Gulen Institute Youth Platform 2014: International Essay Contest for Students

Deadline: December 20, 2013

This is an exciting opportunity for high school teachers and students. The Gulen Institute Youth Platform has announced its fifth international essay contest, which is open to all high school students in grades 9th through 12th currently enrolled in public or private schools from across the nation and abroad.  Students are invited to address global challenges and propose potential solutions based on their own research and experience.

Topic of this year is: What role should state and non-profit agencies play in the education of disadvantaged youth who are not realizing their potential?

Contest winners will also be invited to participate in a platform held in Washington DC, at which they will have the opportunity to share their ideas and listen to their peers from around the world.  With this program, We hope to provide a chance for youth from around the world to engage each other in discussion and to advance cross-cultural understanding.

Prizes and Awards

Awards for students

  • 1st place $ 2,000
  • 2nd place $ 1,500 
  • 3rd place $ 1,000 
  • 4th – 15th place $ 300 
  • 16th – 30th place $ 100

Awards for teachers

  • 1st place $ 600 
  • 2nd place $ 500 
  • 3rd place $ 400 
  • 4th – 15th place $ 200

In addition to these awards, all students who rank from 1st to 30th place will be awarded a 3-day trip to Washington, D.C. for the award ceremony. In addition to participating in the award ceremony, students will have the opportunity to meet honorable U.S. Congress members, participate in discussions, visit local university and think-tank organizations, and enjoy tourist attractions in Washington, D.C.

Airfare, accommodations, meals, and transportation expenses of award winning students will be fully sponsored. All winners will receive a Certificate of Award from the Gulen Institute at the University of Houston.


High school students in grades 9th through 12th currently enrolled in public or private schools from across the nation and abroad are invited to apply.

Judging Criteria

The decision of the judges is final as relating to all contest matters.

  • Address the topic: Essay addresses the topic competently.
  • Focus: Essay is focused and purposeful.
  • Statement of the main idea: Main idea is stated clearly.
  • Discussion and support: Essay discusses the topic and supports the main idea.
  • Considerable research: Essay is based on a considerable research.
  • Eloquence: Essay displays an eloquent style in terms of sentence structure and word choice.
  • Conventions: Use of language is proper in terms of grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
  • Organization: Essay is well organized in terms of transition and paragraph order. It is between 1,500 and 2,000 words in length.
  • Referencing: References are proper and adequate, and indicated in a bibliography.
  • Originality: Overall, the essay is original.

Note: The Gulen Institute realizes that native speakers of English have an advantage in this contest, but we do not want to discourage contributions from around the world. Therefore, essays from non-native speakers will be judged more leniently as regards grammar, although all students will be held to the same standards of research and argumentation

For more information, click here.