International Essay Contest for Young People


The selection process is now underway. Winners will be announced on this website on October 31, 2020.

Click here to
GET your Certificate online

This annual essay contest is organized in an effort to harness the energy, creativity and initiative of the world's youth in promoting a culture of peace and sustainable development. It also aims to inspire society to learn from the young minds and to think about how each of us can make a difference in the world.


“A Letter from Myself in 2030”

Imagine what an ideal world ten years from now would be like. Write a letter from yourself in 2030 to your present (2020) self, in which you describe the state of the world, the way people are living, and what you, yourself, are doing in society. In addition, include any important message that you might wish to tell your present self.

Guidelines 1. Essays may be submitted by anyone up to 25 years old (as of June 15, 2020) in one of the following age categories: a) Children (ages up to 14) b) Youth (ages 15 - 25)
2. Essays must be 700 words or less in English, French, Spanish or German, or 1600 characters or less in Japanese, excluding essay title and cover page. Essays may be typed or printed.
3. Entries may be submitted online or by postal mail.
IMPORTANT: To send your essay online, you must go to the online registration page and follow the required steps.
4. Entries submitted by postal mail must include a cover page  indicating 
(1) your name (2) category (Children or Youth) (3) age as of June 15, 2020 (4) gender
(5) nationality (6) address (7) e-mail (8) phone number (9) school name (if applicable)
(10) your essay title (11) language (12) word count.

Teachers and youth directors may submit a collection of essays from their class or group.
Please enclose a list of participants' names, ages and the name and contact information of the submitting teacher or director.
* Entries missing any of the above information will not be considered.
* Only one entry per person is accepted.
*A cover page template is available to download. You may also create your own cover page with all items (1)-(12) above.
* We are unable to confirm receipt of essays.
5. Essays must be original and unpublished. Plagiarized entries will be rejected.
6. Essays must be written by one person. Co-authored essays are not accepted.

Copyright of the essays entered will be assigned to the organizer.


If you have questions, please consult the FAQ section below.

Deadline Entries must be received by June 15, 2020 (23:59 your local time).
Awards The following awards will be given in the Children’s category and Youth category respectively:
1st Prize: Certificate, prize of 100,000 Yen (approx. US$900 as of Feb. 2020) and gift ... 1 entrant
2nd Prize: Certificate, prize of 50,000 Yen (approx. US$450 as of Feb. 2020) and gift ... 2 entrants
3rd Prize: Certificate and gift ... 5 entrants
Honorable Mention: Certificate and gift ... 25 entrants

* 1st prize winners will be invited to the award ceremony to be held in Tokyo, Japan in November 2020 and will receive the Minister of Education Award. (Travel expenses will be covered by the organizer.)
* Additional awards (Recognition for Effort, Best School Award, School Incentive Award) will be given
if applicable.
* All prize winners will be announced on October 31, 2020 (Japan time) on this website. Certificates and gifts will be mailed to the winners in December 2020.
* We are unable to answer individual inquiries concerning contest results.
If you wish to submit your entry by postal mail, send to:
International Essay Contest c/o The Goi Peace Foundation
1-4-5 Hirakawacho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 102-0093, Japan

For further inquiries concerning the International Essay Contest for Young People, please contact

Organized by

The Goi Peace Foundation

Endorsed by

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan
Japanese National Commission for UNESCO, Japan Private High School Federation
Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education, Japan Broadcasting Corporation, Nikkei Inc.

Supported by


Essay Contest 2020 Flyer (PDF)


Past Winning Essays
Voices of 2019 winners
View webinars
with past Winners


Q1 Are there any exceptions to the age limit for participating in the contest?
A1 No, you must be 25 years old or younger as of June 15, 2020, which is the entry deadline date. That means you must be born after June 15, 1994. On the other hand, there is no minimum age requirement.
Q2 Is there a fee for participating in this contest?
A2 No, participation is free of charge.
Q3 Do I have to be Japanese or Asian to join the contest?
A3 No, all nationalities can participate from anywhere in the world.
Q4 My essay is a little over 700 words. Is it acceptable?
A4 No, essay must be 700 words or less in order to qualify. However, the cover page and essay title are excluded from the word count.
Q5 Are the title and cover page included in the word count limit?
A5 No, the 700 word count limit is for the body of the essay only.
Q6 Do I need a cover page for my essay submitted online?
A6 Yes, a cover page is required for all entries. When submitting your essay file online, include a cover page with your name and your essay title. (Note: You may create your own cover page or use the template.)
Q7 Can I give any title to my essay?
A7 Yes, you can give your essay an original title as long as the content is in line with the theme.
Q8 Is there a specific format for the essay (font style, size, line space, etc.)?
A8 There are no particular rules regarding formatting. However, your essay submitted online should be in either MS Word(DOC/DOCX) or PDF format, with a cover page included in one file.
Q9 Can I quote from books or websites? If so, where should I write the reference?
A9 If you use quotations, please include the reference at the bottom of the essay. The reference should not be included in the word count.
Q10 Can I add photos, images, or my biography to my essay?
A10 No. Please send your essay only.
Q11 Can I submit my essay via email?
A11 No, we do not accept entries by email. Please submit your essay either by postal mail or through the online registration page.
Q12 Can I submit a hand-written essay?
A12 Yes, we accept hand-written essay. You can either send it by postal mail or submit a scanned PDF copy through the online registration page.
Q13 Can I submit more than one essay?
A13 No, only one entry per person is accepted.
Q14 Can I submit my essay in my native language?
A14 Essays are accepted in English, French, Spanish, German or Japanese only, since these are the only languages the contest organizers and judges can read. However, we can accept essays written in other languages, if they are accompanied by translations in one of the accepted languages.
Q15 Can we co-write and submit one essay as a team?
A15 No. The essay must be written by one person. Co-authored essay are not accepted.
Q16 I did not receive a confirmation email after submitting my essay. How can I make sure that my essay has been successfully submitted and received?
A16 You will not receive a confirmation email after submitting your essay. However, you can check if your essay has been successfully submitted by logging in and clicking on the “Essay List” (, “My Essay” or “School List”) on the side menu. If your essay has been successfully submitted, it will appear on the list. To make sure that the correct essay is linked, click on “View Essay”on the list.
Q17 Should I write my essay in letter format or in standard essay format with a title?
A17 Your writing can be in any format or style, as long as the content is in line with the given theme. Whatever format you choose, please give a title to your essay.