United Nations Information Centre/ UNIC - Manila Essay Writing Competition (Philippines)

15 April 2012
United Nations Information Centre/ UNIC - Manila Essay Writing Competition (Philippines)
Deadline: 11 June 2012

The United Nations (UN) has made sustainable development its number one priority. This is the way forward, to address all the issues with which our world is faced today - population, climate change, water scarcity, food security, human rights and gender empowerment, decent and productive livelihood for all, global health issues and peace and security.

In his message on 31 October 2011, when the global population hit the 7-billion mark, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said, “All these issues are interlinked. That is why we are emphasizing the importance of the Rio+20 summit meeting in June [2012] in Rio de Janeiro. We have to make it a success… That is our commitment.”

This commitment redounds not just to governments, but also to other stakeholder groups. Indeed, the formulation and implementation of a concrete and workable action plan to achieve sustainable development will require concerted action among all sectors of society, including the youth.

Today’s youth comprise one of the biggest sectors of society. Their dynamism, idealism, and active use of social mobilization tools make them an indispensable partner to the UN, governments, and civil society, in achieving the goals of Rio+20.

However, it is necessary to create, increase, or enhance their understanding of the need to achieve a more sustainable development path and thereby, foster in them a sense of ownership of the goals of Rio+20.

It is in this context that the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Manila proposes to hold a nationwide essay-writing contest for Filipinos, 16-22 years old, both in-school and out-of-school, on the theme, “The Future We Want,” also the global theme of Rio+20.

By participating in this contest, contestants all over the Philippines would have increased their awareness of the issues attendant to achieving sustainable development and would encourage critical and creative thinking on the kind of world they would like to see in future.


1. The contest is open to all Filipinos, ages 16-22 years. Contestants may or may not be currently enrolled in a Philippine school/college/university.

2. Contestants must describe in as much detail as possible the features of a future world they would like to see—The Future They Want—in no more than 2500 words. The content of the essay must adopt as much as possible the advocacy underlying the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, or the Rio+20 Summit. See http://www.uncsd2012.org/rio20/index.html

3. All essays must be written in English.

4. Essays must not only “read” well but must also “sound” good when “read aloud.” Shortlisted essays will be read on-camera by their writers and the video, webcast.

5. The deadline for submission of entries is on 11 June 2012, 5:00 p.m.

6. Entries must be sent by email to: unic.manila@unic.org, with a copy to: teresa.debuque@unic.org. Indicate in the subject line: “The Future We Want” Essay Writing Contest_(Your Full Name).

7. An email acknowledging receipt of contest entries will be sent to the applicants.

8. A shortlist of 10 entries will be chosen by a panel of judges on 12 June 2012.

9. The writers of the 10 shortlisted entries will be invited to undergo a verification exercise—an on-the-spot writing test.

10. Once the shortlisted candidates have passed the test, they will be invited to read their essays on-camera at the Venice Piazza at McKinley Hill, The Fort, on 15 June 2012.

11. Video of the essay-reading will be streamed on UN Webcast as well as on various social networking sites on 20 June 2012—the opening of the Rio+20 Summit.

12. An online poll of the 10 shortlisted essays will be conducted on UNIC Manila’s Facebook Page from 21 June-10 July 2012. The essay that receives the most number of “Likes” will be adjudged “People’s Choice Awardee.”

13. A panel of judges will determine the top 3 winners on 13 July 2012.

14. The awards will be handed out in a ceremony to be held on 16 July 2012 at the Atrium of Eastwood Mall.

15. The top three winning entries and the People’s Choice Essay will be published in a newspaper of national circulation.

  • First prize: P15,000
  • Second prize: P10,000
  • Third prize: P5,000

  • Start of Contest 26 March 2012
  • Deadline for Submission of Entries 11 June 2012, 5:00 p.m.
  • Shortlisting of Entries 12 June 2012
  • On-Cam Reading of Essays at Venice Piazza at McKinley Hill 15 June 2012
  • Webcast of On-Cam Essay Reading 20 June 2012 -- the start of the Rio+20 Summit
  • Online Poll to Select People's Choice Awardee 21 June - 10 July 2012
  • Selection of Top Three Winners 13 July 2012
  • Awarding Ceremony 16 July 2012


For inquiries: unic.manila@unic.org

For submissions: Entries must be sent by email to: unic.manila@unic.org, with a copy to: teresa.debuque@unic.org. Indicate in the subject line: “The Future We Want” Essay Writing Contest_(Your Full Name)

Website: http://www.unicmanila.org
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