Youth Essay Contest about Democracy 2010

The Center for International Private Enterprise invites young people to share their ideas on how to create opportunities for youth to strengthen democracy and the private sector in their own countries.

Who can participate:

Students and young professionals aged 18-30.

Contest Deadline:


Winners Announced:

Fall 2010

Essay Length:

2,000 – 3,000 words. All essays must be in English.

Essay categories:

Please limit each essay to one category. Individuals may submit up to one essay for each category. The following are the topics, along with brief descriptions and suggested questions. Feel free to answer these and/or any of your own about each topic that you'd like to address.

* Democracy that delivers. Recent surveys show that people in all corners of the world generally prefer democracy to any other political system, yet they are frequently dissatisfied with how democracy works in their own country. One of the major reasons is the fact that people don’t realize the promised benefits of democracies, which are often plagued by corruption, exclusion, cronyism, and other social and economic ills. Successful essays in this category will examine citizen expectations of democracies, and the how democracies can go about meeting those expectations.

Optional questions to consider: Are you satisfied with how democracy works in your country? What is a democratic government's responsibility to its people? Is it purely a question of rights or is there something more to it? What do people expect democracy to deliver in your country? How can democracy lead to higher living standards and what are the linkages between democratic and economic freedom on your country?

* Entrepreneurship and society. The concept of social entrepreneurship is gaining visibility around the world, as individuals continue to explore ways in which private enterprise can address social problems in their countries. This visibility is bringing to the forefront the question of social benefits attained from all entrepreneurs, not just those included in the social entrepreneurship category. Successful essays in this category will examine the role of entrepreneurship in creating prosperous societies and addressing key developmental challenges and how that role can be best realized.

Optional questions to consider: What role should entrepreneurs play in society? Is their role purely profit-seeking or do they contribute in other ways? What prevents entrepreneurs from contributing more to society? What can be done to address such obstacles?

* Women and participation. Despite some recent progress, women remain excluded from political and economic participation around the world. Oftentimes, it is the combination of cultural and legal and regulatory barriers that prevents women from equal participation on both economic and political arenas. Successful essays in this category will examine barriers to women's participation in society and develop linkages between political, social, and economic empowerment.

Optional questions to consider: What does empowerment mean for women? How can economic empowerment for women lead to their political empowerment? How can women better organize to voice their needs and help level the playing field for women in business? How can women's participation strengthen economic policy for them and for all people? Are there examples of associations or other local organizations of women in your country that are working to put women's business issues on the political agenda?

First, second, and third place authors for each category will receive a $1,000 honorarium, and winning essays from each category will be published as Economic Reform Feature Service articles.

Judging Criteria

Essays will be evaluated by a panel of judges comprising CIPE staff and CIPE’s international partners. Since English may not be a participant's first language, spelling and grammar mistakes will not affect judging as long as ideas and thoughts are clearly laid out. Judges will take into consideration the following criteria:

* Content and guidelines: How well does the essay address the topic? Does the author include real life examples of problems?
* Essay Structure: Is the essay organized in a logical manner?
* Clarity and logic of ideas: Is there a well-defined problem and relevant context? Are arguments clear? Do the arguments and examples support the author's main idea?
* Creativity and orginality: Does the essay contain new, innovative, well-developed ideas?
* Impact of solutions: How do the proposed solutions address the problem identified?
* Youth's role: Does the essay outline a specific challenge or role for youth as part of the solution?

Please be sure to properly cite resources and ideas you find and use. Plagiarism will result in disqualification.



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