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2014 International Essay Competitions

This annual essay contest is organized in an effort to harness the energy, imagination and initiative of the world’s youth in promoting a culture of peace and sustainable development. It also aims to inspire society to learn from the young minds and to think about how each of us can make a difference in the world. This program is an activity of the UNESCO Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development.

Theme

“Education to Build a Better Future for All”

We live in a world with many complex problems, both local and global. What kind of education and learning would help us address these challenges and create a sustainable world and a better life for all? Describe your concrete ideas for an ideal education.

Organizer

The Goi Peace Foundation

Prizes

The following awards will be given in the Children’s category and Youth category respectively:

  • 1st Prize: Certificate and prize of 100,000 Yen (approx. US$840 as of January 2016)… 1 entrant
  • 2nd Prize: Certificate and prize of 50,000 Yen (approx. US$420 as of January 2016)… 2 entrants
  • 3rd Prize: Certificate and gift… 5 entrants
  • Honourable Mention: Certificate and gift… 25 entrants
  • 1st prize winners will be invited to the award ceremony in Tokyo, Japan scheduled for November 2016 and will receive the Minister of Education Award. (Travel expenses will be covered by the organizer.)
  • Additional awards (Recognition for Effort, Best School Award, and School Incentive Award) will be given if applicable.
  • All prize winners will be announced by the end of October 2016 on the Goi Peace Foundation web site (www.goipeace.or.jp). Certificates and gifts will be mailed to the winners in December 2016.

Deadline

June 15, 2016 (23:59 your local time)

Guidelines

  • Essays may be submitted by anyone up to 25 years old (as of June 15, 2016) in one of the following age categories:
    a) Children (ages up to 14)
    b) Youth (ages 15 – 25)
  • Essays must be 700 words or less in English, French, Spanish or German, or 1600 characters or less in Japanese, excluding essay title. Essays may be typed or printed.
  • Essays must have a cover page indicating (1) category (Children or Youth) (2) essay title (3) your name (4) address (5) phone number (6) e-mail (7) nationality (8) age as of June 15, 2016 (9) gender (10) school name (if applicable) (11) word count.
  • Teachers and youth directors may submit a collection of essays from their class or group.
  • Please enclose a list of participants’ names, ages and the name and contact information of the submitting teacher or director.
  • Entries missing any of the above information will not be considered.
  • Please note that the organizer is unable to confirm receipt of essays or answer individual inquiries concerning contest results.
  • Entries may be submitted by postal mail or online.
  • IMPORTANT: To send your essay online, you must go to the online registration page and follow the required steps.
  • Essays must be original and unpublished. Plagiarized entries will be rejected.
  • Essays must be written by one person. Co-authored essays are not accepted.
  • Copyright of the essays entered will be assigned to the organizer
  • Entries must be received by June 15, 2016 (23:59 your local time)
  • Please send your entries to: International Essay Contest c/o The Goi Peace Foundation 1-4-5 Hirakawacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0093 Japan. OR send online.

Inquiries

For inquiries, please contact essay@goipeace.or.jp

Announcer

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The essay competition was created to inspire students to explore connections between human rights and science, engineering and the health professions. Students may write on any topic at the intersection of science and/or technology with human rights.

The AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition Student Essay Competition is made possible by the AAAS-Andrew M. Sessler Fund for Science, Education, and Human Rights.

Past Winners:

2017

66 students from 32 different countries entered the competition. The essays covered a wide range of topics at the intersection of science of human rights, including reproductive technologies, food security, artificial intelligence, data privacy, and access to water.  The winners will be recognized at the July 27, 2017 Science and Human Rights Coalition Meeting in Washington, D.C. 


Graduate Student Winner
Miriam Aczel, Imperial College London 
Essay Title: "Fracking and Human Rights: Using a Rights-Based Framework to Regulate a New Technology"


Undergraduate Student Winner
Church Lieu, California State University – Los Angeles
Essay Title: "The Augmentation Gap"


Honorable Mentions
Kylie Orme, University of Utah
Essay Title: “Mr. Robot: Morality, AI, and Personhood” 

Elaine Huang, Lafayette College
Essay Title: "Doomed to Digital Dependence? Children in the Age of Persuasive Technology"


2016

42 students from 10 different countries entered the competition. The essays represented a wide range of scientific topics, including child psychology and development; personalized medicine; assistive technologies; food security; information technology; research ethics; environmental disasters; forensic science; and the place of ethnic, racial, and gender identity in scientific research. The winners were recognized at the July 2016 Science and Human Rights Coalition Meeting in Washington, D.C.


