Education: Young essayists' competition

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THE Independent essay competition is part of an educational programme on the theme of democracy which is being co-ordinated by the Institute of Citizenship Studies.

The institute was set up by the former Speaker of the House of Commons, Bernard Weatherill, after the all-party Commission on Citizenship reported in 1990. It aims to encourage young people to practise 'citizenship skills', and is backed by Grand Metropolitan, Laporte, British Gas, the Rowntree Reform Trust and the Prince's Trust.

The other main events of the educational programme are:

A public-speaking competition for young people over 16, organised by the Cambridge Union Society and the Financial Times, with the final debate chaired by Lord Weatherill at the Cambridge University Union in March next year;

A letter-writing competition, open to pupils aged between 5 and 16, run by the Royal Mail;

A series of planning conferences for teachers, to help them to introduce young people to citizenship studies, will be held in regional centres between January and the summer next year;

Materials, to accompany a special season of television films and events in the 1993 autumn term, will be developed at Birmingham University and published by Heinemann Educational.

Further information: The Institute for Citizenship Studies, The Executive Director, Queen Mary and Westfield College, London E1 4NS.

Part of a wider festival, co-ordinated by the Democracy 2500 Anniversary Committee of the Hellenic Cultural Centre, will be the arrival of a Greek trireme in London next summer.

How to enter, who will judge

TODAY the Independent launches an essay competition, along with 13 other leading newspapers around the world, to celebrate next year's 2,500th anniversary of the birth of democracy in ancient Greece.

In the UK, the competition will be open to young people aged between 17 and 23. The other newspapers taking part are the Irish Times, La Repubblica in Italy, NRC Handelsblad in the Netherlands, De Morgen in Belgium, Berlingske Tidende in Denmark, To Vima in Greece, the Times of India, Yomiuri Shimbun in Japan, the Age in Australia, Le Nouveau Quotidien in Switzerland, Lidove Noviny in Czechoslovakia, Gazeta Wyborcza in Poland and Magyar Nemzet in Hungary.

The winner and runner-up of our competition will be joined by the winners from the other countries on a week's trip to Greece in July 1993, organised by the Committee for Democracy 2500 in Athens and Lambrakis Press, the publisher of To Vima.

The school or college attended by the winner and runner-up in this country will receive a four-disk CD-ROM archive of the Independent going back to 1988, along with the CD-ROM drive required to read the data.

We will announce the winner and runner-up at the end of March 1993 and publish the winning entries in the Independent. Essays will be judged by Andreas Whittam Smith, editor of the Independent; Lord Howe of Aberavon; David Marquand, professor of politics at Sheffield University; Chief Emeka Anyaoku, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth; and Helen Williams, former High Mistress of St Paul's Girls' School.


Write an essay of no more than 1,000 words on one of the following themes:

If democracy is such a good idea, why is it so difficult to establish?

Can you have too much democracy?

Is democracy an option only for fully developed economies?


You must be over 17 but under 23 on 1 July 1993. You must be in full-time education. The judges' decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Entries will not be returned. Employees of Newspaper Publishing plc and their relatives are not eligible to enter the competition.

Please attach the coupon below to your entry and send it to: Democracy Essay Competition, Editorial Manager, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB by Friday 11 December 1992.