About the Contest

The Center for Interfaith Relations (CIR) is soliciting previously unpublished essays from emerging young authors (ages 13-18) discussing the term “one human family” and how people relate to each other despite differences. Explore themes such as acceptance, tolerance, compassion and cooperation between different cultures, ethnicities and other communities. Works that consider these topics in the context of faith or investigate sacred themes are welcome and encouraged.

If you have questions or comments, please email contests@interfaithrelations.org.

Questions to consider

  • What steps do you believe need to be taken for growing tensions in this country to ease?
  • How can the political narrative be shifted from one of fearmongering to one of compassion and kindness?
  • What role do faith communities play in advocating tolerance, if any?
  • Do you agree or disagree with your own (or another) community’s understanding of acceptance?
  • What does acceptance and welcoming look like in your family/community/etc.?
  • What do you do in your daily life to promote tolerance and acceptance?

Words and themes to consider

LGBTQ+ Rights
The American “Melting Pot”
Hope for a Better Future
Our Planet

Contest Rules

  • Submissions should be one Microsoft Word document between 250 and 1,500 words.

  • Deadline to submit is 5 p.m. EST on Friday, February 17, 2023.

  • Essay must be anonymous. The author’s name must not appear anywhere on attached document.
  • Submissions should be double spaced, Times New Roman 12-point font, with no headers or footers.

  • Simultaneous submissions are welcome, but please notify us immediately via Submittable’s “Withdraw” option if your work is accepted elsewhere.

  • One (1) Grand Prize winner will be published online by LEO Weekly and on our website and will receive a cash prize of $100.

  • Essays selected for honorable mentions will be awarded a $25 honorarium.

  • If accepted for publication, CIR retains the first North American serial rights of the work to publish, produce, reproduce, distribute, and market. All other remaining rights revert to the author upon publication. If the work is published again, we ask for a credit line to indicate that the work first appeared with CIR’s Young Authors Sacred Essay.

  • All decisions are made by Center for Interfaith Relations and delegated judges, and are final.

  • Contest is open to all residents of the United States ages 13-18.