Saturday, September 11, 2010

Youth in Action: Paving the Way for Democracy

Raise Your Voice, Share Your Ideas, and Get Involved in Democracy!


Submit your essay on democracy, and win an opportunity to attend one of the largest global gatherings of democracy leaders!

The World Youth Movement for Democracy (www.wymdonline.org), a youth network of the World Movement for Democracy (www.wmd.org), is pleased to announce the launch of its Global Essay Contest. Fifteen semi-finalists (3 in each region: Asia, Central/Eastern Europe & Eurasia, Middle East & North Africa, Latin America & Caribbean, and Sub-Saharan Africa) will be announced on Human Rights Day, December 10, and will have their essays published on the WYMD Web site.  Two global winners will be invited to participate in the upcoming Community of Democracies Ministerial Meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania, in July 2011.  (www.community-democracies.org)

Questions

Democracy has been practiced in different ways and in different contexts. We believe there are core universal democratic values and aspirations that we all share, which transcend our differences, even though we live in different cultures, speak different languages, and eat different food. The purpose of this essay contest is to highlight personal engagement in democracy by promoting critical thinking about the role of young people in democracy and to connect youth with broader democracy movements. The questions posed below for this essay contest aim to challenge youth to write about their perspectives on democracy and their understanding of democracy activism, particularly their own.

Essays are required to address one or more of the following questions:

1.    In what ways have young people contributed to democratic participation in your community?  Highlighting some of the strategies and tools they have used, what difference have their efforts made?
2.    New media and social networking are increasingly becoming popular tools for community organizing.  In what ways have you and/or your organization been using new media for democracy promotion? How effective has it been and what challenges have you faced in using these tools?
3.    What practices, do you think exemplify human rights activist protection or violation in your country that is not openly recognized?  What do you think are the justifications for this and how can it be either replicated, in the case of a good example or stopped, in the case of a bad example?
4.    What new factors can youth activists bring to longstanding human rights issues in your country? How have these issues been addressed in the past?
 
Submissions

Please submit your essay by World Youth Day for Democracy, 18 October 2010, via email attachment as a Word document.  The format must have 1’’ margins, double spaced, Times New Roman font, and size 12 font. Please make sure to clearly designate, in the body of your email, your full name, age, gender, physical address, and phone number, to the relevant regional email address listed below. Do not enter your name or other details on your actual essay.  Essays can be submitted in Arabic, English, French, Russian, or Spanish, and the essay must be no more than 2,000 words. Authors must be no younger than 18 and no older than 30 years old before October 18.

Timeline

August 12, 2010 – Launch of the Essay Contest
October 18, 2010 – Deadline for the essay submission
December 10, 2010 – Announcement of 15 Semi-finalists
January 2011 – Semi-finalist essays posted on WYMD Web site                                            
 February 2011 – Announcement of 2 Global Winners
July 2011 – Global winners attend Community of Democracy Ministerial Meeting

Review Process

The submitted essays will be reviewed by regional committees each of which will determine three regional semi-finalists. The semi-finalists will be announced on Human Rights Day (December 10).  If needed the each of the regional committees will also translate 3 semi-finalist essays into English to post on the World Youth Movement for Democracy Website.
Essays will be evaluated based on:
Composition; Clarity; Creativity; and Practicality.
* Essays must be based on your own personal experiences and must be your own original work.  Please do not use outside sources without citing properly.

 Prizes

The Two Global winners will be announced and provided with a sponsorship to cover travel and othere expenses related to their participation in the Community of Democracies Ministerial Meeting in Vilnius, Lithuania, in July 2011.  (www.community-democracies.org)

The 15 Semi-Finalists (3 from each region) will be announced and their essays will be posted on the World Youth Movement for Democracy Web site. 

For further information on the Global Youth Essay Contest, please visit: www.wymdonline.org. If you have any specific questions, please contact Cecilia Andersen at: ceciliah@ned.org.

This Essay contest is generously sponsored by the Hurford Foundation.

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