Fourth Essex student wins global essay contest

  • Date

    Fri 11 Aug 17

Clara Mayerl speech at UN

For the past four years, Essex students have won the Many Languages, One World Essay Contest for the UN Academic Impact outreach programme (UNAI) by ELS.

This year, Clara Mayerl, an MSc Conflict Resolution graduate from our Department Government, won with her essay on the role of multilingual ability in fostering global citizenship and cultural understanding. The essay had to be written in one of the official languages of the United Nations (UN) and not in Clara’s French mother tongue.

Fourth Essex student wins global essay contest

The essay 

Out of more than 2,000 other essays submitted from 170 countries and 57 universities, Clara’s essay was chosen due to her originality, quality of thought and her written and spoken language proficiency.

Speaking at the United Nations 

As her reward, Clara went on an all-expense-paid trip to New York and Boston in July, attending the Many Languages, One World Global Youth Forum, creating an action plan related to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and presenting the plan at the General Assembly of the United Nations Headquarters.

Clara said: “I spent months last year writing a 'perfect' essay but I was not selected. This year, I was not going to participate but two nights before the contest’s deadline, I suddenly decided to write another essay. I wanted to tell them what I really felt about being from four different countries and having lived in five others. I was not writing to win with a perfect essay; I was sharing my honest thoughts, fears, and hopes."

“When I got the email confirming that I was one of the 10 winners, I was not only happy but also proud for winning with my actual thoughts and feelings on paper. In Boston and New York, I met incredible people full of potential and dreams for our generation. Being able to stand where the greatest leaders of all time gave speeches that inspired all of us was and will probably stay as one of the best moments of my life. I advise all students studying any field to participate, as it will probably mark your life even if you do not win. We need to reflect more often on our world’s diversity and multilingualism potential.”

Dr Manuela Nocker, University representative for the UNAI programme, said: “It’s been a great joy to hear about Clara winning this year’s contest. In my role of UNAI representative, I couldn’t be prouder. Together with the three previous winners, Clara represents a great inspiration for other students to be bold in pursuing their dreams.”

“Being able to stand where the greatest leaders of all time gave speeches that inspired all of us was and will probably stay as one of the best moments of my life.”

The contest

Many Languages, One World challenges students around the globe to write an essay examining global citizenship, cultural understanding, and the role that multilingual ability can have in fostering both. The contest supports multilingualism and recognizes the impact of the UNs six official languages - Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.