2015 Gulen Institute Youth Platform International Essay Competition (All Expense Paid Excursion to Washington DC)

Submission Deadline: December 15, 2014

January 23, 2015 : Results will be announced

“Are Citizens of the World Succeeding in Lessening Global Poverty?”

Gulen Institute Youth Platform is an international essay contest annually organized by the Gulen Institute at the University of Houston and is open for high school students in grades 9th through 12th enrolled in public or private schools all over the world.

The contest challenges young minds to identify the obstacles to stable peace and social harmony and to offer possible solutions from their own cultural perspectives. The Youth Platform also offers a unique opportunity for cross-cultural understanding, as contest winners are invited to share their essays and engage in respectful dialogue with their peers from around the world.

Poverty entails limitations upon populations in education, finance, human potential, substance and shelter, gender class differences, all limitations that tax food sources, curtailing the potential of the cultures’ youth, loss of capital in maintenance and little for developing sustainable of wealth.

In a well-written essay, not to exceed 2000 words, discuss one of the following concerns:

1. Discuss a novel innovative proposal to combat poverty. Elaborate how feasible is its implementation, how measurable its outcomes, and promise for replicability in any region.

2. Discuss some innovative practices that have been particularly effective in reducing or eliminating poverty in some regions. Do they show any promise as a model for implementation elsewhere? Are they promising on a global scale?

3. Some means to innovate projects for lessening poverty impinge upon cultural practices, rights of either men or women, and may be considered contrary to one’s dignity. Can these limitations be overlooked in the interests of the greater good? Why or why not?

4. Both governmental and private funding has resulted in lessening poverty. Select an example of either to discuss the better approach, keeping in mind accountability and adaptability to any global setting.

5. Consider an acknowledgedly successful innovation to lessen poverty in a particular region to explore to what extent it can be customized for another setting? For the entire international scene?

6. Identify an example of an effective innovation to decrease poverty that utilized social means within a culture, without intrusions from NGOs or the UN. Why or why isn’t this example promising for all regions?

Address ONLY ONE of the preceding questions in an essay of approximately 2000 words.

Essays must/must be

• written in English;

• original, unpublished, and written entirely by student;

• contain student’s original opinions and recommendations based on research;

• at least 1,500 words in length but no more than 2,000 (Citations and bibliography are not included in the word count);

• typed, double-spaced with margins: left: 1.5″, right: 1″, top: 1″, bottom: 1″, page-numbered;

• include a bibliography; and

• comply with standards regarding citations and bibliography.

Please identify your first language, as papers are ranked in three categories.


  • 1st place    2,000 USD + 3-day excursion
  • 2nd place    1,500 USD + 3-day excursion
  • 3rd place    1,000 USD + 3-day excursion
  • 4th – 15th place:    300 USD+ 3-day excursion
  • 16th – 30th place:    100 USD + 3-day excursion
  • All winners who ranked from 1st place to 30th place will be awarded a sponsored excursion to Washington, D.C.
  • In addition to participating in the award ceremony, students will have the opportunity to meet honorable U.S. Congress members, participate in discussions, visit local university and think-tank organizations, and enjoy tourist attractions in Washington, D.C.
  • Winning students’ airfare, accommodations, meals, and transportation will be sponsored

All winners will receive a Certificate of Award from the Gulen Institute at the University of Houston.


  • 1st place    600 USD
  • 2nd place    500 USD
  • 3rd place    400 USD
  • 4th-15th place    200 USD
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