The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition

Deadline: 1 June 2018

Open to all Commonwealth citizens aged under 18, the Commonwealth essay competition offers young people from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to make their voices heard on a global platform, to engage with issues important to them and to express their aspirations for the future. Each year, participants demonstrate their ability to stimulate and provoke discussions about important Commonwealth and global issues from a young person’s perspective and to showcase their critical and creative skills.
Run by The Royal Commonwealth Society – RCS since 1883, this international schools’ writing contest – the world’s oldest and largest – is a highly regarded and popular international education project which is run in partnership with Cambridge University Press.

The theme for Queen’s Commonwealth essay competition is ‘ Towards a Common Future’. Building upon the 2017 theme of ‘A Commonwealth for Peace’, this year’s theme ‘Towards a Common Future’ and its topics ask young writers to explore how the Commonwealth can address global challenges and work to create a better future for all citizens through sub-themes of sustainability, safety, prosperity and fairness, in line with the theme of the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London.


Topics by Category
Senior Category for those born between 2nd June 1999 and 31st May 2004 (14-18 years of age):
1. The road to a safer future.
2. How does education contribute to a fairer future?
3. ‘Healthy, Wealthy, Happy, and Free’: is one more important than the others?
4. Future generations have rights too, which must be defended. Discuss.

Junior Category for those born after 31st May 2004 (under 14 years of age)
1. What does a ‘safer future’ mean to you and your community?
2. Write a recipe for a common future: what ingredients will you need? What is the best method for making it? What will it look like?
3. ‘A Day in the Life’. Imagine you are your country’s Head of Government for the day: how will you build a better future for young people?
4. Our Common Earth.


Competition rules
Entries will be disqualified if they fail to meet any of the following requirements:
1. The competition is open to nationals or residents of all Commonwealth countries and territories.
2. Entrants must select a Senior or Junior topic depending on their age on 1st May 2017. Senior entrants must be born between 2nd June 1999 and 1st June 2004 (14-18) and Junior entrants must be born after 31st May 2004 (under 14 years of age).
3. The maximum word counts are 1,500 words for Senior entries and 750 words for Junior entries.
4. Entries must be written in English.
5. Only one essay per entrant is allowed. Once an essay is submitted, students/teachers will not have the opportunity to revise it.
6. Plagiarism: Every year a number of students are disqualified because they are suspected of plagiarism.
7. The final copy submitted for the competition must be the entrant’s own work, and cannot be excessively corrected or improved by another person.
8. By entering the competition, you agree that your name, email, school and essay may be sent to your local RCS branch.
9. Essays can only be uploaded as a Microsoft Word document (.doc) or in PDF format (.pdf) .
10. All online entries must be submitted before midnight (GMT) on 1st June 2018;
any offline entries must arrive at RCS London by 1st May 2018
11. All entrants retain the copyright rights that they have for the pieces they submit, but by entering The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition, each contestant consents to the use of his/her name, and/or pieces or parts thereof in any advertisements, educational materials, corpus research or media and publicity carried out or produced by the Royal Commonwealth Society and its local branches without further notice or compensation. The Royal Commonwealth Society can publish or decline to publish; use or decline to use, any submitted pieces at the Royal Commonwealth Society’s sole discretion.
12. The RCS suggests that entrants retain a copy of their original work as submitted copies will not be returned.
13. Please note: Winners and Runners-up of the pan-Commonwealth competition will have their full names, schools, essays and photographs displayed on the RCS website and social media channels.
Value of Award
Prizes have traditionally been awarded only to the first prize winners in the Senior and Junior categories and also vary year by year. All entrants receive a Certificate of Participation and one Winner and Runner-up from the Senior and Junior categories will win a trip to London for a week-long series of educational and cultural events.


For more information, please visit;


On-going Opportunities

The Standard Bank Africa Derek Cooper Scholarship. Deadline: Varies by Institution. Link;

The Mandela Rhodes Foundation Masters Scholarships. Deadline: 15 April 2018. Link;

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at KNUST for undergraduate studies. Deadline: 11 May 2018. Link;

The MasterCard Foundation Scholars Program at Ashesi University. Deadline: 28 June 2018. Link;


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