united nations academic impact student essay contest

UN Student Essay Contest and Global Youth Forum 2017 in the USA

Last date to apply

16 March 2017

Extended: 31 March 2017
at 11:59pm EST

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About United Nations Academic Impact Student Essay Contest

UN Student Essay Contest conducted by the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), in collaboration with ELS Educational Services, Inc., (ELS) invites students 18 years of age or older, who are enrolled in a full-time course of study at a college or university, to participate in the Many Languages, One World Essay Contest. The United Nations Academic Impact is a programme of the Outreach Division of the Department of Public Information. Get the complete details on UN Student Essay Contest on this page below.

  • Theme of Essay: "Many Languages One World"
  • Last date to apply: 16 March 2017 Extended: 31 March 2017

UN Student Essay Contest


The contest is open to students of all institutions of higher education granting degrees or its equivalent, as well as bodies whose substantive responsibilities relate to the conduct of research.

Winners will win a paid trip to New York and participate in a 5 day International Youth Forum in New York at United Nations Headquarters from 15 to 26 July 2017. Last year, 1200 people participated in the contest. 70 winners were selected from 42 countries. 

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United Nations Academic Impact Student Essay Contest Eligibility Criteria

Gender Both 
Region Global
Class/ Age 18 Years and Above
Details Basic Eligibility:
  • The participants must be full-time students of college /University.
  • The participants should be 18 years or above as on 31 March 2017.
  • An authorised faculty member or university administrator must sponsor the participation in the contest by filling the reference form
  • Entries should be in an official language of the United Nations. The official languages can be any of the following:
    • Arabic
    • Chinese
    • English
    • French
    • Russian
    • Spanish
  • Essays of up to 2,000 words in length must be written in one of the six official languages mentioned above

Language Eligibility:

  • The essay must be written in any one of the languages mentioned above and that would not be the mother tongue of the entrant or the principal medium of instruction in his or her education.
  • Functional knowledge of English is required for participation in the conference.
  • The essay can be written in a language that you learned as a subject during your pre-university schooling, at a language institute, or at the university.
  • If the candidates have attented the bilingual primary or secondary schools, then their essay cannot be written in those languages of instructions

United Nations Academic Impact Student Essay Contest Reward

In total 60 winners will get selected in which 10 of the winners would be from each official language of UN. The Reward categories fo the UN Student Essay Contest is given below:

  • Certificate of Participation: All winners will be given certificates of participation by ELS, signifying they have won the Student Essay Contest arranged in cooperation with the United Nations Academic Impact. 
  • Presentation at UN HQ: Winners have to present their work in the conference at the UN Headquarters which will be conducted from 15 July to 26 July 2017. Winners will work with their language group to prepare plans of action which could be undertaken by student and local communities towards the realization of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
  • Invitation to Newyork: The winners will be invited to New York in 2017 to participate in a series of events which will be conducted from 15 July to 26 July 2017. 
    • Events will include a Global Youth Forum on "Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” at United Nations Headquarters, preceded by a preparatory students' conference at Adelphi University on Long Island, New York. 
  • Air Fare and Stay in Newyork: ELS will pay for roundtrip economy class fares in carriers of its choice between the entrants’ home city and New York, and be responsible for the entrants’ travel, room and meals from their arrival until their departure during July 2017. 
  • Tourist Sight Seeing: Programmes of touristic sightseeing and recreation will also be arranged by ELS Educational Services.

Participants are responsible for all documentation relating to the journey, including passports and visas and the costs related to these, as well as appropriate medical insurance for the journey and stay in the United States.

United Nations Academic Impact Student Essay Contest Application form and Process

The participants need to apply online for the UN Student Essay Contest and Global Youth Forum 2017. Participant has to write an Essay and it should discuss the new goals of global citizenship and cultural understanding and the role that multilingual ability can play in fostering these. 

An institutional representative will have to attest that the participant is a student of the institution, in good standing, and that the essay is written in a language that is not the institution’s primary language of instruction and is the original, unaided work of the entrant.

UN Student Essay Contest 2017 - How to Participate

To participate in the contest, the person has to write an essay of 2,000 words or less discussing the "new goals of global citizenship and cultural understanding and the role that multilingual ability can play in fostering these and the theme of the essay should be "Many languages one world."

The steps to participate in the UN Student Essay Contest and Global Youth Forum 2017 is given below. The participants are advised to follow each and every steps.

  • STEP 1: The participants need to know that the essay they are writing should be according to the guidelines.
  • STEP 2: Fill the application form through the link you receive after submitting the reference form. Students should register online at the link they receive. The student should make sure to include their national identity card number or passport number showing their name as it appears on their passport

Click here to fill Referal Form (Application Closed)

  • STEP 3: Essay entries should be uploaded to the website. The essay must be submitted in MS WORD format. The candidates are advised to submit only one essay as only one essay from one participant would be accepted.

UN Student Essay Contest and Global Youth Forum 2017 Entries Submission

The candidates are advised to read the guidelines of the writing the essay carefully before submitting the entry. Candidates need to know that of the entry of any of the participant found incorrect or not according to the guideliness can be rejected.

The candidates need to know that the essay entries should be submitted in MS Word format only and only one entry would be accepted from one particular participants.

United Nations Academic Impact Student Essay Contest Selection Process

The selection of the candidates will be done in three stages. The selection would be done by the panel of judges. The selection criteria and stages of selecting the entries are given below:

  • STAGE 1 (Selection of Essay): Two panels of judges will read and score the essay according to a scoring rubric. These two scores will be combined and the best essays will be passed to the next stage of the competition
  • STAGE 2 (Personal Interview): The Finalists will be invited for  a personal interview at a location in their city regarding their essay. If a local interview cannot be organized, the finalist will be interviewed online using SKYPE
  • STAGE 3 (Final Selection): Winners will be selected based on the scoring of Stage1 and Stage 2 which will include written and spoken language proficiency in their essay and interview.

UN Student Essay Contest - Top 70 Finalists

A panel of judges will decide upon a total of seventy student winners of the competition. Ten in each of the six languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.) An additional 10 members will be chosen on merit from the remaining entries in all languages

They would be notified by mid-May 2017 by ELS Educational Services, Inc. Winners will receive a letter of invitation to the Global Youth Forum and ELS Preparatory Conference

United Nations Academic Impact Student Essay Contest Address

Mr. Ramu Damodaran
Chief, UN Academic Impact Secretariat
Outreach Division,  S-0937
Department of Public Information
United Nations, NY 10017, USA

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