2020 UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth The Future We Want, The UN We Need: Essay Competition

Deadline: June 29, 2020.

The United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, the Under-Secretary-General and Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Commemoration of the United Nations’ 75th Anniversary and Devex, are excited to announce the launch of an Essay Competition for the best essay by a young person on the topic ‘The Future We Want, The UN We Need’.

They are calling on young people between the ages of 15 and 29 to share their views and suggestions about the UN’s future role by answering the question: Within the context of the “new normal” that has unfolded post-COVID-19, and as we plan and re-build to recovery, what does the future of the UN look like to you? 


  • Participants must be between the ages of 15 and 29.
  • Participants must have written the essay by themselves. Only individual entries are admitted, no teams are allowed to take part in the competition. 
  • Essays must answer the question by making a case, analysing the situation, and building a case based on researched arguments and facts. 
  • Essays may be submitted in English only.
  • Entries must be no longer than 800 words.


  • The names of the 3 finalists will be published on the official page of the competition hosted on the OSGEY’s website and by Devex. 
  • The final winner’s essay will be published on the official page of the competition and promoted via the United Nations platforms and by Devex. 
  • The winner will be invited to take part in the UN 75 Commemoration events which will take place virtually. 


  • The best essay will be selected according to the following criteria: 
    • Quality of the arguments, good writing, although the selection panel  will take into consideration particularly entrants whose native language is not English.
    • The essays will not be reviewed and graded by how aligned the arguments presented are with the United Nations’ or the essay competition organizing partners’ views.
  • The selection process will occur as follows:
    • All essays will be assessed by a first panel  composed of UN staff members who will shortlist 10 essays.
    • The shortlisted 10 essays will be reviewed and graded  by a high-level selection panel composed of Ms. Jayathma Wickramanayake, the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Mr. Fabrizio Hochschild-Drummond, the Under–Secretary–General and Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Commemoration of the United Nations 75th Anniversary, and a representative from Devex.


  • All entries must be received by 11:59 pm (New York Time) on 29 June 2020, the closing date of the competition. Only entries submitted by this deadline will enter the competition. 
  • Entries must be submitted as plaintext in the body of an email addressed to youthenvoy@un.org, with the subject line: ‘The Future We Want, The UN We Need’ . Note: File attachments are not allowed and will not be opened. 
  • Entries must be no longer than 800 words. 
  • Entries cannot be returned so please remember to retain a copy. 
  • All entries must be the original work of the entrant and must not infringe the rights of any other party.
  • Entries must not contain defamatory, obscene, offensive, or any other unsuitable material.
  • Entries must be suitable to be published for audiences of all ages.



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