Wednesday, October 30, 2013

2014 International Schools Essay Competition and Debate

What does ‘sustainable living’ mean to you?

Global essay competition invites schoolchildren to outline their ideas for ‘sustainable living’ and the steps needed for societies to achieve them
2013 prize winners at the Southern Hemisphere Schools Debate, Seychelles National Botanical Gardens, Victoria, Mahe (July 2013)

Congratulations to all our 2013 Winners (Trophies, Finalists, Honourable Mentions)
Living Rainforest at Rio+20: Nardos Tilahun (Grand Prize Winner 2012) and father, centre,  Esther Graham (Teacher Champion) and husband, left, and Karl Hansen (Living Rainforest director),  right.

For the last quarter of a century, there has been much talk around the world about the need for ‘sustainable development’. But when it comes down to our own lives, what does ‘sustainable living’ actually mean?
We are inviting schoolchildren around the world to tell us what ’sustainable living’ means to them, and the steps which they believe their countries should be taking in order to achieve it. Whether it’s the food we eat, how we get around, where we work, what we buy, or some other dimension of how we live … ’sustainable living’ means different things to different people. As a child in your country, what does it mean to you?
The competition and debate are aimed at primary students (ages 7-11) and secondary students (ages 11-17) and their teachers in both formal and home schools. First, Second and Third Prizes will be awarded in both categories and one overall Grand Prize Winner (plus Teacher and Parent) will receive a free trip to the 2014 International Schools Debate in the UK (if the winner is from the UK, an alternative may be organised). All participating schools will be invited to participate in the International Schools Debate and related events in the UK during July 7-10, 2014.

Essay Competition
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon (pictured here at Rio+20) warmly received the Winners’ essays from the 2012 competition, ‘Dear Mr. UN Secretary General…’.

Students are invited to write an essay in English, as follows:
Primary students (ages 7-11): 

What does ‘sustainable living’ mean to you? (max. 400 words)
Secondary students (ages 11-17): 

Outline your ideas for ‘sustainable living’ and the steps needed for societies to achieve them (max. 600 words)
A distinguished panel of judges, drawn from experts and educationalists in the field, will select three winning entries for each age category. The winning students will be awarded trophies at the International Schools Debate and their essays will be published on the competition website. Essays will be judged for comprehensiveness and clarity, innovative and creative thinking and the potential to contribute to a broad-ranging and constructive international debate (see scoring and judging criteria).
For each category, schools will be invited to submit up to 30 essays online. (These must be submitted by the Teacher Champion, using the login details provided at registration. We regret that paper and emailed copies cannot be accepted.)

International Schools Debate & Prize-giving
In 2014, the International Schools Debate & Prize-giving will take place at the Living Rainforest centre in Hampstead Norreys, Berkshire, UK. Each school will be represented by a team of up to two students, plus one Teacher Champion. Aside from the Grand Prize Winner, each participating school must cover its own costs.
Secondary school students at the International Schools Debate & Prize-giving, Living Rainforest, 27 June 2013
Secondary school students at the Northern Hemisphere International Schools Debate, Living Rainforest, UK, June 2013

Key Dates
15 October 2013 – School/Teacher registration begins

10 February 2014 – Closing date for essay submissions (Teacher Champions login here)

2 April 2014 – Schools notified and invited to International Schools Debate

7-10 July 2014 - International Schools Debate & Prize-giving, Living Rainforest, UK. In addition to the
Primary and Secondary events, which occur on separate days, there will be a special programme of educational excursions to London and Oxford (booking optional). Travel Directions. Accommodation near Newbury.

Resources for Schools
Winners' Trophies 2013
Winners’ Trophies 2013
To assist teachers and students in preparing for the competition and debate, key resources will be made available on the competition website in the months leading up to the submission deadline. Judging & scoring criteria

Schools Essay Competition Flyer (available soon)

Enquiries & Updates
Sign up here to receive periodic updates and announcements about the competition

Email queries should be directed to: schools[AT]


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