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ESSAY CONTEST: Making a Sustainable Difference

Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs | September 7, 2011

CREDIT: Christo Bakalov (CC).

As part of our annual SEPTEMBER SUSTAINABILITY MONTH, Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs announces its third International Essay Contest. This competition is open to teachers and students anywhere in the world.

In recent years, "sustainability" has become a buzzword for scholars, entrepreneurs, and policymakers alike. It has come to embody a wide variety of approaches that aim to bring society in harmony with the environment. For some, it is heralded as the ultimate way to improve today's way of life and to guarantee human existence well into the future.

As a consequence, "sustainability" has become an integral part of our vocabulary. We now have Sustainable Development; Sustainable Business; Sustainable Agriculture; Sustainable Living; Sustainable Environment; and even Sustainable Communities.

Here is where you come in. In this competition we challenge you to move beyond the buzz and explore what sustainability means to you. How do you understand sustainability? What is the meaning of sustainability in your own life, in your local community, and in the greater world? Do you see conflicts of interest between these spheres? In the quest for sustainability, how do we balance rights and responsibilities, and decide on what's fair? We look forward to your thoughts on one or more of these questions.

ESSAY TITLE: What does sustainability mean to you?


  • Style: "Op-ed" style (not academic, footnoted papers)
  • Length: 1,000 to 1,500 words
  • Format: Word document, or email. English-language entries only.



This competition is open to teachers and students of all nationalities.

All teachers, at whatever level, are eligible.

All students, from high school students through graduate students, are eligible. Non-students are automatically disqualified.

Collaborative essays between students and teachers are welcome.

Please email your entries to: Please include your full name, address, email, age, and affiliation.


1st prize: $250 Amazon Gift Certificate

2nd prize: $150 Amazon Gift Certificate

3rd prize: $75 Amazon Gift Certificate

All winners also receive a copy of Ethics & International Affairs: A Reader.

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Read More: Agriculture, Business, Cities, Conservation, Development, Education, Energy, Environment, Sustainability, Technology, Transportation, Global

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