Dream Essay Contest! $2000, 1,500, $500 Prizes!

Deadline:  Jan. 31, 2010

Who can enter the contest?
Entrants must be 25 years old or younger as of the contest deadline: January 31, 2010. Entrants must reside in Arab League member states, Iran, Afghanistan, or the United States. There is no minimum age requirement, and entrants do not need to be students. Prizes are awarded as cash, not scholarships.
Foreign Students: If you are a foreigner currently studying in the US, you can enter the contest. If you are a Middle Easterner studying in the US, answer one of the questions posed to Middle Easterners. If you are a citizen of the Middle East temporarily living outside the region, you can still enter the contest. If you are an American currently living overseas, you can enter the contest. Equal Opportunity: All essays are evaluated without regard for race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation of the author, as well as other classifications protected by applicable international US laws.

How long should entries be?
Essays should be at least 600 words, but no longer than 1,500 words. Footnotes, citations, and essay title do not count towards the word limit.

Can an essay entry remain anonymous?
If do not want your name made public in the event your essay is selected as a winner, check the “anonymous” box when submitting your essay. Several past winners have chosen this option.

When will HAMSA announce the winners?
Winners will be notified (and announced on our web site) by June 2010. Judges evaluate each essay for clarity, creativity, and persuasiveness to determine prize winners.

What are common mistakes to avoid when writing an essay?
Do not focus on US government policy and regional geo-politics (the Iraq War debate, the Arab-Israeli-Iranian conflict, Iran’s nuclear program, etc.). Essays based on these topics are disqualified. Judges are looking for essays that explore what ordinary citizens can do on the grassroots level to strengthen individual rights within Middle Eastern societies. These civil rights include, but are not limited to, free expression, women’s equality, minority rights, religious freedom, economic liberty, and artistic freedom.

How can a brief essay cover the broad topic of civil rights in the Mideast?
There are several ways to address this challenge. Past prize winners have discussed the larger problem of civil rights abuses across the Middle East with a range of examples. Others have focused on one particular country (Middle Eastern participants are strongly encouraged to address their own society). Others have focused on a particular kind of civil rights abuse (e.g., press censorship). There is no one “right” answer to any of the essay questions.

Do essays have to be original and does HAMSA retain the right to reprint essays?
Yes. Any quotations or outside intellectual material should have citations. All essay submissions become the property of the contest sponsor. At the same time, entrants can republish their essay on their own (e.g., on a blog, for a class paper, etc.) and use ideas for other writing.

If you have a question, email us at essay@hamsaweb.com.

Prizes:
$10,000 in total prize money: One grand prize winner in the Middle East and one in the US will receive $2,000. One second place winner in the Middle East and one in the US will receive $1,500. Three runners up in the Middle East and three in the US will receive $500 each. 50 book prizes will be awarded to additional outstanding essays.

HAMSA’s annual contest comes from a 1951 Langston Hughes poem: What Happens to a Dream Deferred?. The poem helped propel the civil rights movement in the US. Today, it can inspire your dream deferred for the Middle East, which the UN calls the “world’s least free region.” The contest has two parts: one for Middle Eastern youth and one for American youth. Write a brief essay addressing one of the questions below. Winning essays – selected by a panel of celebrity judges – receive $10,000 in prizes.

Deadline for entries is January 31, 2010. Please answer one of the questions below – and make sure to read the rules & guidelines.

If you live in the Middle East… If you live in United States…
1. Discuss a civil rights abuse in your local community – how does this repression impact you or someone you know? Describe a personal experience with civil rights restrictions (censorship, discrimination, etc.). Consider what can be done to reform these abuses. Explain whether your children will still face the same restrictions when they are your age. 1. Profile a Middle East civil rights reformer – What about their work inspires you and how can you assist their struggle? Explain the challenge to individual rights this reformer addresses. Describe the nonviolent strategic approach the reformer uses to advance change. And suggest ways that you as an individual in America can help support their struggle.
2. We have $500 to offer you to organize an event or campaign – what do you propose to do? Submit a proposal for an event or campaign addressing the struggle to secure individual rights. Describe the event, its intended impact, how you will spend the funds, and your target audience. Explain why you should receive the funds and how they will be an investment in long-term change. 2. How can you support the “D.R.I.V.E.” campaign from the US? Read last year’s winning essay by S.B.Z. about a grassroots campaign in Saudi Arabia for the right of women to drive. Create a strategy plan for a solidarity campaign with clear goals and benchmarks. Explain how to leverage your freedom – and how you convince other Americans to join in.
3. What is your “dream deferred” – a vision of your society with civil rights for all? Share your dream of a successful civil rights movement. Explain what is needed for this campaign to overcome obstacles. If you like, write a mock newspaper article from the year 2012 reporting on a ground-breaking event or campaign. Describe successful collaboration between Mideast and American activists. 3. What can the future look like if Americans – like you – partner with Middle Eastern reformers? Share your vision of a successful collaboration between Mideast and American activists. Describe how an effective joint campaign overcomes key obstacles. If you like, answer the question by writing a mock newspaper article from the year 2012 reporting on this new alliance.

