Rules for the Dream Deferred Essay Contest

Who can enter the contest?
Entrants must be 25 years old or younger as of the contest deadline. Entrants must reside in Arab League member states, Iran, Afghanistan, or the United States. There is no minimum age requirement, and entrants do not need to be students. Prizes are awarded as cash, not scholarships. Foreign Students: If you are a foreigner currently studying in the US, you can enter the contest. If you are a Middle Easterner studying in the US, answer one of the questions posed to Middle Easterners. If you are a citizen of the Middle East temporarily living outside the region, you can still enter the contest. If you are an American currently living overseas, you can enter the contest. Equal Opportunity: All essays are evaluated without regard for race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation of the author, as well as other classifications protected by applicable international US laws.

How long should entries be?
Essays should be at least 600 words, but no longer than 1,500 words. Footnotes, citations, and essay title do not count towards the word limit.

Can an essay entry remain anonymous?
If do not want your name made public in the event your essay is selected as a winner, check the "anonymous" box when submitting your essay. Several past winners have chosen this option.

What are common mistakes to avoid when writing an essay?
Do not focus on US government policy and regional geopolitics (the Iraq War debate, the Arab-Israeli-Iranian conflict, Iran's nuclear program, etc.). Essays based on these topics are disqualified. Judges are looking for essays that explore what ordinary citizens can do on the grassroots level to strengthen individual rights within Middle Eastern societies. These civil rights include, but are not limited to, free expression, women's equality, minority rights, religious freedom, economic liberty, and artistic freedom. Check out the Guide to Writing a Good Essay, which includes helpful tips for each question.