World Affairs Essay Topics

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

 

Overview:

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

Essay Prompt:

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.

IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS

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


Prizes

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 essaycontest@world-affairs.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 tosterhaug@world-affairs.org


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:

Grades 3-5

Grades 6-8

Grades 9-12

First PlaceAryeh 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 PlaceRoberto Kannapell, Bryant Elementary, “Guatemalan Coffee”Melinda Day, Tahoma Middle School, “Broadening Perspectives Through Travel”Warisha Soomro, STEM High School, “The ‘Perfect’ Destination”
Third PlaceGilly 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:

Rick Steves

Through his book, TV and radio shows, guided tours, and public speaking engagements, Rick Steves haintroduced 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

Nancy Pearl

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:

Grades 3-5

Grades 6-8

Grades 9-12

First PlaceKayla 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 PlaceGrace 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 PlaceCora 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.

IMPORTANCE OF A WORLD AFFAIRS ESSAY

Today, World Affairs mean everything to us as this discipline involves not only current events that take place in a particular country, but also those events that happen in the world in general. It is practically impossible to keep away from everything that happens in our society, especially, today, when every new day brings news and world affairs articles to read about more political changes, horrible disasters, environmental changes, riots, wars that cannot be called a positive news, to say the least. This discipline covers almost all aspects of our life: historical background, culture, music, art, politics, as well as social, environmental, political, and personal spheres. The history of world affairs is thousands and thousands years old, as even policy makers of the Roman Empire understood the importance of informing their citizens about new amendments to already existing laws, adoption of new laws and regulations, as well as about any new social, political, and cultural events. In general, this academic discipline studies communications, connections, relations and affairs between nations by giving a detail information on their political, social, and cultural systems, and on persons responsible for representing this or that nation or country in public. World Affairs can also be called an interdisciplinary subject as it involves a bit of psychology, linguistics, politics, diplomacy, international and public relations, etiquette, and many other disciplines that are called to guarantee the most comfortable communication between representatives of different countries. Today, it is easy to keep up with current news and global development by looking through some well-known newspapers, magazines, journals to find out how to write a world affairs report.

Also, it is necessary to be knowledgeable in features, types, and details of this subject rather than possess a general idea about particular aspects. This is extremely important when it comes to participating in world affairs essay contest, for instance.

SECRETS OF A WORLD AFFAIRS ESSAY

There are several details that may be especially important to keep in mind before one proceeds with writing an essay, research paper, or any other academic assignment, like report writing on a particular topic related to this discipline. Topics of this subject are the most widely-assigned to students of International Relations, Business, Mass Media, and Communications Departments. For example, before a student proceeds with the writing stage, it is necessary to know a topic of the paper as it defines structure, length, and complexity of the assignment. The most popular World Affairs topics may be:

  • Ways of Overcoming Social and Political Obstacles
  • International Conflicts and Ways of their Resolution
  • Alternative Energy and Modern Technology
  • Terrorism as the Thread to the International Security
  • Cyber Terrorism and Personal Security in the Global Network

The list can go on and on, but the main point is to know specifics of what a student should write about. It defines the next stage of the writing process - the student should do some research on the topic to gather some valuable, credible, and interesting information. Depending on the type of an assignment, the scope and form of evidence and information presentation may vary. For instance, if it should be an argumentative essay, thesis statement must be supported by credible facts and evidence gathered during the process of research. However, student's paper should not look like a naked outline of facts and evidence as it is better to interchange supporting evidence with interesting information and personal statements following a required format. Formatting the paper according to a specific style is one-half of the grade given for this work, so it is necessary to be extra careful when a student is about to tailor a final version of the assignment. If a student is asked to write a world affairs essay that should contain background information from the past, i.e. some historical background, facts, statements, dates, names, places, etc., a person should double-check everything to be sure that he or she will not make any stupid mistakes in the paper. Correctness and credibility of information are important in all kinds of academic writing unless it is a creative writing where a person is free to create new worlds and events using his or her fantasy. Professors check facts, statements, and historical information, so one should not dance on volcano hoping it will not erupt eventually.

Many students, who are involved in world affairs writing assignments on a daily basis, create outlines of such papers before tailoring the final version of the essay. It is an excellent way of tracing evident drawbacks, mistakes, and weak spots in the paper and correct or edit them before the due date. However, sometimes students are unable to understand how such assignment should look like in the end or what data, or information they need to include or research to create a perfect world affairs paper. In this case, one can always ask his or her professor or tutor to show a sample or samples of similar works to get to the point and get some review help. There is nothing wrong in asking questions when you do not understand something as you are here to learn new things and improve already developed skills.

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