Network for Youth in Transition


Youthink! International Youth Day Essay Competition SUBMITTED BY SAADIA IQBAL

Youthink! International Youth Day Essay Competition
Posted on Youthink Blog

International Youth Day was established by the UN in 1999, to raise awareness of the importance of youth participation and investing in youth. The theme of the day for 2009 is Sustainability: Our Challenge. Our Future.

As many of you know, sustainable development means meeting the needs of the people today without hurting the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. In other words, we can’t make decisions based on what we need now, without considering the impacts of our actions in the years ahead. According to the UN, “sustainability does not only refer to maintaining environmental balance and renewal. Sustainability encapsulates three facets of life: the environment, society and the economy.” For example, many girls around the world don’t get to go to school because they have to help with household chores, such as fetching water. While this might be an immediate need for the family, in the long-run educating girls can be a powerful force for development: if a woman is educated and has an income, then she is more likely to send her children to school and to the doctor to make sure they are healthy.

As Editor of Youthink! I struggle with the question of how young people around the world can feel more involved; can feel that their voices and ideas will actually be heard and make a difference. Especially those young people with limited means and resources at their disposal. It’s always amazing for me to get a first-hand look, based on the emails I receive, into the goals and dreams of so many of you living around the world, and your thoughts and ideas for tackling the issues that matter to you, like corruption, climate change and unemployment. And most of all, your optimism and determination to make a difference.

The point I’m getting at (and I apologize for the long-windedness), is that I have no doubt that youth everywhere really want to create change. The question is, how can you get involved? What are the challenges you face in doing so, and what are the best ways to overcome those challenges? So, this year, for International Youth Day, we want your ideas.

The Contest
Answer the question below in an essay of no more than 1000 words:
What are your tangible ideas for how youth can create effective, long-lasting change? How can youth in your country—or around the world—work together to really make a difference?
Prize Winner will receive an iPod Nano (4GB)and a Youthink! bag.

2 runners-up will each receive a Youthink! bag and a copy of the book
Change the World for Ten Bucks—a book of simple, everyday actions that we can all do.
Read This Before Getting Started…
- The deadline for submissions is August 12, 2009
- Open to participants aged 16-25 (winners will need to provide proof of age)
- Essays can be submitted as MS Word documents (.doc) or in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf)
- Only one entry is allowed per person
- All submissions must be the author’s original work, and should not have been previously published anywhere
- Youthink! will publish the winning and runner-up submissions, and may modify format and content for publication purposes.
- World Bank staff are not eligible to participate
- Winners will be announced on August 25, 2009

How/where to submit:
You can either email your submissions to or mail them to:
Youthink! Editor
World Bank
Mail Stop: MC 9-907
1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433

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