Essay Writing Contest for University Students on Role of Multilingualism

14 October 2013

Essay Writing Contest for University Students on Role of Multilingualism

14 October 2013
Press Release
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Essay Writing Contest for University Students on Role of Multilingualism

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.


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.


·   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

·   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:

·   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.


For additional information, please contact the United Nations Academic Impact at e-mail:; and/or Louisa Soto at e-mail:

The United Nations Academic Impact is an initiative of the United Nations Department of Public Information (, which aligns schools of higher learning and research with the United Nations and with each other to support United Nations goals and objectives.

ELS ( 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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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.