Global Voices Essay Contest

Nearly a quarter of the world’s population are youth between the ages of 10 and 24, and 87 percent of them live in developing countries. One of the greatest challenges facing these young people is unemployment, with six out of 10 of the approximately 120 million young people joining the labor market each year unable to find jobs. Efforts to support youth employability must dramatically increase and evolve to keep up with this rapid population growth.

Michigan State University’s Global Youth Advancement Network will build on MSU’s legacy of international engagement and create innovative solutions that will improve the livelihood of millions of global youth. In collaboration with other MSU programs—such as the Alliance for African Partnership, Asian Studies Center, and MSU’s #1 ranked program for teacher education—GYAN is increasing the university’s global engagement and building on the university’s land-grant values to address young people’s aspirations for sustainable global prosperity.

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Global Voices offers a platform for young people around the world to advocate for their communities, share their opinions, and introduce solutions to local and national challenges.

The voices of young people have always been and always will be critical to the evolution of a just society. To provide a platform for their voices, the Global Youth Advancement Network (GYAN) hosts an annual regional essay competition. Choosing from several themes, the participants submit a 600-900 word essay about how they are addressing a challenge their communities face. A panel of Michigan State University (MSU) faculty and staff review the essays and GYAN awards prizes to the top three entries. GYAN also publishes their essays, along with the honorable mention essays within each theme, in a book to publicize these young leaders’ voices to the world.

The best essays within each category will be published in a book: Global Voices Vol. II – A Collection of Essays from Latin American and Caribbean Youth.

DUE DATE: February 21, 2020
LENGTH: 600 – 900 words
THEME: Confronting Inequity



  • First Place Winner: Laptop computer and a scholarship to attend the 2021 Global Youth Advancement Summit in East Lansing, Michigan, USA
  • Second Place: Choice of tablet or camera
  • Third Place: Choice of tablet or camera



  • Must be citizens of Central and South America, or the Caribbean
  • Must be between the ages of 15 and 24
Eligible Regions: Latin America and the Caribbean

Application Process

  • Choose one sub-theme for your essay
    • Challenging Racism
    • Conserving the Environment
    • Educating for Change
    • Empowering Indigenous Communities
    • Promoting Gender Equality
    • Stamping Out Violence
  • Write your essay, being sure to include these key points:
    • Describe the inequity that you see in your region, country, or community.
    • Tell us what YOU are currently doing to confront this inequity. How do you think this intervention will help? (This could be a community project, starting a business or social venture, studying/conducting research, etc.)
    • What resources (information, opportunities, partnerships, etc.) do you need to scale your intervention?
  • Submit your essay:
    • On the top left corner, include: Full name, Age, Country, Sub-theme, Email address
    • Save the essay as a Microsoft Word document
    • Email essay as an attachment to [email protected] with the subject line: Global Voices LA – (full name)

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Application Deadline: February 21, 2020

Application ClosedOfficial link
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