Universal Postal Union (UPU) International Letter-Writing Competition 2017 for Young People (Fully Funded to UPU HQ in Berne, Switzerland)

Application Deadline: 5 May 2017.

The UPU’s International Letter-Writing Competition aims to improve literacy through the art of letter-writing. Targeted at children and young people, the annual competition encourages participants to express their creativity and refine their language skills.

The theme selected for the 2017 competition is:

“Imagine you are an advisor to the new UN Secretary-General which world issue would you help him tackle first and how would you advise him to solve it?”

The topic was chosen to celebrate the election of the new UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, who will take office in 2017. As head of the intergovernmental organization, the UN Secretary-General plays a pivotal role as a spokesperson advocating for the world’s most vulnerable people, including children. He will also have a central role in overseeing work on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which strive to make the world a better place by the time today’s children reach adulthood.

Adults often remark on the innocent minds of children and past letter-writing competitions have shown us that they are aware, curious and critical of the world around them. This year’s edition of the ILWC encourages young people to speak their minds, using their imagination and views on the world to envision a positive change they could help the Secretary-General achieve as he begins his new job.


  • The competition is open to participants up to the age of 15 years.
  • The UPU International Bureau does not accept compositions sent directly by schools, individuals or similar.

Organization of the competition and selection of the winners

  • The UPU announces the theme for the new competition.
  • Each member country then organizes a letter-writing competition on the theme in its territory as it sees fit but preferably with the help of its national education authorities.
  • The national organizing body/bodies choose the best composition in accordance with the general rules of the competition.
  • Each member country then sends the International Bureau its best national composition, with the supporting documents (see below), by no later than 5 May of the following year.
  • 1 Only one entry per member country is permitted.
  • Each entry must be accompanied by the following documents

a A completed entry form;
b The original letter in the following formats:
– a good-quality scan, in colour, of the handwritten original (if available) in PDF format; and
– as a Word document;
c A translation of the composition in English and/or French, as a Word document; and
d A good-quality photograph of the candidate:
– in JPEG format (300 dpi minimum); or
– as a print copy (please do not staple or glue the photo to any of the documents if sending by post).
4 Presentation and content of entries
Compositions must be in the form of a letter and contain the basic elements thereof, such as date, opening and closing salutation, and signature. The original composition may include illustrations from the candidate. Entries must adhere strictly to the theme and not exceed the limit of 1,000 words in the original language.

To ensure the jury is able to judge the letters impartially, please ensure that there is no reference to your country in your national winner’s composition.
5 Jury designation and results
The UPU International Bureau will designate an international jury to judge the letters it receives. This jury will not be informed of the country of origin of the letter-writers.
The following criteria will be used to judge the quality of the letters:
– structure as a letter;
– adherence to the theme;
– creativity; and
– use of language.
The judges will select the three best entries (i.e. first, second and third places) and may also award special mentions to other compositions. As soon as the UPU International Bureau receives the results from the jury, it will notify the member countries within a reasonable amount of time.


  • The top winners will receive a special medal (gold for first prize, silver for second, and bronze for third) and a certificate, as well as other prizes to commemorate their win (such other prizes to be decided by the UPU).
  • The gold medallist may also be offered a trip to the UPU headquarters in Berne, Switzerland, or an alter-native prize to be decided at the sole discretion of the UPU.
  • Writers awarded a special mention will also receive a certificate as well as other prizes (such other prizes to be decided by the UPU).

For More Information:

Visit the Official Webpage of the UPU’s International Letter-Writing Competition



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