- Promotes serious discussion among high school students and teachers about
Zarathushtra’s Message for today and in the future;
- Complements existing curricula and other scholastic activities;
- Strengthens students' research, writing, and reasoning skills; and
- Meets National Contents Standards.
The postmark deadline for applications for the 2007-2008 National Peace Essay
Contest is March , 2007. Winners are notified by May 1, 2007. The award week
is held in Pune-India every June. Applications are accepted throughout the year.
Coordinators who are organizing a group of students for class or extracurricular
- Chooses how the Contest will be conducted—for example, uses the study
guide in class and uses the essays as graded assignments.
- Oversees the selection process for essays submitted to the Contest—for
example, chooses all essays or top essays to forward to the Institute.
Students are eligible to participate if they are in grades nine through twelve
in any part of the world.
Previous first-place state winners and immediate relatives of directors or staff
of the Institute are not eligible to participate. Previous honorable mentions
are eligible to enter.
It is to your advantage to have someone review your essay before you submit
it to make sure it is complete, has all the necessary forms, is free from spelling
and grammatical errors, and addresses the topic. There is no formal process
to become a coordinator.
How Do I Write the Essay?
For the purposes of the Zarathushtrian Essay Contest, an essay is a three-part
paper that lay out and develops a position in response to the essay contest
question. Although researching the topic to find examples that support your
points is crucial to writing your essay, it should be more than a research paper,
a narrative description of an event, or a statement of opinion.
Your essay should contain the following:
- An introduction, which introduces the subject and contains an explanation
of your position. The objective is to demonstrate that you understand the
essay contest question and have formed a response to it.
- A body, which develops your argument using research and analysis. The process
of analysis may include comparing and contrasting, differentiating among several
ideas or events, critiquing a variety of perspectives, interpreting results,
or drawing inferences. In this section, you should analyze two case studies.
Be sure to identify the sources of your information or ideas.
- A conclusion, which summarizes the research and analysis presented in the
essay and sets forth your conclusions. Drawing on ideas already presented,
you should demonstrate that your conclusions support the position you put
forward in the opening paragraphs. Your aim is to convince the reader that
your position is reasonable and valid.
Your essay should also include notes and a bibliography:
- Reference notes (footnotes or endnotes) give the sources of your information
or ideas. Footnotes are placed at the bottom of the page where the information
appears. Alternatively, you may gather all the notes at the end of the text
- A bibliography is a list of the works that you have referred to in your
essay or have consulted in order to write it.
Essays that use a variety of sources—academic journals, news magazines,
newspapers, books, government documents, publications from research organizations—fare
better in the contest.
Citations in the reference notes or bibliography should follow rules given in
a handbook such as the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers or
the Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. Typically
an entry will have at least the name of the author or editor,
title of the work, and date and place of publication. The bibliography should
be arranged alphabetically by the last names of the authors.
Encyclopedias are not acceptable as sources. Essays citing
encyclopedias in notes or bibliography may be disqualified.
The Internet or World Wide Web should not be the only source for your
essay. Be aware that you may encounter "republished" or "third
generation" information on the Internet that is inaccurate or improperly
attributed. When citing Internet sources, you must include the following information:
author(s), title of work, Internet address, and date information was accessed.
Detailed instructions can be obtained from the manuals listed above. For the
purposes of this essay, Internet sources should be listed separately from non-electronic
sources, such as books, magazines, and newspapers.
- Type your essay, double-spaced, on one side of white 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper
with left and right margins set at 1 1/4 inches each.
- Your name and your school’s name must not appear anywhere
on the essay.
- Answer the essay contest question in a well-organized, well-reasoned essay
of no more than 1,500 words. Points will be deducted from essays exceeding
the 1,500-word limit. The word count includes articles (the, and, a) and quotations.
Only count the body of the essay. You must include the exact word count in
your student registration form.
- Include standardized citations and a bibliography. (These are not included
in the 1,500-word count.) Essays without these elements will be disqualified.
- Write the essay in English and address all parts of the 2006-2007 contest
topics. Essays on other topics will be disqualified.
- Number the pages of your essay.
- Include your name, school, and address ONLY on the student
- Submit four stapled, legible, collated copies of your essay, along with
the completed registration form, to your contest coordinator well in advance
of the March , 2007 postmark deadline. Attach the student registration form
(one copy only) to the top of your essay copies. Your coordinator will submit
the essays to the Institute with the coordinator registration form.
Your essay may be disqualified if:
- It is not on the topic.
- Registration forms are not complete or contains incorrect information
- It does not have reference notes and a bibliography.
- It uses encyclopedia citations in the bibliography, or relies solely on
- It is postmarked after the deadline of February 1, 2007.
- It plagiarizes—that is, uses someone else's statements or ideas as
How Will Your Essay Be Judged?
Essays submitted to Spenta University Essay Contest are sent to judges—qualified
experts selected by the University. Using the criteria described below, state
judges select winning essays. Winners are selected from among the first-place
state essays by the Institute's board of directors. The decisions of the judges
are final. The Institute reserves the right to present no awards at the state
and national levels, or to reduce the number of awards if an insufficient number
of deserving entries is received. Participants are notified in May of their
essay's status. Please do not call the Institute for information about the status
of your essay.
Your essay will be judged based on the seven criteria outlined below.
- Focus: Examines how well your essay responds to the questions
and/or tasks presented. Does the essay provide specific and thorough responses
to all of the questions and/or tasks presented? An excellent essay provides
specific and thorough responses to all of the questions and/or tasks presented.
- Organization: Looks at the structure of your essay and
the strength of your thesis statement. Does the essay have an organized structure?
An excellent essay has an introduction, a body and a conclusion. The organization
includes an excellent thesis and moves the reader through the text.
- Analysis: Considers how well your arguments are supported.
Are the discussion points argued coherently and supported with research? In
an excellent essay all of the arguments are strong, well detailed and extremely
well supported by convincing and accurate evidence.
- Conclusions and Recommendations: Examines how well conclusions
and recommendations are expressed and how closely they follow from the analysis.
Conclusions and recommendations should not present new information that is
not a part of the analysis: Does the essay provide sound conclusions and recommendations
that follow from the analysis? An excellent essay provides a coherent and
comprehensive summary based on the analysis. All of the solutions to the problems
presented are specific and well thought out.
- Originality: Looks for creativity in writing. Does the
writer use develop ideas creatively? In an excellent essay, the writer proposes
and develops creative ideas, through the selection of cases and/or examples,
to present novel analysis and alternatives throughout the entire essay.
- Voice: Considers how well your writing engages the reader.
Is the essay compelling and/or engaging? An excellent essay fully captures
the reader's attention. The flow of the essay keeps the reader engaged throughout
the entire text.
- Style and Mechanics: Examines how well the essay is written
in terms of grammar, spelling, and punctuation, as well as word choice and
sentence construction. Is the essay well written? An excellent essay uses
standard writing conventions correctly, e.g. grammar, spelling, and punctuation,
with no errors. There are no errors in word choice and all sentences are well