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Essay Competition Sponsored by U.S. Embassy Riga in Honor of:Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Black History Month

U.S. Embassy Riga is proud to sponsor this essay competition to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Winners will be announced in February, which has been designated Black History Month in the United States to celebrate the role(s) of African-Americans in U.S. history, culture, and society.


The Embassy invites essay submissions from students aged 16 - 18 years of age on the topic statement given below. There will be prizes for the top essay submission from each of five regions on Latvia (including the capital).

Winners from each region will be candidates for the grand prize, the chance to participate in the 2010 Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute*. The Summer Institute enables teenagers aged 16 to 18 to participate in an exchange program of three to four weeks focused on the global issues that European and American youth face on both sides of the Atlantic Oceans. 

Please note the following:

• Essays should be 500 words (approximately two pages) in length.
• Essays should be word-processed or typed with at least 1.5 line spacing.
• Essays should be written in English.
• Judging will be based upon originality and creativity of thought in response to the topic statement.

Topic: "Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is quoted as saying, ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.’  What did he mean by that?  Do you agree with this quote?  What relevance does this quote have for your community, country, school, and for you?”

Background: Dr. Martin Luther King devoted his life’s work to causes of equality, social justice and service to others. His lectures and dialogues sparked the conscience of a generation of Americans, and people around the world.  In his fight for civil rights, Dr. King inspired Americans to think beyond themselves, look past differences and work toward equality.  His charismatic leadership inspired men and women, young and old, in America and across the globe.

Deadline for receiving essays: February 9, 2010

Completed essays should be sent to the U.S. Embassy by email at  In the email’s subject line, please include the words “Essay Contest” and please indicate the name of the city, town or village you live in. 

The results will be announced the week of February 22, 2010 during a reception in Riga.