overarching theme for 2016 is ‘An Inclusive Commonwealth’, which is
also the 2016 Commonwealth Year theme, and a topical theme for today’s
youth. Both Senior and Junior topics give young people the opportunity
to think about aspects of the theme such as: the significance of
community; the importance of diversity and difference; the question of
belonging; the values of tolerance, respect and understanding; and the
sense of shared responsibility that exists within the Commonwealth
today. The topics are a chance to develop critical thinking and to
express views in a creative manner.
Read the Senior and Junior topics.
For more information about the competition, please visit Terms and Conditions and Frequently Asked Questions.
Information on how to submit an essay can be found here.
to all Commonwealth citizens aged under 18, our essay competition
offers young people from diverse backgrounds the opportunity to make
their voices heard on a global platform, to engage with issues important
to them and to express their aspirations for the future. Each year,
participants demonstrate their ability to stimulate and provoke
discussions about important Commonwealth and global issues from a young
person’s perspective and to showcase their critical and creative skills.
History of the Essay Competition
RCS has a rich history of nurturing the creative talents of young
people around the Commonwealth. We endeavour to promote literacy,
expression and creativity among young people by celebrating excellence
and imagination. Run by the RCS since 1883, this international schools’
writing contest – the world's oldest and largest – is a highly regarded
and popular international education project which we run in partnership
with Cambridge University Press.
2015, the contest was renamed ‘The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay
Competition’, in honour of HM Queen Elizabeth II’s role as both Head of
the Commonwealth and Patron of the Royal Commonwealth Society.
Born after 1st May 2002 (under 14 years)
1 Imagine inviting a stranger to your country. How would you welcome them?
2 My ideal community.
3 Are we really so different? Tales of an 'insider/outsider'.
Born between 2nd May 1997 and 1st May 2002 (14-18 years)
1 Let them in.
2 How can you balance the needs of the individual with the needs of the crowd?
3 The wealth we have in common.
4 Is it possible to have an inclusive and tolerant society?