ICU Global Youth Essay Competition 2021: Accepting applications until Nov. 30!

Update: August 13, 2021

International Christian University (ICU) and Japan ICU Foundation invite youth from around the world to share their views on how to make society better. Each year, essay topics are selected in the areas of human rights and current events. For 2021, the application will be open from August 15 to November 30. Apply now to win great prizes, including the top prize of two round-trip tickets to Japan!




Top Prize ( 1 winner ): Two round-trip airline tickets to Tokyo in the summer of 2022 for the winner and a guarantor. A visit to ICU will be incorporated into the trip. In lieu of the airline tickets, the top prize winner has the option of receiving 100,000 yen.

Second Prize ( 1 winner ): 50,000 yen gift card.

Third Prize ( 10 winner ): 5,000 yen gift card.

Application Open Date: Sunday, August 15, 2021, 0:00 JST
Application Close Date: Tuesday, November 30, 2021, 23:59 JST
Announcement of Winners: March 14, 2022. Results will be announced on the ICU website and by email.
Participation fee: Free

In what language should I write?
Essays must be written in English.

What can I write about?
Essays must focus on one of this year's topics. Select one of the following questions from the areas of human rights and current events.

1) From its founding after World War II, ICU has been committed to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Every matriculating student signs a pledge to uphold the Declaration. One of the human rights that is emphasized in the Declaration is the right to quality education. Does everyone in your country have equal access to education? If not, who is left out? How can you make sure that everyone receives quality education?

2) ICU is strongly committed to gender equality. Through the Gender and Sexuality Studies Major and the activities of the Center for Gender Studies, students have an opportunity to learn about and get involved in promoting gender equality. Why is gender equality important? What can be done to promote gender equality in your country?

3) The COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating consequences for millions of people. It has also disrupted everyday life in countries across the globe. Based on the experience of COVID-19, what changes would you make to create a better society?

Is there a word limit?
Essays must be no more than 650 words. Essays must have a title. The title does not count towards the word limit.

Who can apply?
Applicants must be aged 14-18 as of November 30, 2021 and must currently reside outside of Japan. Current university/college students are ineligible to apply.

How can I apply?
Click the following link to view the application form and instructions
All essays must be submitted online.

How are essays evaluated?
A group of judges from ICU and the Japan ICU Foundation will evaluate all essays using the the following factors:

  • Thesis
  • Supporting arguments
  • Creativity/Originality
  • Execution of writing (Audience/Coherence/Clarity/Grammar/Style)

All essays will be checked for plagiarism.

An essay will be disqualified if:

  • It does not address the topic.
  • It does not include a title.
  • An applicant covers more than one topic.
  • It is not the applicant's original work.


Please Note
The winners' full name, essay, title, and location will be shared on the Global Youth Essay Competition website. Other information may be displayed upon receiving consent from winners and their guarantors.


About the Organizers

International Christian University is a leading private university characterized by its bilingual (Japanese/English) liberal arts education in Tokyo, Japan. From its establishment in 1953, ICU has aimed to educate students in an international setting to be stewards of a just and peaceful world. Visit Website.
ICU Website

The Japan ICU Foundation is an independent educational foundation based in New York City. Its mission is to work with International Christian University to nurture global citizens who contribute to the well-being of humanity. Visit Website.
JICU Website


ICU Public Relations Office
TEL: +81-422-33-3058


How do I submit my essay?

An essay should be submitted online from this link: or from the "Apply Here" button on this website.
After you sign up for Submittable, the application page will appear. In a designated text box, you can type in your essay directly, or write in another document and paste it.

I am 18 years old now. Am I eligible to apply?

If you are 18 years old on November 30, 2021, the deadline of application, you are eligible to apply. Please also note that if you will be attending college/university/higher education by November 30, you are not eligible to apply.

Should I cite my sources?

Although this essay competition is not aimed to look at your research skills, you must cite the source of any quotations, ideas, thoughts, or words in your essay that are not your own. This can be done by including in-text citations (which count toward the 650-word limit). Additionally, you may include full citations (which DO NOT count toward the word limit) in the Bibliography text box. MLA and APA styles are recommended. Failure to identify non-original material will result in disqualification.
If you submitted an essay without a bibliography option, please contact us. We will allow you edit and resubmit their essay.


Click on the image to open the PDF file.

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