Gulen Institute Youth Platform Essay Competition

Deadline: 15 December 2014
Open to: high school students
Award: 2.000 US dollars and trip to the USA


Gulen Institute Youth Platform is an international essay contest annually organized by the Gulen Institute at the University of Houston. The contest challenges young minds to identify the obstacles to stable peace and social harmony and to offer possible solutions from their own cultural perspectives. The Youth Platform also offers a unique opportunity for cross-cultural understanding, as contest winners are invited to share their essays and engage in respectful dialogue with their peers from around the world. Enrollment in this competition will benefit the young people in terms of:

  • Define problems related to stable peace and social harmony, discuss them, and offer possible solutions from their own perspectives;
  • Contributing to achieve a positive impact on society by building social skills;
  • Helping students improve research and writing skills that are so essential prior to college years;
  • Is a lifetime opportunity for students to exchange ideas with their peers both from national and global levels


The essay competition is open to high school students from around the world.


For the 2015 Youth Platform, the topic will be: Are Citizens of the World Succeeding in Lessening Global Poverty? Essays must be:

  • Written in English;
  • Original, unpublished, and written entirely by student;
  • Contain student’s original opinions and recommendations based on research;
  • At least 1,500 words in length but no more than 2,000 (Citations and bibliography are not included in the word count);
  • Typed, double-spaced with margins: left: 1.5″, right: 1″, top: 1″, bottom: 1″, page-numbered;
  • Include a bibliography;
  • Comply with standards regarding citations and bibliography.

Also students must address only one of the following concerns:

  • Discuss a novel innovative proposal to combat poverty. Elaborate how feasible is its implementation, how measurable its outcomes, and promise for replicability in any region;
  • Discuss some innovative practices that have been particularly effective in reducing or eliminating poverty in some regions. Do they show any promise as a model for implementation elsewhere? Are they promising on a global scale?;
  • Some means to innovate projects for lessening poverty impinge upon cultural practices, rights of either men or women, and may be considered contrary to one’s dignity. Can these limitations be overlooked in the interests of the greater good? Why or why not?
  • Both governmental and private funding has resulted in lessening poverty. Select an example of either to discuss the better approach, keeping in mind accountability and adaptability to any global setting;
  • Consider an acknowledgedly successful innovation to lessen poverty in a particular region to explore to what extent it can be customized for another setting? For the entire international scene?;
  • Identify an example of an effective innovation to decrease poverty that utilized social means within a culture, without intrusions from NGOs or the UN. Why or why isn’t this example promising for all regions?


There are several awards for the best essays:

  • First place: 2.000 US dollars and 3-day excursion in USA;
  • Second place: 1.500 US dollars and 3 day excursion in USA;
  • Third place: 1.000 US dollars and 3 day excursion in USA;
  • Fourth to fifteenth place: 300 US dollars and 3-day excursion in USA;
  • Sixteenth  to thirtieth place: 100 US dollars and 3-day excursion in USA;

All winners who ranked from 1st place to 30th place will be awarded a sponsored excursion to Washington, D.C. and must be accompanied with one parent/guardian. Costs for travel, accommodation and food for the winners and their parent/guardian will be covered by the organisers.


You can submit your entry here. You will be asked to provide information about yourself and to upload your essay.

For more information please visit the official website.

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