Wednesday, 25 November 2015


2016 International Letter-Writing Competition for Young People

The theme selected for the 2016 competition is: "Write a letter to your 45-year-old self."

This topic was chosen to mark the 45th edition of the international contest. Children around the world are warmly encouraged to give flight to their imagination , while writing a letter to themselves in the future. Our view of the world tends to change as we grow older, with the risk that the older person forgets or abandons the concerns and dreams of their younger self. The past becomes another country whose language we no longer speak.
Young people and children under 15 make up a quarter of the world's population, yet their voices are seldom heard. Perhaps this is because the 45-year-olds do not realise what important things they themselves once understood and how much of value young people have to say. In this year's competition, young writers are given the opportunity to reach across their own generation divide into the future. An important message can be sent before the language of youth is lost.
All member countries are invited to participate by organizing a competition on the national level before sending their top composition to the UPU. Each country's best letter must be submitted to the International Bureau no later than 30 April 2016.
Rules of the International Letter-Writing Competition for Young People

1        Objective

The UPU’s International Letter-Writing Competition aims to improve literacy through the art of letter-writing. Targeted at children and young people, the annual contest encourages participants to express their creativity and refine their language skills. 

2        Participation

The competition is open to participants up to the age of 15 years.

The UPU International Bureau does not accept compositions sent directly by schools, individuals or similar.

3        Organization of the competition and selection of winners

The UPU announces the theme for the new competition by September of the current year.

Each member country then organizes a letter-writing competition on the theme in its territory as it sees fit but preferably with the help of its national education authorities.

The national organizing body/bodies shall choose the best composition in accordance with the general rules of the competition.

Each member country then sends the International Bureau their best national composition with the supporting documents (see below) by no later than 30 April of the following year. One entry per member country is permitted.

Each entry must be accompanied by the following documents:
a.         A completed entry form;
b.         The original letter in the following formats:
-       A good-quality scan in colour of the handwritten original (if available) in PDF format; and
-       As a Word document;
c.         A translation of the composition in English and/or French as Word documents; and
d.         A good quality photograph of the candidate
-       In JPEG format (300 dpi minimum); or
-       A print copy (please do not staple or glue the photo to any of the documents if sending by post).

4        Presentation and content of entries

Compositions must be in the form of a letter and contain the basic elements thereof such as date, opening and closing salutation and signature. The original composition may include illustrations from the candidate. Entries must adhere strictly to the theme and not exceed the limit of 1000 words in the original language.

To ensure the jury is able to judge the letters impartially, please ensure that there is no reference to your country in your national winner’s composition.

5          Jury designation and results

The UPU International Bureau will designate an international jury to judge the letters it receives. This jury will not be informed of the country of origin of the letter-writers.

The following criteria will be used to judge the quality of the letters:

-       Structure as a letter;
-       Adherence to the theme;
-       Creativity; and
-       Use of language.

The judges will select the best three entries (i.e. first, second and third places) and may also award special merits to other compositions. As soon as the UPU International Bureau receives the results from the jury, it will notify the member countries within a reasonable amount of time.

6        Prizes

The top winners will receive a special medal (gold for first prize, silver for second and bronze for third) and a certificate, as well as other prizes to commemorate their win (such other prizes to be decided by the UPU).

The gold medallist may also be offered a trip to the UPU headquarters in Berne, Switzerland, or an alternative prize to be decided at the sole discretion of the UPU.

Writers awarded a special mention will also receive a certificate as well as other prizes (such other prizes to be decided by the UPU).

7        Communications

The UPU International Bureau will undertake communication activities to ensure the widest possible publicity for the prize-winners, their countries and the letter-writing competition in general.

Member countries are warmly encouraged to make every effort to promote the competition and their prize-winners in their territory.

  Please send either by post to the attention of “International Letter-Writing Competition, Communication Programme” at the address provided in Annex 2 (“Entry form”), or by email to

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