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Essay Contest

The Global Voices Essay Contest offers a platform for young people around the world to advocate for their communities, share their opinions and stories about local and national challenges.

The voices of young people have always been and always will be critical to the evolution of a just society. To provide a platform for their voices, Michigan State University's Global Youth Advancement Network (GYAN) hosts an annual regional essay competition for 15 – 24 year olds. Choosing from several themes, the participants submit a 600-900 word essay about how they are addressing a challenge their communities face. A panel of MSU faculty and staff review the essays and GYAN awards prizes to the top three entries. GYAN also publishes their essays, along with the honorable mention essays within each theme, to publicize these young leaders’ voices to the world.

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2024 - Middle East and North Africa

GYAN and MSU’s Muslim Studies Center and African Studies Center are happy to launch the Global Voices Essay Contest for young people in the Middle East and North Africa.  Authors will respond to a theme of "Authoring Our Own Stories" in the 2024 contest. 

2023 - Central and Eastern Europe

GYAN and MSU’s Center for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies (CERES) are happy to announce the winners and honorable mentions of the Global Voices 2023 Essay Contest, and we invite you to read youth inspirational stories of RESILIENCE.

Stock photo - website.jpg2021 - Southeast Asia

In partnership with MSU's Asian Studies Center, GYAN announces the winners for the 2021 Global Voices essay contest. Contestants submitted essays about their specific interventions to confront inequity in their local communities. 

side-by-side_picchu.jpg2020 - Latin America 

GYAN was pleased to partner with the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) to bring the 2020 essay contest to a new region! The contest was open to youth in South and Central America and the Caribbean between the ages of 15-24. 

sponsors_newsletter2.png2018 - Africa

The 2018 contest shifted to focus on solutions. Contestants were asked to write about their specific interventions that are currently working to confront an inequity of their choosing. Essay authors wrote of their social businesses, organizations, media platforms, and more that are impacting and transforming the lives of those in their communities.

sponsors_newsletter2.png2017 - Africa

MSU's Alliance for African Partnership (AAP) and GYAN co-hosted the inaugural essay contest titled "Working Together to Create the Africa We Want". The essay contest signals a new era of engagement in Africa, where the voice of young people are the driving force behind the partnerships, strategies, and vision that move the continent forward!