United Nations MANY LANGUAGES ONE WORLD Essay Contest- Sponsored Trip to New York for 60 Winners


MANY LANGUAGES ONE WORLD United Nations Academic Impact Student Essay Contest

June 25-29, 2014
Winners participate in a 5 day International Youth Forum in New York and present at United Nations Headquarters on June 27th

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 United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI), in collaboration with ELS Educational Services, Inc., (ELS) invites students, 18 years and older, who are enrolled in a course of study at a college or university, to participate in an essay contest on the theme “Many Languages, One World.

The essay should relate to ideas of global citizenship and understanding and to the role that linguistic abilities and felicity can play in fostering these. Entries, of up to 2000 words in length should be in an official language of the United Nations that is not the mother tongue of the entrant or the principal medium of instruction in his or her education. The official languages of the United Nations are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.


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.

Application Procedure:

  • Entries should be uploaded to the website ManyLanguagesOneWorld.ELS.edu by 21 February 2014.
  • An institutional representative will have to attest that the entrant is a student of the institution, in good standing, and that the essay is written in a language that is not the institution’s primary language of instruction and is the original, unaided work of the entrant.


  • A panel of judges will decide upon a total of sixty student winners of the competition—ten in each of the six languages.


  • The winners will be invited to New York in 2014 to participate in a series of events between June 25 and June 29, 2014.
  • These events will include a youth forum on the 10 principles of the United Nations Academic Impact, multilingualism and global citizenship at United Nations Headquarters, preceded by a preparatory students’ conference at Adelphi University on Long Island, New York. Programmes of touristic sightseeing and recreation will also be arranged by ELS Educational Services.
  • ELS will pay for roundtrip economy class fares in carriers of its choosing between the entrants’ home city and New York, and be responsible for the entrants’ travel, room and meals from their arrival on June 25th until their departure on June 29th, 2014.
  • Entrants are responsible for all documentation relating to their journey, including passports and visas and the costs related to these, as well as appropriate medical insurance for their journey and stay in the United States.
  • All winners will be given certificates of participation by ELS, signifying they have won the Student Essay Contest arranged in cooperation with the United Nations Academic Impact.

For More Information:

United Nations Academic Impact at e-mail:  academicimpact@un.org; and/or Louisa Soto at e-mail:  Lsoto@els.edu.

Visit the Official Webpage of the United Nations Academic Impact Student Essay Contest


  1. The essay is used as a form of assessment in many academic disciplines, and is used in both assignments and exams. It is the most common focal point for study consultations among students using Learning Development


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