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. This year, Teacher Champions from 73 countries participated and we received essays from 1,094 children!

Congratulations to this year’s Finalists, Honourable Mentions and Teacher Champions!

PRIMARY SCHOOLS 2014 by Country (PDF, 250 kB)

SECONDARY SCHOOLS 2014 by Country (PDF, 290 kB)

All Finalists, Honourable Mentions and Teacher Champions will receive certificates of recognition. (Certificates will be sent to Teacher Champions electronically in early June; printed certificates will also be awarded to those attending the Schools Debates in July.)

The 2014 Grand Prize Winner and 1st/2nd/3rd Prize Winners will be announced at the International Schools Debate and Prize-giving events in the UK on July 8-11, 2014. See the Provisional Programme.

Cho Su bin, Grand Prize Winner 2013 (centre)

Cho Su bin, Grand Prize Winner 2013 – SEC English School, South Korea (centre)

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?

Living Rainforest at Rio+20: Nardos Tilahun (Grand Prize Winner 2012), centre, with Esther Graham (Teacher Champion) to her left, and Eshetu Waldemariam (Nardos's father) and Karl Hansen (Living Rainforest director) to her right.

Living Rainforest at Rio+20: Nardos Tilahun (Grand Prize Winner 2012), centre, with Esther Graham (Teacher Champion) to her left, and Eshetu Waldemariam (Nardos’s father) and Karl Hansen (Living Rainforest director) to her right.

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 8-11, 2014.

 

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…’.

Essay Competition

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

2013 prize winners at the Southern Hemisphere Schools Debate, Seychelles National Botanical Gardens, Victoria, Mahe (July 2013)

Participants at the 2013 Southern Hemisphere Schools Debate, Seychelles National Botanical Gardens, Victoria, Mahe (July 2013)

This year, 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.

Key Dates

Secondary school students at the International Schools Debate & Prize-giving, Living Rainforest, 27 June 2013

Secondary school students at the 2013 Northern Hemisphere International Schools Debate, Living Rainforest, UK, June 2013

15 October 2013 – 13 February 2014 - School/Teacher registration period

13 February 2014 – Closing date for essay submissions

2 April 2014 – Schools notified and invited to International Schools Debate – Primary School Winners (PDF, 250 kB) / Secondary School Winners (PDF, 290 kB) (Finalists & Honourable Mentions by Country)

8-11 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). See the Provisional Programme. (The Programme will be confirmed in mid-May). 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, supporting resources for schools will be made available on the competition website in advance of the submission deadline. Judging & scoring criteria.

Enquiries & Updates

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

Email queries should be directed to: schools[AT]livingrainforest.org

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