Detailed Rules and Guidelines


Students must write about the following topics:

Topic A

60th Anniversary of “Ich bin ein Berliner”

President John F. Kennedy gave his famous speech in front of Schöneberg Town Hall in Berlin 60 years ago. The phrase “Ich bin ein Berliner” emphasized the American support for West Berlin. The speech became one of the most famous speeches given during the Cold War and the few German words in it often repeated. The Cold War has since ended and the political geography in Germany, as well as Europe, has changed. Why did “Ich bin ein Berliner” resonate around the world in 1963? Did it mean different things to different populations or countries? Does this speech still have meaning in 2023? Why or why not?

Topic B

Sister Cities

Over 200 cities across the United States are connected to a German sister city. These official partnerships foster communication and connection in areas such as culture, business, technology, education, the environment and much more. Sister cities often have exchanges on all levels and the programs are designed for citizen diplomacy. Research what a sister city is and tell us about them. Is your city one of the cities with a German sister city or is there one near you? If so, tell us about it. Are there ways you can get involved? If you do not have a German sister city partnership near you, what German city would you like to see as a sister city in your area? Why?

Topic C

75th Anniversary of the Berlin Airlift

The Berlin Airlift is often called the first battle of the Cold War. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the 15th month mission to keep over 2 million West Berliner supplied through air transport. Research and learn more about the Berlin Airlift. Why did the countries involved in the Berlin Airlift think it was so important to keep West Berlin supplied? Does this historical event still play and important role in today’s transatlantic relationship? Why or why not?

* Essays must be in English.

* 300 words or fewer for Grades 3-5; 500 words for Grades 6-12. (Note: More does not mean better! Focus on quality, not quantity.)

* Students may submit only one essay per person.

* Submit entries as .doc (Microsoft Word), .pdf (Adobe Acrobat), .odt (OpenOffice), scanned-in graphic files (jpg, etc.) or .txt (Simple Text) files only.

* Email your essay to Jennifer Clardy Chalmers (Jennifer.Clardy-Chalmers[at]opendiplo.de). *Entry must include the author’s name, grade level, school name and school address at the beginning of the essay.

* Please note: due to the high number of entries, it is not possible to send out an email confirmation for every entry. Should you wish to inquire about whether or not your entry was received, send a separate email to the entry address.

All students enrolled in 3rd through 12th grade in the U.S.A. are eligible. Seniors graduating in 2023 are eligible. Students enrolled in DoDDS schools or schools in American overseas territories with APO mailing addresses are eligible. Homeschooled students are also eligible.

Each essay must be the sole work of the author.

Entries may be submitted by individual writers or by their teachers.

Entries must include the name of the student & teacher/advisor, the grade level of student, the email address of student & teacher, and a postal address for the student & teacher. This information enables the German Embassy to quickly award prizes and prize packages. No personal or contact information will be handed over to a third party.

Only electronically submitted essays will be accepted.

Entries must be 300 words or fewer for elementary students; 500 words or less for middle and high school students.

Submitted entries will become the property of the German Embassy Washington; they may appear online or in print in associated publications.

The decision of the panel of judges from German Embassy Washington is final.

Students are encouraged to review spelling, grammar and punctuation.

DEADLINE for entries is April 15, 2023. Winners will be notified prior to May 31, 2023.

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