I have been a part of The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition for four years now. The past few years have posed many challenges for me and a lot has changed in my personal and professional lives. Amongst all these changes in a short span of time, one of the very few things that didn’t change was my association with The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition.
The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition is not like any other piece of work or a routine job. Rather, it is distinctive because it is a special connection that I hold with the global youth and one that global youth hold between themselves too. It is a very exciting initiative that provides common platform to young people from around the world to voice their thoughts; that are mostly unheard otherwise. Being able to read the essay entries from all parts of the world can be time consuming and lengthy; yet pleasant and enriching at the same time; but one thing that it’s absolutely not is boring.
I got a lot out of the experience and this is why I look forward to reading more and more entries from the young lot of Commonwealth. With the passage of time I realized that my involvement in the judging process has gained an important place in my life. Every year, some of the essays touch my heart and bring tears to my eyes, make me smile or amazed and even sad at times. Reading the stories of common people from different countries with diverse cultural, economic, religious and social backgrounds speak volumes about how these narratives play important roles in changing lives and shaping worldviews- The manifestation of relativity is definitely eye-opening while it expands on the various ideas and realities of life expressed by young people.
Being a judge is like indulging in novel worldviews and fresh perspectives introduced by young minds. It is a delightful step-wide process to read essay entries online, award Gold, Silver and Bronze medals, then read the short-listed entries; meet with the Senior Panel Judges and have hours of discussions about the short listed entries and finally selecting the winning entry. With systematic support and cooperation of the RCS staff, it is always a hassle-free and well-coordinated process. Every year I travel to London especially for participating in the Senior Panel meeting to select the winner. It gives me a sense of accomplishment to be able to play such a significant role in a promising initiative like this. The grand conclusion comes with prestigious Awards Ceremonies followed by Winners Week in London. Meeting the personalities behind the winning entries is again a laudable event that further makes the competition very exciting and rewarding. Winners and Runner-ups gather in London for a week full of learning activities, workshop, educational and recreational visits and enjoy the rewards of their efforts.
I would like to encourage all the children and young people from the Commonwealth countries to actively participate in this competition. It is a confidence booster and a remarkable learning opportunity to think about common issues that affect you and other young people living in other parts of the world. Winning is not the ultimate goal of the competition; rather the aim is to encourage creativity and independent thinking and challenge yourself to experiment on the power of your pen. Today you are reading this blog, tomorrow you may be the winner of the competition, you never know. So, give it a go and express yourself on this year’s theme ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’. Pen power is the greatest; even greater than a sword; so use it!
Three Cheers for the RCS!
The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Royal Commonwealth Society.
Submissions to The Queen's Commonwealth Essay Competition 2016 can be made until 1st May.