Submit Your Entry Now for the 2016 Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition

 Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition

Application Deadline: 1st May 2016

Offered annually? Yes

Eligible Countries: all Commonwealth countries and territories.

Brief description: The Queen’s Commonwealth essay competition 2016 is an international essay competition open for entries for young commonwealth citizens under age 18 with diverse backgrounds, to make their voice heard on a global platform.

Theme: The theme for 2016 is ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’, which is also the 2016 Commonwealth Year theme, and a topical theme for today’s youth. Both Senior and Junior topics give young people the opportunity to think about aspects of the theme such as: the significance of community; the importance of diversity and difference; the question of belonging; the values of tolerance, respect and understanding; and the sense of shared responsibility that exists within the Commonwealth today. The topics are a chance to develop critical thinking and to express views in a creative manner.

About The Essay

Open to all Commonwealth citizens aged under 18, the 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.

Offered Since: 1883


Entries will be disqualified if they fail to meet any of the following requirements:

  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 2016. Senior entrants must be born between 2nd May 1997 and 1st May 2002 (14-18) and Junior entrants must be born after 1st May 2002 (under 14 years of age).
  3. The maximum word counts are 1500 words for Seniorentries and 750 words for Junior 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 you 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. If using existing writing material, do cite appropriately.
  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.
  8. A new element of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition this year is the addition of a small number of Royal Commonwealth Society (RCS) local branch competitions. This means that your name, email, school and essay may be sent to your local RCS branch.
  9. Essays can only be uploaded in either word document or .pdf format.

Prize & Awards for Winners: Prizes have traditionally been awarded only to the first prize winners in the Senior and Junior categories and also vary year by year. This means we are not able to confirm what the prizes will be until after the winners are announced in September 2016. Past prizes have included certificates, resources for winner’s school, visits to Cambridge University, a trip to London and a week of activities, work experience at international organisations, and having your entry featured in worldwide media.

Deadline: All entries must be submitted before midnight (GMT) on 1st May 2016.

How to Enter

Entries should be submitted online for the 2016 competition. However, offline submissions will be accepted where secure internet connection is an issue.

Submit your entry online.

Submitting your entry by post

If you are submitting your entry by post, please complete an entry form in block capitals and attach it to the front of your essay. Entries should be sent to your nearest postal hub:


The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition
Attn. Julius Nyerere Link
British High Commission
PO Box 296

All individuals and schools are encouraged to enter online if possible.

Visit competition Webpage for details

Provider: The Royal Commonwealth Society

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