Graduate Student Winner
Julie Fleischman, Michigan State University
Essay Title: “Skeletal Analysis after Crimes Against Humanity and Genocides: Implications for Human Rights”

Ms. Fleischman is an Anthropology doctoral student at Michigan State University.  She is completing her dissertation research on human remains from the Khmer Rouge era in Cambodia; she is focusing on the skeletal injuries as well as how the remains are understood in contemporary Cambodian society.  Her primary research interests include forensic anthropology, human rights, and skeletal trauma. 


Undergraduate Student Winner
Tanner Rolfe, University of Dayton
Essay Title: “Living Water: A Catholic Social Teaching Perspective on PFOA and Human Rights”

Tanner is currently a junior at the University of Dayton majoring in mechanical engineering with an intended minor in mechanical systems. He has a special interest in applications of shape-changing mechanisms and is currently involved in undergraduate research focused on kinematic synthesis of variable geometry linkages. He says, "I love the design process: it allows me to express my creativity while giving me the opportunity to apply my skills in a practical and significant way.After graduation, he hopes to attend graduate school in pursuit of a master’s degree in engineering, and aspires to one day earn PE licensure. 


Honorable Mention for Creativity and Originality
Priyanka Menon, Harvard University
Essay Title: “Mathematics and the Question of Human Rights”

Priyanka Menon graduated from Harvard College in 2016 with a B.A. in Mathematics and a secondary in History. She is primarily interested in the histories and theories of human rights, political violence, and civil disobedience.


2015

29 students from 8 different countries entered the competition. The essays represent a wide range of scientific topics: neuroscience, biology, ‘Big Data’, forensic anthropology, science policy, STEM education, wildlife ecology, environmental sustainability, sociology, medicine, global health, science ethics, stem cell research, materials engineering, crowd-sourcing, computer science, biotechnology, genetics, agricultural sciences, climate change, and information technology. The winners were recognized at the July 2015 Science and Human Rights Coalition Meeting in Washington, D.C.


Graduate Student Winner
Wasima Khan, Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Essay Title: "Profits, Medicine, and the Human Right to Health in the Pharmaceutical Industry: Educating (Future) Business Leaders"

Wasima Khan, J.D., is a PhD candidate in Corporate Law at the Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Wasima’s forthcoming dissertation focuses on how responsibilities toward distributive justice can be implemented in law, business, and society.


Undergraduate Student Winner
Lauren Y. Chan, Queen's University
Essay Title: “The Pursuit of Perfection? Fetal Genetic Screening"

Lauren is a first year medical student at Queen’s University in Canada, and was one of ten students accepted into the inaugural year of the Accelerated Route to Medical School program in 2013. She is passionate about scientific research and human rights, and hopes to incorporate global health into her future medical career.


Honorable Mentions
Jonah S. Rubin, University of Chicago
Essay Title: “Spain’s Laboratory of Hope and Dignity: Scientific Exhumations and the Making of Dead Citizens"

Neha Shah, Georgetown University
Essay Title: "The Structural Human Rights Violations of Malaria"


2014

53 students from eleven different countries entered the competition. Their essays covered almost as many topics, addressing human rights concerns connected to surrogacy, immunization, bio-technology, genetic tests, environmental health issues, and more. Many essays highlighted potential contributions of science and technology to protecting human rights, while others gave thoughtful consideration to ways in which human rights principles can inform scientific research and practice. The winners were recognized at the July 2014 Science and Human Rights Coalition Meeting in Washington, D.C.


Graduate Student Winner
Wasiu Adedapo Lawal, The University of Texas at Arlington
Essay Title: "Water as a Friend and a Right"
Read the winning graduate essay.


Undergraduate Student Winner
Surabhi Chaturvedi, National Law Institute University, Bhopal
Essay Title: “Satellite Imagery in International Human Rights Litigation”
Read the winning undergraduate essay.