The UNESCO Philosophy Day (3rd Thursday of Nov) Essay competition organized by Finland each year. Though the competition is also known as the Baltic Sea
Essay Event (please translate the page to English using Google) and the participants are chiefly Finland, Norway, Sweden, Estonia, etc. India has been participating since 2008 and has won a bronze and an honourable mention. This competition is like a warm up to the larger event - the International Philosophy Olympiad (IPO)- which happens in May and about
40 countries, including India, participate.
The competition is aligned with the spirit and the objectives of the international Philosophy Olympiad and although it began as a Finnish mini-olympiad, it is now a regional competition. (and beyond, depending on how you include India) It can be seen as an opportunity for different schools from different countries to search for their philosophy talent and then match it with each other. Students can see this as a preparation for the IPO as also a challenge to present their thoughts in a rational and organized manner.
The idea is to give the student an essay to write, based on either a philosophical question or a quote by some philosopher. The student has to present his/her views regarding the quote (or question) and argue either in favor of or against the author, using proper reasoning and examples, to prove or disprove the quote. (or to answer the question) Lookup the essays of the previous philosophy olympiads.
Any student in high school (usually standard XI & XII as far as India is concerned) can attempt this competition. Although it is not advisable (due to the higher difficulty level of the topics), it is possible for someone younger (say std IX or X) to also attempt it.
Four topics, (usually quotes by famous philosophers, see examples) will be sent to the teacher conducting the round in a school, on a pre-appointed date. Usually a couple of weeks before 18th Nov.
The teacher asks interested students to write the essay in a time span of 2 hrs, in her presence. Students should write the exam on a computer in either MS Word or a similar text-readable format. Students cannot use online (or paper) encyclopedias like Wikipedia, but may use a standard dictionary. The essay should be written in English only.
The teacher (maybe with help of others) evaluates them and send the best two essays to the coordinator of the region. For India, the coordination is being done by Prof. Kedar Soni from Abhinav Vidyalay & Jr. College, Dombivli, Maharashtra.
The coordinating team then evaluates these essays from all schools and sends the best two to the Finnish organizers.
The essays are evaluated by different international jury members (the process is web-based) and the awards are announced on the web and through email on the 19th Nov. The award-winning essays are displayed on the Net.
If you are a student, please ask your school to depute a teacher for organizing this competition, within your school. The teacher need not be a philosophy graduate, although a good Linguistic background is preferred, such as an English or Humanities teacher. However, it could also be your science teacher.
The teacher should send us an email containing his/her credentials, the school's name, address, telephone numbers and email id, so we can register your school. With this you can, under your teacher's guidance attempt this competition. (details of dates and the topics of essays will be sent to the teacher at the appropriate time)
If you are not able to get a teacher to arrange it for you, send an email to the coordinator and we will register you individually and will send you the instructions directly.
The participation is free.