Commonwealth Essay Competition Prizes
Entries will be disqualified if they fail to meet any of the following requirements:
- The competition is open to nationals or residents of all Commonwealth countries and territories, as well as residents of The Gambia, the Maldives and Zimbabwe. Residents of non-Commonwealth countries whose entries are submitted through their local RCS branch are also eligible.
- Entrants must select a Senior or Junior topic depending on their age on 1st May 2017. Senior entrants must be born between 2nd June 1999 and 1st June 2004 (14-18) and Junior entrants must be born after 31st May 2004 (under 14 years of age).
- The maximum word counts are 1,500 words for Senior entries and 750 words for Junior entries. These word limits apply to all topics and all formats (essay, poem, letter, etc). Exceeding the word count will result in automatic disqualification.
- Entries must be written in English.
- Only one entry per participant is allowed. Once an essay is submitted, students/teachers will not have the opportunity to revise it. Please carefully check and improve your writing before submitting the final copy, and also ensure that all supplementary information is filled in correctly (name, contact details, topic number, etc.)
- Plagiarism is not accepted in the competition. Every year a number of students are disqualified because they are suspected of plagiarism. Please see ourguide to plagiarism before submitting.
- The final copy submitted for the competition must be the entrant's own work, and cannot be excessively corrected or improved by another person. This does not rule out input or assistance from others but does exclude group entries.
- Essays can only be uploaded as a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx) or in PDF format (.pdf). The online platform does not accept Google Docs (.gdoc), Pages documents (.pages) or other word processor formats. Note: if we are unable to find or open your essay file (either through an incorrect format or upload error), your entry may not be counted in the competition.
- All online entries must be submitted before midnight (GMT) on 1st June 2018; any offline entries must arrive at RCS London by 1st May 2018
- All entrants retain the copyright rights that they have for the pieces they submit, but by entering The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition, each contestant consents to the use of his/her name, and/or pieces or parts thereof in any advertisements, educational materials, corpus research or media and publicity carried out or produced by the Royal Commonwealth Society and its local branches without further notice or compensation. The Royal Commonwealth Society can publish or decline to publish; use or decline to use, any submitted pieces at the Royal Commonwealth Society’s sole discretion.
- The RCS suggests that entrants retain a copy of their original work as regretfully we are unable to return or provide copies of submissions.
- The RCS retains the right to change the prize of the competition if circumstances make this necessary.
- The RCS will only be able to publish on our website and in our literature content that is appropriate for a wide and diverse audience, in line with our own policies. Entrants are encouraged to consider this in relation to their use of language when entering the competition.
All certificates are generated online and the RCS does not send any certificates in the post. You will be given a reference number when you submit your essay. It is very important that you keep this number is a safe place as you will need it to download your certificate. Teachers, please remember to retain the reference numbers for each of your students.
Having trouble submitting your essay? Contactcompetitions@thercs.org
Issued: February 2017
Young writers awarded Winners of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition
Four young writers have been awarded Winners and Runners-Up of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2016, which is the world’s oldest international schools writing competition and has been sponsored by Cambridge University Press since 2013. The winning essays were selected from approximately 13,500 entries spanning the five regions of the Commonwealth.
Representing nearly every Commonwealth country, entrants wrote about contemporary issues including the Syrian refugee crisis, conflict migration in Africa and finding a diasporic identity.
Senior Winner Inessa Rajah, 17, is from Durban, South Africa. Senior Runner-up Esther Mugalaba, 19, comes from Lusaka, Zambia.
The Junior Winner and Runner-up, Gauri Kumar, 13, and Tan Wan Gee, 14, respectively, are both Singaporean nationals.
Entries were assessed by a pan-Commonwealth body of judges, drawn from more than 30 different countries across the globe. Judges described the entries as ‘inspirational’, ‘ambitious’, ‘profound’, ‘moving’, ‘imaginative’ and stated that ‘the future of the Commonwealth is bright’.
The four pan-Commonwealth Winners and Runners-up will attend the traditional ‘Winners Week’ in London in October of this year; a special programme consisting of cultural and educational activities. The week will culminate in an Awards Ceremony at Buckingham Palace where HRH The Duchess of Cornwall will present the Winners and Runners-up with their certificates on behalf of Her Majesty The Queen. This will be the third time that the Duchess of Cornwall has taken part in the Awards Ceremony.
Director of the Royal Commonwealth Society, Michael Lake CBE, said: “The four young people chosen as the Winners and Runners-up of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2016 represent the very best and brightest that the Commonwealth has to offer. Their essays and poems explore contemporary themes with maturity, intelligence and depth beyond their years. We are proud of them and the thousands of other young writers who entered the competition this year from all around the Commonwealth.”
Rod Smith, Managing Director of Education, Cambridge University Press: “The Royal Commonwealth Society shares our vision of empowerment through education, and we’re thrilled to be sponsoring The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition once again. The quality of the entries this year were exceptional, and all of us at Cambridge University Press would like to extend our congratulations to the winners.”
NOTES TO EDITORS:
More information about the Competition, including the Winners and Runners-up can be found here: https://thercs.org/youth-and-education/the-queens-commonwealth-essay-competition/
Senior Winner: Dr. Congo-man,Inessa Rajah, South Africa, aged 17
Senior Runner-up: Let Them In: A Short Discourse Outlining How Complicated These Three Words Can Be,Esther Mungalaba, Zambia, aged 19
Junior Winner: Untitled,Gauri Kumar, Singapore, aged 13
Junior Runner up: Are We Really So Different?/ Dear Santa, Tan Wan Gee, Singapore, aged 14
The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition was founded in 1883 and is the world’s oldest international schools’ writing contest. The competition is sponsored by Cambridge University Press and received approximately 13,500 entries from almost every country in the Commonwealth.
The Junior category is open to entrants aged 13 years and under and the Senior category is open to entrants aged 14-18.
The overarching theme for 2016 was ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’, which is also the 2016 Commonwealth Year theme, and a topical theme for today’s youth. Both Senior and Junior topics gave young people the opportunity to think about aspects of the theme such as: the significance of community; the importance of diversity and difference; the question of belonging; the values of tolerance, respect and understanding; and the sense of shared responsibility that exists within the Commonwealth today. The topics were a chance to develop critical thinking and to express views in a creative manner.
The Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS), founded in 1868, is a network of individuals and organisations committed to improving the lives and prospects of Commonwealth citizens across the world. Through youth empowerment, education and advocacy, the RCS promotes the value and values of the Commonwealth. www.thercs.org
Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Granted letters patent by Henry VIII in 1534, it is the world’s oldest publishing house and the second-largest university press in the world. Cambridge University Press has been a sponsor of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition since 2013. www.cambridge.org
Anja Nielsen, Manager of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition, Programmes Officer (Youth and Education), the Royal Commonwealth Society
T: +44203 727 4306 | E: firstname.lastname@example.org
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