UN Essay Writing Contest for university students on role of multilingualism

Head of UN DPI, Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal (right), and President of ELS, Mark Harris, sign the agreement to host a multilingual essay contest. UN PhotoThe United Nations is asking college and university students to write an essay in one of its six official languages on the role of multilingualism in a globalized world. The contest, ‘Many Languages, One World,’ supports international education and multilingualism through the continued study of Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

It was launched today at UN Headquarters in New York with a signing ceremony between the UN Department of Public Information and the ELS Educational Services.

“Our collaboration focuses on two of the priorities of the Secretary-General, one being youth and the other multiculturalism, and this is a wonderful way of bringing those two together,” said Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information following today’s signing ceremony launching the contest.

The senior UN official signed on behalf of the UN Academic Impact (UNAI), which is co-organizing the event as part of its commitment to multilingual education, with ELS.

“Through this event, we hope to focus a light on the role of the UN,” said Mark Harris, CEO and President of ELS.

“The role of the UN is the role of every global citizen, which is to make peace and to look at ways to enhance the qualities of life, health and spiritual fulfilment of peoples around the world through common understanding and through language,” Mr. Harris added.

To qualify, the student’s native language has to be different from the one in which he or she writes, and different from the principal one at the school.

A panel of international judges, to be invited by the UNAI and ELS Educational Services, will select ten top winners in each language category who will be invited to New York by ELS to participate in a series of events in June 2014.

These events will include a youth forum on global citizenship and the nine other principles of UNAI at UN Headquarters on 27 June 2014, ahead of the 70th anniversary of the UN Charter. The forum will be preceded by a preparatory students’ conference at Adelphi University on Long Island, New York.

“I think it’s an excellent project,” said Lyutha Sultan Al-Mughairy, the Chairperson of the Committee on Information, a subsidiary body of the UN General Assembly. The Ambassador, who represents Oman, noted that the contest is “good encouragement” for multilingual study.

Also participating in today’s event, Fillippe Savadogo, Ambassador of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie (OIF), who said the project was creating “dynamism” and was “consolidating the spirit of the world.”

Mr. Savadogo, who spoke in French, was one of the six speakers to make remarks in one of the official languages of the UN.

Official Press Release
The United Nations Academic Impact and ELS Educational Services are organizing an international essay-writing contest for college and university students on the role of multilingualism in a globalized world.  A requirement for all participants is that their essay be in an official United Nations language which is not their mother tongue or medium of educational instruction.

Under the overall theme of “Many languages — One world”, students are being asked to write an essay in which they are to discuss and debate the value of multilingualism in the broader context of global citizenship — one of the core principles of the United Nations Academic Impact.

Eligibility
The contest is open to students 18 years and older enrolled in a college or university anywhere in the world.  Each submission must be accompanied by a certification from a competent institutional authority attesting that the conditions of the contest have been met and that the entry is the original, unaided work of the participant.  Only one submission per student will be accepted.

Requirements

  • The essays will have to be written in one of the six official languages of the United Nations (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish), but can not be the student’s mother tongue and/or principal medium of instruction.
  • Essays must be under 2000 words, excluding citations and bibliography, if any.
  • Essays must present, in a clear and concise form, arguments for — or against — the importance of multilingualism.  In today’s globalized world, there is growing emphasis on learning multiple languages.  The United Nations, as the world’s premier universal organization, promotes the use of six official languages, and issues all official documents simultaneously in these.  Students should examine why the emphasis on linguistic diversity contributes — or does not — to creating a more harmonious world.
  • Students are encouraged to research the topic using web and non-web materials.  When quoting directly, original sources must be cited.

Essay Submission

  • The deadline for submitting entries is 21 February 2014.  Only online submissions made on or before the deadline will be considered eligible.  The address for the online submission is http://www.els.edu/ManyLanguagesOneWorld.
  • All students must complete and submit a registration form online which includes student and educational institution information.  For a link to the registration form, please click here: http://www.els.edu/ManyLanguagesOneWorld.
  • Each student must have an institutional representative attest that the essay is original and written in a language which is not the participant’s mother tongue or medium of educational instruction.  The student registration form includes a section on how to do this.

Recognition and Prizes
A panel of international judges, to be invited by the United Nations Academic Impact and ELS Educational Services, will select ten winners from each language category, who will be invited to New York by ELS to participate in a series of events between 25 and 29 June 2014.  These events will include a youth forum on the principles of the United Nations Academic Impact, including global citizenship, at United Nations Headquarters on 27 June, which marks the start of the seventieth anniversary year of the United Nations Charter.  The forum will be preceded by a preparatory students’ conference at Adelphi University on Long Island, New York.

Contact
For additional information, please contact the United Nations Academic Impact at e-mail:  academicimpact@un.org; and/or Louisa Soto at e-mail:  Lsoto@els.edu.

The United Nations Academic Impact is an initiative of the United Nations Department of Public Information (http://outreach.un.org/unai), which aligns schools of higher learning and research with the United Nations and with each other to support United Nations goals and objectives.

ELS (http://www.els.edu) is the largest global provider of student recruitment and ESL training, with over fifty university campus locations, as well as pathways in the United States, Australia, Canada and Europe.

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