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The American University of Kurdistan is sponsoring an English essay contest asking the young men and women of Kurdistan to take note of their changing world.

The contest is open to all residents of Kurdistan ages 17 - 24 (at time of entry). Entrants are limited to one essay per person.

How to enter:

Entrants may choose one of three topics (see below). Prizes will be awarded for the top three essays, with the best overall essay receiving the grand prize.

Essays must be submitted in English with a length of between 800 - 1000 words and typed on A4 paper. Essays outside this word range or handwritten may not be considered. AUK is not responsible for lost, late, illegible, or incomplete entries. Entries will not be returned. Entrants should include their full name and email address for correct identification. Please note that all work must be the entrant's own: essays will be checked using anti-plagiarism software and any plagiarized essays will be discarded.

All essays must be submitted online to: between November 8 and December 8. Essays received after December 8th will not be accepted. Winners will be notified by email.

Entries will be judged by a team of AUK professors based on the following criteria: correct use of the English language (25%), originality of thought (25%), relevance to topic (25%), and stylistic excellence (25%).


$500 for the First Place winner and an opportunity to have his/her essay published. $250 for the Second Place, and $100 for the Third Place.

Topics (choose one of the following):
  1. Examine the use of social media in today's society and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of its use within your community.
  2. What impediments to success do today's women face and what course of action must be taken to confront those challenges?
  3. What do you think the next 10 years will look like for Kurdistan, while taking into consideration the current social, economic, and political state?

Conditions of participation:

No transfer, reassignment, or substitution of prizes is permitted-except AUK reserves the right to substitute a prize (or prize component) for an item of equal or greater value at its discretion. Nothing in the official contest rules obligates AUK to publish or otherwise use any entry submitted in connection with this contest. Entrants agree to be bound by these rules and by the decisions of the contest committee, which are final and binding on all matters pertaining to this contest. By entering, the Entrant is representing than any essay or other materials submitted are the original work of the Entrant and not copied from any other source and will not constitute defamation or an invasion of privacy or otherwise infringe upon the rights of any third party. By entering, the Entrant grants to AUK and its affiliates a nonexclusive, worldwide, royalty-free license to edit, publish, promote, and republish at any time in future and otherwise use the Entrant's submitted essay, along with the Entrant's name, likeness, statements, biographical information, and any other information provided by the Entrant in any and all media for possible editorial, promotional, or advertising purpose without further permission, notice, or compensation.

As a condition of receiving any prize, potential Winners may be required to sign and return forms certifying: a) that their entry is indeed their sole work; b) that they are eligible under contest rules; c) that the essay and any other materials submitted do not defame or invade the privacy of a third party; and d) that the essay and other materials submitted are original and have never before been published or submitted to a prior competition. Failure to comply with this requirement may result in forfeiture of the prize and selection of an alternate winner. Acceptance of any prize in connection with this contest constitutes permission for AUK and its affiliates to use the Winner's name and/or likeness, biographical information, essay, and other materials submitted by the Winner for advertising and promotional purposes without additional compensation unless otherwise prohibited by law.

By entering and/or accepting a prize, Entrants and Winners agree to indemnify AUK and its affiliates and respective partners, directors, officers, and employees for liability, damages, or claims for injury or loss in connection with this contest. False or deceptive entries or acts will render the Entrant ineligible. AUK reserves the immediate and unrestricted right to disqualify any entrant or prize winner if either commits or has committed an act or becomes involved in a situation or occurrence which AUK determines will reflect unfavorably upon it or its affiliates or its partners in any way. AUK is not responsible for any typographical errors in the printing of its offer, the administration of the contest, or in the announcement of the Winners.