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Us Embassy Essay Competition

DOHA: The U.S. Embassy, in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education of Qatar and Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar celebrated the winners of the second annual ‘Young Writers Competition’ on April 20th, 2016 at Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar in Education City.

The Young Writers Competition is part of an ongoing partnership between the U.S. Embassy Qatar, the Ministry of Education and Higher Education of Qatar and Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar. The inaugural competition took place during the 201415 academic year and students from 104 of Qatar’s independent schools participated. This year, over 230 students from 122 independent schools participated.

The United States Ambassador to the State of Qatar Dana Shell Smith congratulated all the students who participated in this year’s competition and commended the efforts of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education for their support of the effort. “I want to congratulate each student, teacher and school who participated in this year’s competition and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education for their support. This program is of the utmost importance to our Embassy – education and cultural diplomacy are foundational pillars of our mission here and around the globe.”  She added that “such an outpouring of student participation is indicative of great teachers, and speaks to Qatar’s commitment to fostering a knowledge-based economy.”

Dean Akel Kahera of Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar stated “Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar is delighted to support the Young Writers Competition for the second year in a row, and to be a vital part of the ongoing partnership between the U.S. Embassy Qatar and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education of Qatar.  Collectively, the accomplishment of the students raises the visibility of the State of Qatar as a hub of creativity, a source of talent, and a leading contributor to the important dialogue about the role of education and human development in the region.”

The aim of the competition is to encourage students to read, write and think critically about important topics in education, culture and society, while practicing and improving their English writing skills. The writing themes for this year’s competition focused on global citizenship and on education.  Students from grades 5, 8, and 10 were asked to write a personal essay, short story or poem on one of these topics and were given writing prompts that included inspirational quotes from Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser.

The students with the top five writing pieces from each grade were honored at today’s event and their work will be featured in this year’s Young Writers Journal, which will be published by the U.S. Embassy and distributed to local schools and educational institutions throughout Qatar in May.  The journal will also feature illustrations by visual art students from Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar.

Alongside the competition, the U.S. Embassy partnered with VCUQatar writing specialist, Professor Sadia Mir, throughout the fall and winter to conduct a series of writing capacity building workshops for teachers and students at the independent schools to complement the program.  This included three pre-competition workshops for teachers at the primary, preparatory and secondary levels, and six pre-competition workshops for students at select schools to improve writing and critical thinking capacity.

Feedback from students who’ve participated in the program has been superlative.  One grade 10 student who participated in last year’s program stated that “participating in this competition has inspired me to write more and more, and it has made me realize my writing talents that I didn’t know before.  It was an exciting experience that I’ll never forget. I feel proud of myself.”

For more information about the Young Writers Competition please contact the Public Affairs Section of the U.S. Embassy Doha, Qatar at: pasdoha@state.gov.

Follow us on: Twitter and Instagram @AmbDana and @USEmbassyQatar and on Facebook

By U.S. Embassy Doha | 25 June, 2016 | Topics: Education, English Language Learning, Press Releases

Entries have closed for the World Environment Day Short Story writing contest – ECOWriting2017. Thanks to all those who entered!

Contest Sponsors

The World Environment Day Short Story Writing Contest is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Embassy Abuja.

Description of Contest Objectives

The purpose of the contest is to promote environmental awareness and literacy.  (Please see the “Eligibility” section below to find out who is eligible to be a contestant.)


Events from this contest may be announced and promoted on various Social Media platforms including the Contest Webpage, but contest entry and administration will take place through e-mail.  Contest winners may also be announced on the Contest Webpage.

How to Enter

The contest is open to amateur, unpublished writers.  To enter the contest, submit your original short story of 1500-3500 words on the theme of “Connecting People to Nature” to CulturalAbuja@state.gov using the subject “[Name of author] Short Story Contest Submission.”  Stories without a title will not be reviewed. All submissions should include the author’s email and telephone number and date of birth in the body of the email.  All entries must be in Microsoft Word format.

Participation in the contest is deemed as acceptance of these Official Contest Rules.  Once an entry is submitted, it is considered a final submission and may not be modified, edited or replaced.

