Rules and guidelines IYPE Student Contest


The General Assembly of the United Nations has proclaimed 2008 as the International Year of Planet Earth (IYPE). Its subtitle ‘ Earth Sciences for Society’ reflects the IYPE’s main ambition: to make our planet a safer, healthier and wealthier place for its human societies by ensuring a greater and more effective use of the knowledge accumulated by the world’s 400.000 Earth scientists.

On 12 and 13 February 2008, the International Year of Planet Earth will be officially launched at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris. This event will be co-organized by the IYPE Corporation and the National Committee of the IYPE in France, together with IUGS and UNESCO. UNESCO’s Director General Koïchiro Matsuura will host the Event and some Heads of State will be invited to address the audience.
This Global Launch Event includes discussions on three challenging topics (provisional titles):
1.   Population growth and climate change: challenges for Planet Earth
2.   Resources: threat or treat?
3. Geohazards: Minimizing risk – maximizing awareness

These issues will be discussed by top scientists, CEOs of leading industries and leading politicians. Such discussions will be preceded by selected essays or poems from a crowd of 350 invited, award-winning students from across the globe. National Committees will play a key role in selecting the best students. Significant time has been scheduled for the participants to be involved in the discussions.

During this Event world leaders in politics, science and industry will share their views and visions on these challenges and raise issues concerning their solution or mitigation.

Apart from these VIPs, a maximum of 350 students from all around the world will be invited to participate in the Global Launch Event. It is considered that the creativity and perception of these students will contribute to new perspectives on the major themes of the International Year of Planet Earth.

In order to bring this about, the International Year of Planet Earth Corporation is organizing an International IYPE Student Contest.

Who may participate?

All 18-22 year old students from around the world are invited to participate in the IYPE Student Contest. All students should be at least 18 yours old on the day they apply for a visa.

How to participate?

To enter the IYPE Student Contest, all students are invited to approach one of the themes mentioned below in a creative way. This might vary from writing an essay, song or poem, producing a drawing or painting, making a short video film, a cartoon story, a photograph, et cetera. Students are invited to focus their item of work on one or more of the following ten topics.

Groundwater – towards sustainable use
Hazards – minimizing risk, maximizing awareness
Earth & Health – building a safer environment
Climate – the ‘stone tape’
Earth’s Resources – towards sustainable use
Megacities – going deeper, building safer
Deep Earth – from crust to core
Ocean – abyss of time
Soil – Earth’s living skin
Earth & Life – the origins of diversity

We invite students to approach their preferred topic(s) from their own, personal perspective, driven by their individual cultural background and education. For more information about these topics we invite you to read or download the respective brochures from this web site.

Volume requirements
Students should take good notice of the following volume requirements:
Essay: maximum of 1600 words
Poem/song: maximum of 400 words
Drawing/painting: maximum A3
Video message: maximum of 10 minutes (recorded digitally).

Evaluation (brief)
All work produced will be evaluated by the respective National IYPE Committees, and the five best per nation will then be selected as award-winners. Work produced by students in countries that do not yet have a National IYPE Committee should be sent to the IYPE Secretariat for evaluation by the IYPE’s Outreach Programme Committee.

Students are invited to produce their work in English or French unless prior agreement on other languages is obtained from their National Committee. Award winning works must be translated into English or French (see under: How to submit?)

Acknowledgement and awards

Trip to Paris
Dependent on the available funds, the best or all award-winning students, subject to a maximum 350, will be invited to take a four-day (11-14 February) trip to Paris, entirely free of charge, and to participate in the Global Launch Event of the International Year of Planet Earth on 12 and 13 February 2008. Funds will be sought from or through National IYPE Committees, from industry, Foundations and donors. Industrialized nations are invited to support travel and expenses for award-winning students from developing countries.

Performance on stage
Three out of all award-winning students will be selected and invited to perform or display and comment upon their work on stage during the Global Launch Event as an introduction to each of the three debates (see above).

All Award-winning students will receive an Official Certificate.

The works of all award-winning students will be posted on the website of the International Year of Planet Earth ( Also, a publication with a selection of the award-winning works will be published some time after the Global Launch Event and will be sent to all invited students.  

Geo Song

A cultural event has been scheduled for the first day of the Global Launch Event (on February 12th). This will have at its core a performance of a dedicated “Geo Song”. In the interests of maximum audience involvement and to imbue this event with an appropriate international flavour designed to generate a sense of community, all 350 students are invited to participate in some aspect of the presentation of the Geo Song. A rehearsal will take place on the evening prior to the Global Launch Event under the direction of a professional conductor.

How to submit?
1.   If a National IYPE Committee is active in your country, please submit your work to that National Committee. Check flags on the IYPE National Committees page for details.
2.   If no National IYPE Committee exists in your country, please submit your work to the IYPE Secretariat. Address: IYPE Secretariat, attn. Åse Minde, NO-7491, Trondheim, Norway.

All works should be labeled as follows: full name, date of birth, place of birth, email address (if applicable) and student ID number together with a certification that the student is able to understand English or French. All documents should be written in Microsoft Office Word.


Works must be submitted so as to ensure delivery to National IYPE Committees no later than November 15th 2007.

Evaluation procedure and deadlines

Submitted products will normally be evaluated by the National IYPE Committees, the evaluation being delegated to one or more individuals from within the membership of National Committees. It is recommended that the evaluation process should take place in the period November 16th to December 7th, 2007.

Critical evaluation criteria include:
Creativity and originality
Empathy with the topic
Style of production (design, wording, etc.).

Ultimately on December 7th 2007, National IYPE Committees will select the five best works (ranked 1-5, with 1 being the best) and inform the IYPE Secretariat of their decision by email (to This should immediately be followed by the dispatch by airmail (PRIORITY) of a high quality copy of the selected works with a 5-line motivation per student to the Secretariat.

On December 20th 2007, the IYPE Corporation will determine the number of students for whom funds are available to enable them to come to Paris. This information will be conveyed directly by email to the contact persons in the National IYPE Committees who will inform the selected students.

If applicable, the National IYPE Committees will translate all award winning works into English and/or French before January 15th, 2008.

Only works in English or French are eligible for submission directly to the IYPE Secretariat. Such works must be dispatched so as to arrive at the Secretariat in Norway on or before November 15th 2007. A team of Officers of the IYPE Outreach Programme Committee will then select the best entries (a maximum of 5 per country). Depending on the available funds, a number of these award-winning students will be chosen to attend the Global Launch Event. The students selected will be informed by the Secretariat (by email) before December 20th 2007.

From all award winning works (both those submitted to the National IYPE Committees and those sent to the IYPE Secretariat) the Outreach Programme Committee will select the three most appropriate works for presentation on stage on January 20th 2008. The three students will be informed of their selection no later than January 30th 2008.