 

HAMSA’s annual contest comes from a 1951 Langston Hughes poem: What Happens to a Dream Deferred?. The poem helped propel the civil rights movement in the US. Today, it can inspire your dream deferred for the Middle East, which the UN calls the “world’s least free region.” The contest has two parts: one for Middle Eastern youth and one for American youth. Write a brief essay addressing one of the questions below. Winning essays – selected by a panel of celebrity judges – receive $10,000 in prizes.

Deadline for entries is January 31, 2010. Please answer one of the questions below – and make sure to read the rules & guidelines.

If you live in the Middle East… If you live in United States…
1. Discuss a civil rights abuse in your local community – how does this repression impact you or someone you know? Describe a personal experience with civil rights restrictions (censorship, discrimination, etc.). Consider what can be done to reform these abuses. Explain whether your children will still face the same restrictions when they are your age. 1. Profile a Middle East civil rights reformer – What about their work inspires you and how can you assist their struggle? Explain the challenge to individual rights this reformer addresses. Describe the nonviolent strategic approach the reformer uses to advance change. And suggest ways that you as an individual in America can help support their struggle.
2. We have $500 to offer you to organize an event or campaign – what do you propose to do? Submit a proposal for an event or campaign addressing the struggle to secure individual rights. Describe the event, its intended impact, how you will spend the funds, and your target audience. Explain why you should receive the funds and how they will be an investment in long-term change. 2. How can you support the “D.R.I.V.E.” campaign from the US? Read last year’s winning essay by S.B.Z. about a grassroots campaign in Saudi Arabia for the right of women to drive. Create a strategy plan for a solidarity campaign with clear goals and benchmarks. Explain how to leverage your freedom – and how you convince other Americans to join in.
3. What is your “dream deferred” – a vision of your society with civil rights for all? Share your dream of a successful civil rights movement. Explain what is needed for this campaign to overcome obstacles. If you like, write a mock newspaper article from the year 2012 reporting on a ground-breaking event or campaign. Describe successful collaboration between Mideast and American activists. 3. What can the future look like if Americans – like you – partner with Middle Eastern reformers? Share your vision of a successful collaboration between Mideast and American activists. Describe how an effective joint campaign overcomes key obstacles. If you like, answer the question by writing a mock newspaper article from the year 2012 reporting on this new alliance.

Visit:

http://www.hamsaweb.com/essay/essay.php

For the submission entry form and other information.

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4 Responses to “Dream Essay Contest! $2000, 1,500, $500 Prizes!”

  1. voyance par email Says:

    Merci pour cet article passionnant. Je peux vous demander quel thème vous utilisez ? Il rend vraiment bien…

    • lizbooks Says:

      I had to have a friend translate your statement for me. If you mean the theme of my blog, I try to find writing contests, workshops, prompts, and technique for students.

  2. Elaine Gramham Says:

    Education is definately a vital field, because almost everything in civilization relies on education and learning. I saw that on a website someplace — a non-profit organization in the Philippines. Teachers gives their very best at their craft (the majority of them, anyway). But there are a few who seem to have a gift to inspire. My high school world history teacher was one of those. She had lived in China as a child. When she taught in Rockville, Maryland, you could possibly feel the wisdom of all her experience. She didn’t have us memorize dates. Which had been the first really good thing I had been told by a history teacher. What she said next took the subject several magnitudes higher in value. She wanted us to understand the motivations of history — the deeply visceral, human tasks of what can somewhat be a deadly dry subject. Jaime Escalante of “Stand and Deliver” fame, dared to dream big. Calculus for the typically dropout crowd? Pushing them to go on to college? Wow. And I’ve this book called, “Calculus Made Easy,” by Sylvanus P. Thompson, first published in 1910. It’s been through many printings all in making an uncomplicated subject simple. What are we able to do to create more teachers who inspire world-changing brilliance? Einstein once declared that imagination is much more important than knowledge. Knowledge can present you with the building blocks. Imagination will take you to the stars. Don’t our children deserve better?

    • lizbooks Says:

      It’s a gift when we have teachers that stand out in your memory like that. Teaching is a very difficult career. Thank goodness for all of the ones who go into this field to inspire, education and still manage to let children create on their own terms within all of these federal regulations that bind them. Three cheers for teachers! Thank you for commenting!

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