The contest commences on April 27, 2017 at 8:00am WAT.  Entries may be submitted between April 27, 2017, and May 26, 2017 12:00 pm (noon) WAT.  Judging begins on May 29, 2017 and ends on June 2, 2017.

Content Requirements

  1. Submissions must not contain obscenity, explicit sexual material, nudity, profanity, graphic violence, calls or incitement to violence, commercial solicitation or commercial promotion. Submissions must conform to local law and must not contain content or images that could be considered abusive, inflammatory, denigrating, or disrespectful to any of the Contest Sponsors, or to any groups, individuals or institutions.  Submissions must adhere both in appearance and in fact to the norms of civil discourse.  In other words, the content of all submissions must be suitable for a global, public audience.
  2. Submissions must be original content created by the contestant and must not contain any elements that are protected by someone else’s copyright or otherwise subject to third party intellectual property or proprietary rights, including privacy and publicity rights (except as expressly permitted below in (d)). Contest Sponsors recognize no allowance for “fair use” of copyrighted material, nor do Contest Sponsors recognize allowance for use of licensed materials created or owned by a third party.
  3. Contest Sponsors reserve the right to disqualify, at their sole and absolute discretion, any submission that does not adhere to these criteria and to the intent and substance of these Official Contest Rules.
  4. In the event of any question or difference of views regarding compliance with, interpretation, or application of these content requirements or other provisions of these Official Contest Rules, Contest Sponsors reserve the exclusive right to resolve such questions or differences of views in their sole discretion.


  1. Contestants must be at least 18-35 years old on the date of entry into the contest. Contestants must be residents of Nigeria and may not be U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.
  2. The individual submitting the entry will be considered the contestant and will be the only individual eligible to compete for the prize. Organizations are not eligible to compete for the prize, either as an entity, or through representation by an individual.  In order to be eligible for the prize, the contestant must provide complete and accurate information.
  3. The following individuals are not eligible to participate in the contest: Employees, interns, directors, and officers of the U.S. Government; or any employees, interns, directors, officers of any agencies, companies or entities involved in the administration, advertising, judging, creation, development, execution, and/or fulfillment of the contest, and the immediate family members (defined as spouse, recognized partner, parent, child, sibling, and spouse or “step” of each) and those living in the same household of each such individual.
  4. Once a submission has been accepted for entry into the contest, the contestant’s name (or User ID, if the contestants wishes to remain anonymous) and country may be publicly identified at the sole discretion of the contestants.

Selection of a Winner

  1. All submissions are subject to pre-screening by the U.S. Embassy to ensure compliance with these Official Contest Rules. Any submissions out of compliance will not be posted.  The U.S. Embassy reserves the right in their sole and absolute discretion to verify in the final analysis whether a potential finalist or potential winning submission has fully complied with these Official Contest Rules before posting to the contest site, awarding prize, recognizing as winner, etc.
  2. Judges: The contest jury is comprised of three Public Affairs staff members of the U.S. Embassy and two professional Nigerian writers.
  3. Judging Criteria: Public Affairs staff will review all submissions for eligibility and technical qualification. Submissions that meet the contest requirement will be reviewed by the contest jury.  Each member will score each submission based on the following criteria:  organization, grammar, creativity, and use of literary devices.  Submission with the highest cumulative scores from all five jurors wins the contest.
  4. Winners:  Each winner and/or finalist will be required to sign and return to Contest Sponsors a statement of eligibility and liability/publicity release and provide a short bio (where applicable) and a brief statement about the submission; otherwise the winner and/or finalist will be ineligible for any prize. The inability of Contest Sponsors to contact a potential winner may result in disqualification and/or selection of an alternate winner from among all remaining eligible submissions.
  5. Winners and finalists will be notified via the e-mail address they provided upon entry. Winners and finalists will be announced on the Embassy website and social media pages.  Winners and finalists may choose to use an alias instead of their real name and may request other identifying information be kept private.


