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Gulen Institute Youth Platform Essay Contest 2016

Gulen Institute Youth Platform Essay Contest 2016

Gulen Institute Youth Platform is an international essay contest annually organized by the Gulen Institute at the University of Houston and is open for high school students in grades 9th through 12th enrolled in public or private schools all over the world.

The contest challenges young minds to identify the obstacles to stable peace and social harmony and to offer possible solutions from their own cultural perspectives. The Youth Platform also offers a unique opportunity for cross-cultural understanding, as contest winners are invited to share their essays and engage in respectful dialogue with their peers from around the world.


Extremism: There are many ways extreme behaviors contribute to creating unsafe conditions for communities and societies. People, especially youth, are attracted to causes and join with others to create violence and destruction. Acknowledging that extremism is both justifiable on occasion and also responsible for considerable harm and disruption in the world,  select only one of the following propositions. In two thousand words explore to what degree is extremism is responsible for progress and for disharmony in the world.

  1. Education fosters pathways for those who feel alienated to become more moderate in their beliefs and behavior..
    2. It isn’t so much ideology that makes someone extreme but rather companionship for mutual goals and, if necessary, mutual sacrifice.
    3. To eliminate extremism, society must eliminate injustices that create feelings of alienation.
    4. Dispassionate reasoning is not effective in addressing extreme behaviors.
    6. The existence of a global village in which there are great disparities in wealth and poverty present serious challenges for eliminating regional and global violence
    7. Those who are extremists use emotional appeals to rally others to their cause and to justify their prejudices.
    8. At the core of extremism is both cause and comradeship. Without both, there is no cohesion and no possible victories.
    9. Without extremists’ united will to action, there would be few eliminations of societal injustices and little social progress.
    10. Extremism today isn’t novel but is heightened by media that only recently have had the technological means of recording social injustices and social violence.


International Youth Platform of the Gűlen Institute of Houston, Texas


To Be Announced

Check here for prizes won in the 2015 award


31st March 2016


  • Essay contest is open for high school students in grades 9th through 12th enrolled in public or private schools all over the world.

Judging criteria

The decision of the judges is final as relating to all contest matters:

  • Essay addresses the topic competently.
  • Essay is focused and purposeful.
  • Main idea is stated clearly.
  • Essay discusses the topic and supports the main idea.
  • Essay is based on a considerable research.
  • Essay displays an eloquent style in terms of sentence structure and word choice.
  • Use of language is proper in terms of grammar, punctuation, and spelling. Essay is well organized in terms of transition and paragraph order.
  • It is between 1,500 and 2,000 words in length.
  • References are proper and adequate, and indicated in a bibliography.
  • Overall, the essay is original.
  • Note: The Gulen Institute realizes that native speakers of English have an advantage in this contest, but we do not want to discourage contributions from around the world.  Therefore, essays from non-native speakers will be judged more leniently as regards grammar, although all students will be held to the same standards of research and argumentation.


110HA Social Work Building.
University of Houston
4800 Calhoun Rd.
Houston, TX 77204
youthplatform [at]


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