The Queen's Commonwealth
Essay Competition

2018 Competition: 'Towards a Common Future'

The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition is the world's oldest schools’ international writing programme, run by The Royal Commonwealth Society since 1883. Every year, the competition receives entries from thousands of young people across the Commonwealth, in which they express their thoughts on the past, opinions of the present and hopes for the future. The competition is a highly regarded and popular international education project, run in partnership with CLANED. Past winners include Mr Lee Hsien Loong, the Prime Minister of Singapore and writers Elspeth Huxley and Mei Fong. For 2017, the competition will explore A Commonwealth for Peace.

Building upon the 2017 theme of 'A Commonwealth for Peace', this year’s theme 'Towards a Common Future' and its topics ask young writers to explore how the Commonwealth can address global challenges and work to create a better future for all citizens through sub-themes of sustainability, safety, prosperity and fairness, in line with the theme of the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London.


Four young writers from the Nordic-Baltic region are receive the first Gold and Silver Awards in the region for their entries in The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition 2018. The competition is the world’s oldest international schools’ writing competition is from 2018 also open to young people in Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway and Sweden.

The Winners produced highly original and thought-provoking short stories on such varied topics as the impact of environmental damage on future generations, educational inequality, and the competing concepts of Wealth, Freedom, Health andHappiness.

  • Senior Category Gold Finalist, Mekyle Ali Qadir, is a Pakistani national and lives in Tampere, Finland. Read Mekyle's entry.
  • Junior Category Gold Finalist, Minea Suominen, is a Finnish national from Naantali, Finland. Read Minea's entry.
  • Senior Category Silver Finalist, Mikaela Sandelin, is a Finnish national from Kaarina, Finland. Read Mikaela's entry.
  • Junior Category Silver Finalist Myy Käyhkö, is a Finnish national from Savonlinna, Finland. Read Myy's entry.

Entries were assessed by volunteer judges all based in Finland. Harri Jaskari MP commented, ‘All participants had special personal opinions about life and happiness’. Siri Kolu stated, regarding the senior winner, ‘the essay is well composed and very impressive’ and for theJunior winning essay ‘A charming piece of writing’.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the essays are not necessarily shared or endorsed by The Royal Commonwealth Society.

inaugural nordic-baltic judging

  • Minna Ekblom, Leadership coach 
  • Harri Jaskari MP, Member of Finnish Parliament
  • Siri Kolu, Finnish Children’s Author 
  • Kaj Kunnas, Finnish sports journalist
  • Elina Lepomäki MP, Member of Finnish Parliament 
  • Arto Nyberg, Finnish TV-journalist 
  • HE Blanche Olbery, Ambassador of Malaysia to Finland
  • Nasima Razmyar, Deputy Mayor of Helsinki
  • Markus Selin, Finnish Film Producer
  • Iiro Seppänen, Finnish film maker
  • HE Carmen Smidt, Ambassador of South Africa to Finland
  • Francis Uy, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Canada in Finland


The RCS has a rich history of nurturing the creative talents of young people around the Commonwealth. We endeavour to promote literacy, expression and creativity among young people by celebrating excellence and imagination. In 2015, the contest was renamed ‘The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition’, in honour of HM Queen Elizabeth II’s role as both Head of the Commonwealth and Patron of the Royal Commonwealth Society.