International Studies & Programs

Home > Programs & Projects > Global Voices > Essay Contest > 2023 Global Voices Essay Contest - Central and Eastern Europe

2023 Global Voices Essay Contest - Central and Eastern Europe

Announcement of winners and honorable mentions of 5th annual Essay Contest

GYAN and MSU’s Center for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies (CERES) are happy to announce that the Global Voices 2023 Essay Contest has received nearly 100 essays from youth across 12 countries: Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Kosovo, Lithuania, North Macedonia, Romania, Russia, and Ukraine. 

Contestants submitted their inspirational stories of "RESILIENCE: the ability to withstand pressure or adversity and overcome difficulties" with a focus on one of the following sub-themes: War & Conflict, Forging New Pathways, Agents of Change, Resilient Learning, or a topic of their choosing.

A panel of nine judges (from GYAN, CERES, the Asia Hub, the Alliance for African Partnership, the Canadian Studies Center, the Broad College of Business, and the College of Arts & Letters) determined the top three essays, and their authors were awarded the following prizes:

  • 1st Place: 500 USD
  • 2nd Place: 200 USD
  • 3rd Place: 100 USD

Additionally, nine essays were selected as honorable mentions to be featured on GYAN's website alongside the winners. The total of 12 essays listed below are a mere sample of all of the powerful stories and perspectives on resilience that we had the opportunity to witness through this essay contest.

Congratulations to the winners and honorable mention recipients! We also wish to extend sincere thanks to each and every person who participated in this contest or helped share the opportunity within their networks, and a special thanks to our judges as well.

Meet the Authors!

GYAN will coordinate an opportunity to get to know the authors listed below virtually this fall. More information will be forthcoming, so please stay tuned for updates on this page, our social media channels, and our e-newsletter.

Contest Winners

1st Place

Andrii Yurchenko's headshot

Andrii Yurchenko
from Ukraine

Light Prevails Over Darkness

War & Conflict

2nd Place

Anna Didyk's headshot

Anna Didyk
from Ukraine

Resilient Citizens Resilient Country

War & Conflict

3rd Place

Nagy Zsófia's headshot

Nagy Zsófia
from Hungary

Learning, Living, and Thriving

Resilient Learning

Honorable Mentions

In addition to our three winners, the following contestants (ordered by alphabetical order) have received an honorable mention:

Anamaria's headshot

from Albania

The Virtue of Resilience


Andriі Kutsenko Oleksiyovich's headshot

Andrii Kutsenko Oleksiyovich
from Ukraine

War in the Human World

War & Conflict

Albania's flag

from Albania

Strength That Exists Within You

Forging New Pathways

Laura Skenderas's headshot

Laura Skenderas
from Albania

How Many Pennies for a Smile?

Resilient Learning

Maksym Kostiuk and Iskra Kondi's headshot

Maksym Kostiuk from Ukraine & Iskra Kondi from Albania

Small Struggles in the Worst of Times: War seen from the Eyes of a Side Character.

War & Conflict

Croatia's flag

Paula Perić
from Croatia

No Right Path: Stay Resilient and Welcome Life

Forging New Pathways

Sara Hila's headshot

Sara Hila
from Albania

The Golden Map of a Warrior

Resilient Learning

Stepan Svestka's headshot

Stepan Svestka
from Czech Republic

Resilience through Challenges: My Journey as an Exchange Student in the U.S.

Forging New Pathways

Tania Tarasova's headshot

Tania Tarasova
from Estonia

Social Anxiety Disorder and Resilience

Social Anxiety