World Bank Essay Competition

WANTED: Your Practical Ideas (“Shaping the City of Your Dreams”)

In 2007, for the first time in human history, the majority of people in the world, particularly in developing countries, will be living in urban areas. Life in the city is often associated with more opportunities, better access to employment, education, health and other services. Cities are often called engines of economic growth, contributing disproportionately to the national gross domestic product (GDP). They are also centers of innovation, entrepreneurship and investment. But many cities also have a large part of their population living in slums, without essential services such as water, sanitation and energy, and threatened by environmental hazards, violence and social exclusion. As more and more people move from the countryside to the city, and as city populations grow, there is a growing need for solutions to the issues of urban poverty, environment, and urban infrastructure (housing, roads, water, energy etc.)

What can you do to shape the city of your dreams? Please answer all three questions below:
1) Think about the city you live in. What are the biggest opportunities and challenges for people living there?
2) What needs to be done to transform your city into the city of your dreams?
3) What could be your role, working together with your peers, in shaping the city of your dreams? Please focus on one or two points you mentioned in question 2).

You may use some of the points below to structure your answer:
If you have been personally involved in concrete initiatives, write specifically about your experience. Who have you worked with? Who have you helped? What have you accomplished? In what way would you consider this work to be innovative? How have you measured the results of your work? Looking ahead, how would you expand or improve the impact of your work? How can other youth replicate your experience? If you don’t have practical experience, write specifically about your ideas. How would you work with your peers to shape the city of your dreams?

Awards include:
• A grand prize of $5,000
• Runner-up prizes of $1,000
Authors of the best essays (finalists) will be invited to participate in the Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics (ABCDE) in Cape Town, South Africa. The jury reserves the right to modify the allocation depending on the number of winning essays.

Who can participate?
The International Essay Competition is open to all young people, students and non-students alike, between the ages of 18 and 25 (born between 1983 – 1990). Essays should be submitted by individuals.

January 15, 2008 – Launch of the Essay Competition
March 23, 2008 – Deadline for submissions
April 30, 2008 – Finalists announced
June 9-10, 2008 – Final Jury in Cape Town, South Africa
June 11, 2008 – Award Ceremony during the ABCDE Conference in Cape Town, South Africa (The World Bank will cover travel and accommodation expenses for the finalists)

* Submissions will be accepted till March 23, 2008 (midnight, Paris time).
* Each participant can only submit one essay.
* Participants must be between 18 and 25 years of age (born 1983 – 1990).
* Essays should not be longer than 10 pages (4,000 words, maximum), 1.5 line-spaced.
* Essays can only be submitted online, in English, French,
Spanish, Arabic or Portuguese.
* Each essay must be accompanied by an abstract (max. one page). The abstract will be used by the jury to make a pre-selection.
* All essays will be blind reviewed. References to specific individuals, firms, or schools, which might reveal the author’s identity are discouraged.
* Quotes and references must be clearly marked throughout the essay and properly cited.
* All essays must be original. No previously published material will be accepted. Any form of plagiarism will result in automatic disqualification. Please note that all essays will be screened with a specialized software to verify plagiarism.
* We recommended that you write your essay in a word-processing program (check for grammar and spelling; clarity counts).
* Contestants are asked not to add emphasis using HTML etc. Italics and other text formatting will be added to the finalist essays for publication purposes.
* The World Bank reserves the right to publish and/or to make available to the public the winning essays.
* The decision of the Jury is final and is not subject to an appeal.
* Participants of the previous editions of the Essay Competition are also encouraged to apply.
* Active (between the time of essay submission and the Final Jury in June 2008), paid staff (term or open-ended) of partner organizations (see list) of Essay Competition 2008 are not eligible to participate.

Frequently Asked Questions:
1. What is the deadline for submissions?
The deadline for submissions is March 23, 2008, midnight (Paris time).

2. How do I submit my essay?
The submission process is very simple and entirely online-based. Submit your essay

3. Who is eligible for the essay competition?
The essay competition is open for nationals of ALL countries of the world, students and non-students alike, aged 18-25. Students enrolled in Ph.D. courses are, however, not eligible to participate.

4. I am just under 18 or just over 25 – can I still participate?
The competition is intended for youth aged 18-25. If you are born in the years 1983 – 1990, you are eligible to participate.

5. In which language shall I submit the essay?
The essay can be written in either of the 5 languages: English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese. If you are selected as a finalist, you will be asked to make a presentation of your paper – in the same language that the essay was written in or in English.

6. What is the length and format of the essay?
The essay should not exceed 10 pages (4000 words), 1.5 spaced. The following elements do NOT count into the number of pages or words: abstract, content page, title page (if you provide one). Moreover, graphs and tables do NOT count into the number of words.

7. Am I allowed to include graphs and tables?
Yes, you are welcome (but not obliged to) to include relevant graphs and tables. Their content will not count into the number of words in your essay.

8. What is an abstract?
You will be asked to write an abstract to go with your essay, which cannot exceed 1 page (400 words). An abstract is a summary in which you explain the aim, the methodology, the reasoning and the main conclusions of your paper. The abstract is important, as pre-selection of the essays will be based on the assessment of these only. That means that a good essay without an abstract or with a poorly written abstract will not be graded highly.

9. What are the grading criteria for the essays?
The essays will be graded for their originality, clarity and the use of thoughtful and concrete proposals/ examples.

10. Is it allowed to mention my name in the paper?
It is discouraged to mention the name of the author in the essay or to include the name on the title page or in the footer. Your essay will be linked to your email address and therefore there is no need to sign it with your name.

11. Is it allowed for two or more people to work on the same essay?Unfortunately not. We would like the paper to be individual work.

12. Do I need to address all three questions?
Yes, you are asked to address all questions.

13. If I am a finalist, who will pay for my travel and stay in South Africa?The World Bank will cover the cost of travel and accommodation for the finalists.

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