Homepage 2021

Irish Young Philosopher Awards are back in 2021

We would love to hear your
philosophical thoughts!

Local IYPA

This year we ask primary and secondary school students in Ireland and Northern Ireland to create a short project on any philosophical question they consider important to think about in the current time. It can be a general or a timeless philosophical question, or one that reflects on current circumstances. See below under ‘Local IYPA’ for information about the sort of written and visual projects that may be submitted.

The best entries will be awarded a prize and they will be published on the UCD Centre for Ethics in Public Life website and the IYPA website.

All entries should be submitted by Friday 16th of April 2021. Entries should be emailed to the IYPA email address: youngphilosopherawards@ucd.ie

All second level students and 5th and 6th class primary level students on the island of Ireland are eligible to apply. Individuals, groups and classes may submit an entry. Please make sure you include the names of all participants or your class name and contact details at the top of your work. See instructions below.

New international awards

We are also delighted to announce the launch of a separate International Award on a specific philosophical theme. For more information about how to participate in the International Award see below under ‘International Award’.

Local IYPA

How do I Participate in the Irish Award?

  • Decide whether you want to work as an individual or a group (this may be a class).
  • Choose a philosophical issue that you find interesting and important.
  • Create a specific philosophical question which will be the focus of your project.
  • Discuss your question with your family, friends, and teachers.
  • Find information about your topic in books, on-line articles, and magazines.
  • Examine the different views on the question that you have raised and keep notes.
  • Create a project in response to the question or issue you think is most important. Your project can be in the format of a blog post, essay, letter, short story, dialogue, comic, podcast, or film.
  • If writing a blog or a written project you may include images to accompany your work. The length of written projects should be a maximum 1500 words.

What is a philosophical question?

  • Philosophical questions are juicy questions that create a lot of discussion and give us lots to think about.
  • Philosophical questions have more than one answer.
  • Philosophical questions prompt us to reflect on different and conflicting answers or views.
  • Philosophical questions deal with abstract, big ideas, which however are relevant to our everyday lives.
  • Quite often philosophical questions concern themselves with ethical issues. Do we have the right to treat nature as a resource? Do we have a moral obligation toward refugees? Should we limit our freedom in order to protect other people from dying? Do we have a responsibility to fight against inequality? These are timely philosophical questions which have a direct relation to problems that humanity currently faces.

When you find yourselves asking such questions, then you can be certain that you have entered the philosopher’s zone!

How do I submit?

All entries should be submitted by Friday 16th of April 2021. 

Entries should be emailed to the IYPA email address: youngphilosopherawards@ucd.ie

When you submit your entry, you must include the following information on your work or typed in the email you send:

  • Name (or the names of all members of your group or your class name)
  • School
  • Year Level
  • Email Contact
  • Teacher or Parent Name and Contact Details

International Awards

Due to popular demand, we are launching an international awards forum where students from across the world can be brought together and their voices can be heard. This year we are delighted to announce the inaugural International Young Philosopher Award. For this year’s International Prize, we ask international students to reflect on the topic of solidarity.

In a Covid-19 message, the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins highlighted the need to show “Solidarity, Care, Compassion and Kindness” in our collective response to the pandemic. But solidarity might be important for facing numerous challenges (e.g., the environmental crisis, racism, war, etc). We ask students from all around the world to wear their thinking hats and share with us their philosophical thoughts on the topic of solidarity.

The best entries will be awarded a prize and they will be published on the UCD Centre for Ethics in Public Life website and the IYPA website.

Here are some examples of philosophical questions relating to solidarity:

  • What is solidarity?
  • What does it mean to collaborate and act together?
  • Does recovering from the global COVID-19 pandemic require solidarity?
  • Is collective action important for addressing other current issues? Which issues and why?
  • Can humanity as a whole work together toward a common goal?
  • Is solidarity with a community of people important for a good life?
  • Do we require solidarity for creating change or to give us hope?
  • Is international solidarity possible?
  • Is solidarity important for promoting communication between different groups or nations?
  • Can solidarity be the cause of social tensions?
  • Can we express solidarity to people that we do not know?
  • Is solidarity only a human thing? Can we have solidarity with other beings, for example animals or nature?
  • Is solidarity always a good thing?
  • Is there a difference between solidarity and friendship?
  • Does collective action imply altruism?
  • Is solidarity compatible with individualism?
  • Can I express solidarity with someone with whom I disagree?
  • Can we distinguish between true and fake solidarity? On what grounds?
  • Does solidarity imply equality?

These are only indicative questions, and we encourage you to think of your own philosophical questions on the topic of solidarity. After all, part of being a good philosopher is to raise questions that nobody else has raised.

How do I participate?

The International Award is a topic-specific, school-based award, and it is limited to school-class or school-group projects. All second level students and 5th and 6th class primary level students from any country are eligible to apply. All entries must be in English.

To participate you will need:

  • To secure the written support of your school and teacher.
  • Choose a philosophical issue that is relevant to the topic of solidarity.
  • Create a specific philosophical question which will be the focus of your project.
  • Discuss your question with your families, friends, teachers and your class or group.
  • Find information about your topic in books, on-line articles, and magazines.
  • Examine the different views on the question that you have raised and keep notes.
  • Create a project in response to the question or issue you think is most important. Your project can be in the format of a blog post, essay, letter, short story, dialogue, comic, podcast, or film.
  • All entries must be in English.
  • If writing a blog or a written project you may include images to accompany your work. The length of written projects should be maximum 1500 words.

How do I submit?

All international entries should be submitted by Friday 16th of April 2021.

Entries should be emailed to the IYPA email address: youngphilosopherawards@ucd.ie

When you submit your entry, you must include the following information in the email you send:

  • A reference to the ‘International Young Philosopher Awards’ in the subject line of your email
  • A statement saying that the project is submitted for the IYPA International Award
  • A separate document of endorsement by your School Principal or Teacher on Letterhead (with contact details)
  • Names of all members of the Group or your Class Name
  • Name of the School, Country, and City
  • Year, Level
  • Email Contact
  • Teacher or Parent Name and Contact Details.

For all queries contact IYPA at: youngphilosopherawards@ucd.ie