CIPE International Youth Essay Contest 2011 is now open to students and young professionals. The cash prizes to be won total $9,000 as well as publishing winners’ essays in an international journal. The topics for the 2011 Essay Contest were determined by past participants who were polled. The deadline for submission is November 14, 2011. The essay has three categories and three awards will be made for each category.


1.     1. Democratic transitions


Background: Young people and the technology they used to share knowledge and coordinate action were at the core of movements for democracy in Tunisia and Egypt earlier this year. Meanwhile outside of the Middle East, in Southern Sudan, Nepal, and other countries, young people also have opportunities to help power new democracies.

Essay Category Focus: How can youth play a significant role in newly-formed or emerging democracies? Do existing broad-based civil society groups or parties provide youth with opportunities to participate? How might youth in your country form their own groups and voice their concerns and needs as future leaders?

2.      2. Economically-sustainable development

Background: One of the challenges facing democratic and economic development is making progress economically self-sustaining. Policies and practices that address the sources, not the symptoms, of underdevelopment ensure that momentum builds over time. For development programs to be sustainable on their own, they must have financial and political commitment from local stakeholders.

Essay Category Focus:How can youth take ownership of the most pressing development issues and solutions in your country? What can the next generation do to build democratic and economic development that is self-sustainable for the long run? What can be done to make sure progress is locally-driven, effective, and not dependent on foreign aid?

3.      3. Corruption

Background: Corruption undermines a fair and open business environment that can provide jobs, opportunities, and tax revenues for a healthy democracy. Often corruption occurs at multiple levels of society, thus making it difficult for businesses and policymakers to curtail it. Without reforming practices and incentives at the root of this problem, corruption hurts business and weakens confidence in political leaders.

Essay Category Focus: How does corruption influence the way business is done in your country? How do nepotism, cronyism, and/or bribery make doing business difficult or more costly? What are some innovative, new initiatives that the next generation should take to address corruption (e.g.: are there ways to change the incentive structure to discourage such behavior)? 

Eligibility: Students and young professionals aged 18-30.

Length and language: 2,000-3,000 words. All essays must be in English.

Prizes for Winners: For each category, first, second, and third place authors will receive a $1,000 honorarium, and CIPE will publish 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place essays.

Deadline: November 14, 2011

To submit your essay online, visit the essay website by clicking here.