  1. The first prize winner will receive a Kindle device with one year internet subscription on a network with nationwide coverage, a 24-month Kindle Unlimited Subscription, and the story, in whole or in part, will be published in an upcoming edition of the U.S. Mission quarterly publication, “Crossroads.”
  2. The second prize winner will receive a 24-month Kindle Unlimited subscription and the story will be published on the U.S. Embassy Nigeria website.
  3. The third prize winner will receive a 12-month Kindle Unlimited Subscritption and the story will be featured on the U.S. Embassy Nigeria website.
  4. Winners have to confirm the acceptance of the prize in an email reply within three calendar days. If the acceptance is not confirmed by the required date, the Contest Sponsors reserve the right to select an alternative winner.  Each winner must provide a valid physical mailing address where a prize, if any, is to be shipped.  Contest Sponsors are not responsible for any problems related to the shipping of any prize, including, but not limited to, theft, delay, damage, or destruction/accidental loss by the shipping carrier.
  5. Any unused portion of the prize is not transferable, convertible, or exchangeable and cannot be taken as cash. All taxes on or in connection with any prize, and the reporting consequences thereof, are the sole and exclusive responsibility of the winner.

Liability and Rights

  1. Contest Sponsors do not endorse any submissions or messages expressed therein, and Contest Sponsors expressly disclaim any and all liability in connection with the submitted essays including disputes between collaborators related to a submission.
  2. The contest and its sponsors do not permit copyright infringing activities or infringement of any other intellectual property rights, and Contest Sponsors reserve the right to remove and disqualify any submission they deem to be in violation of another party’s copyright or other intellectual property rights.
  3. Contestants retain sole ownership of their original work. The submission remains the intellectual property of contestant, and the Contest Sponsors and U.S. Government make no claim of copyright as to the work of any individual who enters the contest.  Contestant specifically agrees to give the Contest Sponsors permission to use all content submitted for purposes of judging the contest.  Finalists and/or winners will be required to grant Contest Sponsors, with proper attribution through whatever means they deem appropriate, a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sub-licensable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, and/or display the submission in any media formats and through any media channels in perpetuity in connection with the activities and operations of the contest.
  4. Contestant assumes sole responsibility for the contest submission and the material contained in it, and for any consequences of submitting or posting it.
  5. Contest Sponsors reserve the right at any time to verify the validity of entries and of contestants and to disqualify any contestant or entry deemed not in compliance with these Official Contest Rules. Contest Sponsors also reserve the right to request further documentation, at their sole and absolute discretion, to verify eligibility and compliance with these Official Contest Rules.
  6. If a prize or any portion thereof is unavailable, Contest Sponsors, in their sole discretion, reserve the right to substitute the prize with another prize of equal or greater value and/or specification.
  7. Contest Sponsors reserve the right, at any time and in their sole discretion, to disqualify and/or deem ineligible any individual who they reasonably believe (i) has violated the Official Contest Rules; (ii) has violated the terms of use of platform, or (iii) is acting in a bad faith, or in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person.
  8. Contest Sponsors reserve the right to modify, suspend, terminate or cancel the contest at their discretion for any reason.
  9. Contestant agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Contest Sponsors, their parent, subsidiary and affiliated companies, officers, directors, employees, interns, and agents, from and against any and all claims, damages, obligations, losses, liabilities, costs or debts, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney’s fees) arising from (i) violation of these Official Contest Rules; (ii) violation of any third party right, including without limitation any copyright, trademark, intellectual property, privacy, publicity, or other proprietary right in connection with the contest; or (iii) any claim that a contest submission caused any harm, including financial, to any third party.  These indemnification and hold harmless obligations will survive indefinitely beyond the conclusion of the contest.
  10. The conduct, judging, and awarding of prizes will be carried out in full compliance with applicable U.S. law and Nigerian law. In the event of a conflict between U.S. law and Nigerian law, U.S. law shall apply.
  11. Contest Sponsors and the U.S. Government will take reasonable measures to protect privacy data, personally identifiable information, and other sensitive data of contestants. Contact information provided by contestants may be stored by S. Embasy Abuja and may be used to contact contestants for other purposes in the future.  This information may be shared with the co-sponsor of the contest and/or be made available to third parties, to the extent permitted by law.

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