Youth Essay Contest
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Essay Contest

How to Build a Better Future for Latin America


On October 8, 2014, Ms. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), honored the eight finalists of the student essay contest during an awards ceremony at the IMF headquarters, held in conjunction with the IMF’s 2014 Annual Meetings. The winner of the essay competition was announced during the event. "Among all these high caliber essays, Lorena Rojas’s contribution stood out as an articulate and comprehensive account of the challenges facing Latin America’s youth today," Ms. Lagarde noted.

Read the Press Release


The IMF would like to thank all of the students from Latin America and the Caribbean who participated in the “How to Build a Better Future for Latin America” essay contest.

1,100 essays were received from students in 23 countries studying in a variety of academic programs (economics, medicine, biology, law, etc.) at both public and private universities. An evaluation committee has reviewed these essays and selected the group of eight finalists who will be invited to the 2014 Annual Meetings of the IMF and World Bank in October.

The names of the eight contest finalists are:

  • Daniela Amórtegui Martinez, 19 years, Colombian, Universidad del Rosario, Colombia (Essay)
  • Luiz Guilherme de Brito Soares, Brazilian, Universidade Católica de Pernambuco, Brazil (Essay)
  • Gonzalo Huertas, 26 years, Argentinean, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina (Essay)
  • Nabil Lopez Hawa, 24 years, Dominican, Michigan University, USA (Essay)
  • Mariana Montero Vega, 19 years, Costa Rica, Universidad de Costa Rica (Essay)
  • Mauricio Rada Orellana, 19 years, Peruvian, Universidad del Pacifico, Peru (Essay)
  • Adriana Lorena Rojas Castro, 29 years, Colombian, Universidad de Concepción, Chile (Essay)
  • Monica Sodré Pires, 29 years, Brazilian, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil (Essay)

Read the Press Release


March 8 - June 30, 2014

In preparation for the 2015 Annual Meetings in Lima the IMF invites students from Latin-American universities to write a short (500 word) essay (see Press Release). The essay, under the theme "How to Build a Better Future for Latin America", should focus on the issues and challenges that youth see facing future generations in the region and their possible solutions. The essay contest is open to students in multiple countries in the region. The official languages for the essay competition are Spanish, English and Portuguese.

Essay Framing Questions:

(i) In your opinion, what are the three main challenges facing the region?;

(ii) What is the one issue that concerns you the most about your future?; and

(iii) what can you and your generation do now and over the course of the next 10 years to improve the prospects for our region?

Eligible Participants:

Under-graduate and graduate university students in Latin America.

Essay Length:

No more than 500 words

Essay Languages:

English, Portuguese, Spanish

Essay Submission Deadline:

June 30, 11:59 p.m. (EST), sent to the following email:

Essay Guidelines:

All submitted essays must respond to the three questions stated above, be written in one of the three contest languages, and not go beyond a length of 500 words. In reviewing contest essays, the evaluation committee will take into account these requirements, and also consider: the essays’ purposefulness, originality, coherence, structure and eloquence; the essays’ countries of origin; gender; equal representation of public and private universities; and academic diversity.

Winning Prize:

Five finalists will be announced in July 2014. All five finalists will be invited to participate in the October 2014 IMF Annual Meetings in Washington D.C. (the IMF will cover the travel and living expenses for five to seven days). The winner will be announced in Washington, and the winner and a runner-up will be invited to join the Annual Meetings Youth Dialogue panel which will be hosted by a member of IMF senior management and webcast live on the IMF website.


The essay contest is intended for young undergraduate and postgraduate students. Is there an age limit?
The contest is open to young postgraduate and undergraduate students attending public and private universities in Latin America. While there is no age limit, the contest is intended for young university students.

Can young people participate who have completed undergraduate programs, i.e., holders of bachillerato and/or licenciatura degrees?
Students interested in participating in the essay contest must be enrolled at a university or institute of higher education. Participants must provide their personal details (name, university/educational institution, department/program, age, city, country) at the time they send in their essay.

Can young post-graduate students participate who are attending programs other than masters programs, such as short courses, extension courses, etc.?
Yes, young students who are enrolled in short courses or extension courses may participate in the essay contest.

Is it necessary to attach a certificate of academic attendance?
It is not necessary to submit a certificate of academic attendance; however, you must specify the university and academic program which you are attending. Once a student is selected as finalist, the evaluation committee will verify the student’s background with the student’s university of origin.

I have studied at a Latin American university, but I am not a Latin American national. Can I participate?
If a young person is not already studying at a university, he or she may not participate. If the young student is not a national of Latin American or Caribbean countries, he/she may not participate even though he/she is studying in Latin America.

How can I check to see whether my e-mail arrived, is there a response time or acknowledgment of receipt?
The IMF will send an e-mail acknowledging receipt to those individuals seeking to participate in the essay contest.

Is the correspondence e-mail address case-sensitive (
The e-mail address is not case-sensitive.