The Queen’s Commonwealth essay competition 2018 is an international essay competition open for entries for young commonwealth citizens under or aged 18 with diverse backgrounds, to make their voices heard on a global platform.
Open to all Commonwealth citizens aged under 18, the Commonwealth essay competition offers young people from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to make their voices heard on a global platform, to engage with issues important to them and to express their aspirations for the future. Each year, participants demonstrate their ability to stimulate and provoke discussions about important Commonwealth and global issues from a young person’s perspective and to showcase their critical and creative skills.
Run by The Royal Commonwealth Society – RCS since 1883, this international schools’ writing contest – the world’s oldest and largest – is a highly regarded and popular international education project which we run in partnership with Cambridge University Press.
Theme: The theme for 2017 Queen’s Commonwealth essay competition is ‘ Towards a Common Future’. Building upon the 2017 theme of ‘A Commonwealth for Peace’, this year’s theme ‘Towards a Common Future’ and its topics ask young writers to explore how the Commonwealth can address global challenges and work to create a better future for all citizens through sub-themes of sustainability, safety, prosperity and fairness, in line with the theme of the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London.
Senior Category: Born between 2nd June 1999 and 31st May 2004 (14-18 years of age)
1. The road to a safer future.
2. How does education contribute to a fairer future?
3. ‘Healthy, Wealthy, Happy, and Free’: is one more important than the others?
4. Future generations have rights too, which must be defended. Discuss.
Junior Category: Born after 31st May 2004 (under 14 years of age)
1. What does a ‘safer future’ mean to you and your community?
2. Write a recipe for a common future: what ingredients will you need? What is the best method for making it? What will it look like?
3. ‘A Day in the Life’. Imagine you are your country’s Head of Government for the day: how will you build a better future for young people?
4. Our Common Earth.
Judges described entries to the competition in 2017 as ‘emotive’ ‘hauntingly assuring’ ’striking’ and as having ‘powerful narratives’, that ‘this letter should be read by everyone’. We expect a similiarly high calibre of writing for 2018.
The topics are a chance to develop critical thinking and to express views in a creative manner.
Prizes have traditionally been awarded only to the first prize winners in the Senior and Junior categories and also vary year by year. All entrants receive a Certificate of Participation and one Winner and Runner-up from the Senior and Junior categories will win a trip to London for a week-long series of educational and cultural events.
1. The competition is open to nationals or residents of all Commonwealth countries and territories . Note: Special dispensation applies to entrants from Hong Kong, Ireland, The Gambia and Zimbabwe, who are entitled to enter the competition.
2. Entrants must select a Senior or Junior topic depending on their age on 1st May 2017. Senior entrants must be born between 2nd June 1999 and 1st June 2004 (14-18) and Junior entrants must be born after 31st May 2004 (under 14 years of age).
3. The maximum word counts are 1,500 words for Senior entries and 750 words for Junior entries. These word limits apply to all topics and all formats (essay, poem, letter, etc). Exceeding the word count will result in automatic disqualification.
4. Entries must be written in English.
5. Only one essay per entrant is allowed. Once an essay is submitted, students/teachers will not have the opportunity to revise it. Please carefully check and improve your writing before submitting the final copy, and also ensure that all supplementary information is filled in correctly (name, contact details, topic number, etc.)
6. Plagiarism: Every year a number of students are disqualified because they are suspected of plagiarism. Please see our guide to plagiarism before submitting (in production).
7. The final copy submitted for the competition must be the entrant’s own work, and cannot be excessively corrected or improved by another person. This does not rule out input or assistance from others. However, an entry will be disregarded if there is any suggestion of excessive external help.
9. Essays can only be uploaded as a Microsoft Word document (.doc) or in PDF format (.pdf) . The online platform does not accept Google Docs (.gdoc), Pages documents (.pages) or other word processor formats. Note: if we are unable to find or open your essay file (either through an incorrect format or upload error), your entry may not be counted in the competition.
10. All online entries must be submitted before midnight (GMT) on 1st June 2018; any offline entries must arrive at RCS London by 1 May 2018
11. All entrants retain the copyright rights that they have for the pieces they submit, but by entering The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition, each contestant consents to the use of his/her name, and/or pieces or parts thereof in any advertisements, educational materials, corpus research or media and publicity carried out or produced by the Royal Commonwealth Society and its local branches without further notice or compensation. The Royal Commonwealth Society can publish or decline to publish; use or decline to use, any submitted pieces at the Royal Commonwealth Society’s sole discretion.
12. The RCS suggests that entrants retain a copy of their original work as regretfully we are unable to return or provide copies of submissions.
13. Please note: Winners and Runners-up of the pan-Commonwealth competition will have their full names, schools, essays and photographs displayed on the RCS website and social media channels.
Guides for Applicants
Please visit the ‘Terms and Conditions’ page and
Competition Webpage before submitting your entry.
Submit your entry here
The Royal Commonwealth Society
Offline Entries: 1st May 2018
Online Entries: 1st June 2018
Visit Competition Webpage for details