Today, youth around the world are unapologetically raising awareness about global issues that will not only impact their future, but the future of generations to come. Taking on some of the world's greatest challenges including gun control and nonviolence, animal protection and environmental awareness, childhood hunger, better behavior online, literacy among boys, economically-focused opportunities for girls, and more, youth are no longer content with waiting for the generations who came before them to find solutions to critical issues. The talent and intelligence of today's youth and the power of their voices in influencing positive global change is inspiring. While youth today should not have to bear the burden of improving our world, they are doing just that. They continue to learn, create, volunteer, compete, connect, explore, challenge, empathize, welcome, and understand perspectives different from their own. They are not afraid to shine light on the broader implications of unequal and inequitable systems, infrastructure, and practices across the globe, and continue to remind the world that inaction is no longer acceptable. Today's youth are the future leaders of our world and here at the World Affairs Council of Seattle, we are doing our best to provide global educational opportunities to support them as they grow into the leaders they are already showing us they can be!
Since 1998, the World Affairs Council of Seattle's Global Classroom has been dedicated to ensuring that youth are included in conversations surrounding critical global issues. Global Classroom believes that all students, youth, and the adults and mentors influencing their development, should have access to tools, materials, opportunities, and information to help them better understand the interconnectedness of our world. One way Global Classroom supports youth in increasing their global IQ, is through our annual World Citizen Essay Contest (WCEC).
Each spring, the World Affairs Council hosts the WCEC for third through twelfth graders. The goal of the contest is to promote discussion among students, teachers, families, and community members about the ways that individuals can affect positive change in the global community. The contest lends the opportunity for students to engage in conversations about critical world issues with their peers, teachers, and families and allows them to gain confidence in expressing their thoughts in writing by submitting their work to a panel of community judges from both the business and education communities. Many teachers use the WCEC as a way to engage their students in real life global issues.
Global Classroom's ability to implement this project is anchored in its on-going work connecting Washington State educators with the necessary resources they need to teach their students about timely world issues that affect both our Puget Sound region and the world. Education about global issues is critical for the students so that they can better understand the community in which they live as well as communities in other places. Global Classroom programs like the World Citizen Essay Contest cultivate the cognitive skills necessary for students to develop and exercise critical thinking and communication skills. This event is inspired by the knowledge that our young people are eager for first-hand experiences with global issues – experiences that give them authentic opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge about international issues and direct exposure to those issues that affect our world today. The more students engage, the more they know, and the more they know, the better citizens they will be.
Interested in learning more? Check out our past World Citizen Essay Contests and winners! The 2022 essay contest prompt is finalized and we are excited to have youth across Washington State participate and speak on issues important to them and to the world. For details on the 2022 WCEC, checkout our 2022 World Citizen Essay Contest page. Let's keep uplifting our youth!