My Magna Charta


During the International Council Meeting (ICM), held in Genoa (17 – 21 September 2014),  some initiatives were announced by ESU Headquarters – London.

The most interesting one, as a project, is called “My Magna Carta” to celebrate the 800th anniversary of the sealing of Magna Charta.


Young people – aged from 11 to 18 years old – in the UK and across the ESU’s member countries in the Commonwealth and across the world will be invited to create their own Magna Carta for the 21st century.  The competition is also open to entrants from other Commonwealth countries.  The project’s community involvement is therefore a global one and the marketing campaign will be targeted at school communities in the UK and around the world.

Whilst the competition is for single entries, we hope that it will be used to stimulate discussion and debate within the classroom.

Taking the Magna Carta as their source document, the world’s youth will be tasked with presenting a new document that safeguards and promotes the rights, privileges and liberties of either their own country or the Whole world.  As in the original document, entrants will need to give particular thought to the powers of presidents, prime ministers and monarchs that need to be limited.  Entrants will be encouraged to draw lessons from recent national and international events.

This exercise will be predominantly creative, but will also require a degree of academic understanding of the history, contents, and significance of the 1215 document.  The ESU will, therefore, provide links to teaching resources to introduce the topic to young people.

Entrants will be able to represent their Magna Carta as a written piece.  Video readings of the entry will be accepted but as an augmentation of the written entry.  International ESUs will be requested to hold their own national competitions with finalists presenting their work to an audience drawn from their own communities.  The top two entries from the national finals will then be submitted to the ESU Central panel for judging. Continent winners (plus the UK winner) will be invited to a Magna Carta Celebration Gala at the ESU HQ in London to present their entry to a live audience.  The event will be live streamed Worldwide to allow the participants’ host communities (amongst Others) to witness the presentation and join the subsequent questioning of the presenter.

Anticipated impact of the project

The object of My Magna Carta is to enable the participants to gain a firm grasp of the concepts of liberty and the original principles of the Magna Charta itself: concepts and principles which they will carry with them through their intire life and pass onto the communities in which they live, learn and subsequently work.. The ESU is dedicated to enabling ypoung people to play an active and continuing role in civil society.  We believe that this project will foster a deeper understanding of the key  principles that underlay Magna Carta and which are the  bedrock of democracy and liberty.

A key element of the final stages of the competition is that those brought to London to present their case receive mentoring from ESU’s education and speech/debate personnel, who will give international finalist training in public presentation and engagement techniques to help them in the final and to aid them to become Ambassadors for the principles of Magna Charta on their return home.

Resources for International ESUs

Online promotional film, website and entry form – available end October

Downloadable competition brochure

Downloadable Educational introduction to Mgna Charta

Facebook and Google Adwords campaign – 20 weeks: November 2014-April 2015

Access to live streaming of Gala Final


End October – Microsite goes live

End October 2014 – 5 May2015 Competition open

May/June 2015 – UK and regional ingternational judging

July/August – ESU HQ judging panel draws up short list from national groups (approx. 50 entries)

August 2015 – Invitations sent to finalist to attend London presentation of MY MAGNA CARTA (under embargo)

September 2015 – Announcement of short list

October 2015 – Participants arrive in London; housed at Royal Holloway College.  Final Presentation and judging at ESU Dartmouth House, filmed and live streamed Worldwide.  Global winner announced.

Creation of Legacy Website and booklet of 50 shortlisted entries.


Central Judging Panel

Dr. Katherine Williams (Chair)

Prof. James Raven

Sian Williams

Justin Champion


Terms and Conditions

1. The Competition is open to 11-18 years old from the UK, Commonwealth and ESU member countries, divided into 2 categories: 11-14 and 15-18 (age at closing date).

2. Only one essay per entrant is allowed. Once an essay is submitted, you will not have the opportunity to revise it.  Please carefully check and improve your writing before submitting the final copy, and also ensure that all supplementary information is filled in correctly (name, age, contact details, etc.).

3. Entries must be written in English.

4. Online video entries should be read, ratjher than performed, and a written entry must also be submitted.

5. Entries must be original work of the writer. Whereas it might be relevant to receive help while discussing and shaping possible material for the piece of writing, the final copy submitted for the competition MUST be the entrant’s own work, and cannot be unduly corrected of improved by another person.

6. ntrants must submit an entry form alongside thaeir essay and complete all amndatory fields.  Video entries should begin by giving the necessary supplementary information (name, age, contaxt details, etc.).

7. The maximum words counts are 500-750 words for Junior entries and 750-1250 words for Senior entries. These words limits apply to all entries sumitted, including those via video. Exceeding the word count will result automatically disqualification.

8. All entries must be submitted before midnight (GMT) on Tuesday 5 May 2015.


Guidance Notes

1. Entries must be original work of the writer.  This does not rule out input or assistance from others.  However, an entry will be disregarded if there is any suggestion of plagiarism.

2. Award-winning entrants are expected to show originality and flair, linked to sound academic standard and competent use of English as a written language.  This exercise will be predominantly creative, but will also require a substantial degree of academic understanding of the history, contents, and significance of the 1215 document.  Links to further resources are available on the website.

3. Entrants ar advised that illustrations and designs additional to the text, whist not discouraged, will not be taken into account by the judging panel.  For video entries, it is content which will be judged; no performance elements will be considered by the panel.


Junior Awards Categories (Ages 11-14)                           Senior Awards Categories (Ages 15-18)

Junior Overall Winner                                                             Senior Overall Winner

Junior UK Winner                                                                     Senior UK Winner

Junior Regional Winners (by continent)                               Senior Regional Winners (by continent)

Specially Commended                                                            Specially Commended


For further information:

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