicearticles. Also, one grand prize winner will be invited to an all-expenses paid trip to attend CIPE’s upcoming Democracy that Delivers for Entrepreneurs conference in the U.S., planned for April 2013.

The deadline for submission is October 19, 2012, so don’t wait until the last minute to enter!

Read published essays from the 2011 winners here.  Also, readpart onein the series, which highlights what motivated winners to participate in the CIPE essay contest, and part two, which highlights how youth can play a part in making governance more inclusive and responsive. 

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