May 9, 2011

The World Affairs Council of Seattle Announces Winners of the 13th Annual World Citizen Essay Contest

SEATTLE - The World Affairs Council of Seattle is pleased to announce the winners of the 13th Annual World Citizen Essay Contest.

Each year the World Affairs Council hosts the World Citizen Essay Contest for Washington State students in grades 3-12, with the goal of promoting discussion among students, teachers, families, and community members about the ways that individuals can effect positive change in the global community.

This year, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the World Affairs Council and the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Seattle World's Fair, the World Affairs Council embarked on a two-year partnership with the Seattle Center Foundation to deliver the 13th Annual World Citizen Essay Contest! Youth in grades 3-12 were encouraged to ponder the following question:

Looking back over the last 60 years, please identify a Puget Sound-based innovation that has left its mark around the world. Explain why and how this innovation had an impact beyond the United States. (This impact can be related to the arts, sports, music, popular culture, technology, civic action, global health, education, manufacturing, etc.)

Essays were judged based on the strength and merit of their argument, organizational structure, and attention to detail (grammar, spelling, conventions). Students were encouraged to be creative in selecting their topics.

In the 9-12 grade group, Zanwar Faraj, a 10th grader at Sammamish High School in Bellevue, captured first place with his essay entitled, "The New Era of Commerce." Zanwar writes, "With the emergence of Amazon in 1995, the revolutionary global e-commerce industry was formed. The business model of Amazon radically altered the way world consumers shop, allowing us to substitute the shopping cart with the mouse. E-commerce enjoys numerous advantages, not limited to cost effectiveness and receptiveness to environmental concerns." Blake Peterson from Kamiakin Junior High School in Kirkland won second place with his essay about Starbucks entitled "Innovations in a Cup of Coffee," and Elena Plenefisch, also from Kamiakin Junior High School, won third place with her essay on locally developed mobile ultrasound technology entitled, "Healthcare to Go."

In the 6-8 grade group, Arun Palaniappan, a 7th grader at Odle Middle School in Bellevue, took first place with his essay, "Eradicating Deadly Diseases: The Washington Global Health Alliance." He writes, "Members of the WGHA together are leading the international efforts to eradicate deadly diseases, and they are helped a lot by the advantages they receive for being a part of the WGHA (financial support, for one). This type of alliance is very unique. But eradicating diseases isn't all the members of the WGHA do. From curbing CO2 emissions to eliminating premature childbirth, members focus on projects concerning every aspect of global health." Zachary Cushman from Haller Middle School in Arlington won second place for his essay about food innovation and fighting hunger entitled, "Achievements of Ultra Rice." Matthew Taylor, also from Haller Middle School, won third place with his essay entitled, "Sightlife," which explores eye banks and inexpensive solutions to blindness.

In the 3-5 grade group, Kendall Barton, a 5th grader at Bryant Elementary School in Seattle, won first place with her essay, "Theo Chocolate." She writes, "Theo Chocolate has impacted the world by making conditions better for cacao farmers. By buying beans from so many different places they've helped many families and communities. In some cases, Theo Chocolate has invested 5% above the Fair Trade premium in technological advances for the cacao growers. I think that in this way they are very important to many cacao producers." Jacob Cain from View Ridge Elementary School in Everett won second place with his essay ", It's Something New." The third place winner in this category is Alex MacLean from Bryant Elementary, who explored local contributions to innovation in visual art with his essay entitled, "Dale Chihuly, A Northwest Innovator."

A celebration to honor the 2011 World Citizen Essay Contest winners is in the planning stage, likely to take place in the beginning of June 2011. Further details will be provided; please check the World Affairs Council website for updates in the coming weeks.

The annual World Citizen Essay Contest is an initiative of the World Affairs Council's educational department, Global Classroom. All essays are available on the World Affairs Council website at:


About theWorld Citizen Essay Contest

The goal of the World Citizen Essay Contest is to promote discussion among students, teachers, families, and community members about the ways that individuals can effect positive change in the global community.

About the World Affairs Council

The World Affairs Council links Greater Seattle to the world. World Affairs Council programs provide opportunities for everyone in Greater Seattle to be a global citizen by advancing a deep understanding of international events and culture. As a hub for all things international, the World Affairs Council creates programs and opportunities for local people to interact directly with leaders, educators, and professionals from around the world.

The World Affairs Council values global citizenship and cultural exchange for everyone and strives to enrich Greater Seattle's civic and cultural conversation with world perspectives through programs that:

* Allow for one-on-one conversations with government, business, and civic leaders from other nations;

* Provide professional and social connections with others who share a passion for world affairs; and

* Educate and empower the next generation of global leaders.

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