Youth Speak Out: Engaging in Democracy and Grasping Opportunity

Youth Speak Out:  Engaging in Democracy and Grasping Opportunity

RAISE YOUR VOICE, SHARE YOUR IDEAS, and GET INVOLVED IN DEMOCRACY! Submit your essay on democracy, and get your free ticket to the world’s largest gathering of democracy and human rights activists in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2010!

The World Youth Movement for Democracy (www.wymd.org), a youth network of the World Movement for Democracy (www.wmd.org), is pleased to announce the launch of its Global Essay Contest.  Fifteen  winners (3 in each region: Asia, Central/Eastern Europe & Eurasia, Middle East & North Africa, Latin America & Caribbean, and Sub-Saharan Africa) will be invited to participate in the upcoming 6th Assembly of the World Movement for Democracy in Jakarta, Indonesia, in April 2010.

Questions: Democracy has been practiced in different ways and in different contexts.  We believe there are core universal democratic values and aspirations that we all share, which transcend our differences, even though we live in different cultures, speak different languages, and eat different food.  The purpose of this essay contest is to highlight personal engagement in democracy by promoting critical thinking about the role of young people in democracy and to connect youth with broader democracy movements.  The questions posed below for this essay contest aim to challenge youth to write about their perspectives on democracy and their understanding of democracy activism, particularly  their own.

Essays are required to address one or more of the following questions:


  1. What democratic spaces exist for young people in your society?  What do you see as democratic values in your society? How do you engage with them?

  1. How can democracy help address your personal and social concerns (poverty, access to education, pandemics, inequality etc.)? How do you and others in your community address these concerns?

  1. Describe and explain how a specific event or instance changed your perception of democracy.

Submissions: Please submit your essay by 15 September 2009 via email attachment as a Word document or a PDF.  Please make sure to clearly designate, in the body of your email, your full name, age, gender, physical address, and phone number, to the relevant regional email address listed below.  Essays can be submitted in Arabic, English, French, Portuguese, Russian, or Spanish, and the essay must be no more than 2,000 words.  Authors must be between 18 and 30 years old.*

· Asia:  WYMD.ASIA@GMAIL.COM

· Central and Eastern Europe & Eurasia: WYMD.EURASIA@GMAIL.COM

· Middle East & North Africa:  WYMD.MENA@GMAIL.COM

· Latin America & Caribbean:  WYMD.LAC@GMAIL.COM

· Sub-Saharan Africa: WYMD.AFRICA@GMAIL.COM

To submit your essays via fax, please fax: +1.202.378.9889.  Please provide your personal details in the fax cover sheet.

Timeline:

June 2009 – Launch of the Essay Contest

September 15, 2009 – Deadline for the essay submission

October 18, 2009 – Announcement of Regional Winners

December 2009 – Regional winner essays posted on website in English

April 11-14, 2010 – World Movement for Democracy Sixth Assembly

April 14, 2010 – Announcement of global winners at World Movement for Democracy Sixth Assembly closing ceremony

Review Process: The submitted essays will be reviewed by regional committees each of which will determine three regional winners.  The regional winners will be announced on the World Youth Day for Democracy (October 18). If needed, each of the regional committees will also translate the 3 winning essays into English to post on the World Youth Movement for Democracy Website.

Essays will be evaluated based on:

  • Composition;
  • Clarity;
  • Creativity; and
  • Practicality.

Prizes: The 15 regional winners (3 from each region) will be provided with sponsorship to cover travel and other expenses related to their participation in the World Movement for Democracy’s Sixth Assembly in Jakarta, Indonesia, in April 2010.*  The Assembly, bringing together over 500 democracy activists, scholars, and practitioners from over 100 countries, will provide an opportunity for the Regional Winners to attend workshops and connect with hundreds of civil society leaders from around the world.  The conclusion of the contest is the announcement of two global winners at the Assembly’s closing ceremony.

For further information on the Global Youth Essay Contest, please visit: www.wymd.org.  If you have any specific questions, please contact Cecilia Andersen at: ceciliah@ned.org.

Good luck and we look forward to reading your essays!

*Please note that you must be over age 18 by April 11, 2010 to qualify for participation in the World Movement for Democracy Assembly, if you are a Regional Winner.

This Essay contest is generously sponsored by the Hurford Foundation.

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