July Fourth Essay Contest on the Importance of Democratic Values

Contest Sponsors[1]
The July Fourth Essay Contest on the Importance of Democratic Values is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Description of Contest Objectives
In celebration of the Independence of the United States on July Fourth, the U.S. Embassy in Haiti is pleased to announce an essay competition open to students aged 18 – 24 residing and attending school in Haiti.

In keeping with our long commitment to democracy promotion globally, regionally, and in Haiti, students who would like to enter the contest are asked to respond to the following question:

  • What are the essential principles of democracy for Haiti’s future and why?

First prize winners will receive an iPad, while books will be awarded to those essays ranking from 6th place to 20th.

Essays should be no more than 500 words and may be submitted in Creole, French, or English.

Essays should be submitted by: August 17, 2020

Please submit your essays via email to: papamericancenter@state.gov

Please include with your submission your full name, age (please note, do NOT include your birthdate), and an email where you can be reached.

Essays will be judged by a panel composed of alumni of U.S. government exchange programs and Public Affairs staff.

Prizes must be picked up by the recipient or a designee at the American Center of the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince beginning October 1 and distributions would not occur after Jan 1, 2021.

This competition is only open to Haitian students between the ages of 18 – 24 living and studying in Haiti.  No U.S government employees or family members of employees may take part in this competition.

Official Written Content Contest Rules
The purpose of this contest is to raise awareness of the importance of Democracy and Democratic values to ensuring civil rights and economic stability in Haiti. (See the “Eligibility” section below to find out who is eligible to be a contestant.)

Events from this contest may be announced and promoted on various Social Media platforms including Facebook and Twitter, but contest entry and administration will take place through e-mail.  Contest winners may also be announced on Facebook and Twitter; however, Facebook and Twitter are not partners or sponsors of the contest.  Contestants are reminded that by participating in the contest and uploading content to Facebook and Twitter, they are bound by Facebook and Twitter’s Terms of Service and any agreements with Facebook and Twitter contained therein.

How to Enter
Participation in the contest is deemed as acceptance of these Official Contest Rules.  Once an entry is submitted, it is considered a final submission and may not be modified, edited or replaced.

The contest commences on July 4, 2020 in Haiti’s local timezone.  Entries may be submitted between July 4, 2020 and August 17, 2020.  Judging will begin on September 1, 2020 and ends on September 30, 2020.

Essays should be no more than 500 words and may be submitted in Creole, French, or English.

Essays should be submitted by: August 17, 2020

Please submit your essays via email to: papamericancenter@state.gov

Please include with your submission your full name, age (please note, do NOT include your birthdate), and an email where you can be reached.

Content Requirements

a. Submissions must not contain obscenity, explicit sexual material, nudity, profanity, graphic violence, calls or incitement to violence, commercial solicitation or commercial promotion. Submissions must conform to local law and must not contain content or images that could be considered abusive, inflammatory, denigrating, or disrespectful to any of the Contest Sponsors, or to any groups, individuals or institutions.  Submissions must adhere both in appearance and in fact to the norms of civil discourse.  In other words, the content of all submissions must be suitable for a global, public audience.

b. Submissions must be original content created by the contestant and must not contain any elements that are protected by someone else’s copyright or otherwise subject to third party intellectual property or proprietary rights, including privacy and publicity rights (except as expressly permitted below in (d)). Contest Sponsors recognize no allowance for “fair use” of copyrighted material, nor do Contest Sponsors recognize allowance for use of licensed materials created or owned by a third party.

c. Contest Sponsors reserve the right to disqualify, at their sole and absolute discretion, any submission that does not adhere to these criteria and to the intent and substance of these Official Contest Rules.

d. In the event of any question or difference of views regarding compliance with, interpretation, or application of these content requirements or other provisions of these Official Contest Rules, Contest Sponsors reserve the exclusive right to resolve such questions or differences of views in their sole discretion.

a. Contestants must be at least 18 to 24 years old on the date of entry into the contest. Contestants must be residents of Haiti and may not be U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.

b. The individual submitting the entry will be considered the contestant and will be the only individual eligible to compete for the prize. Organizations are not eligible to compete for the prize, either as an entity, or through representation by an individual.  In order to be eligible for the prize, the contestant must provide complete and accurate information.

c. The following individuals are not eligible to participate in the contest: Employees, interns, directors, and officers of the Contest Sponsors, Facebook, Twitter or the U.S. Government; or any employees, interns, directors, officers of any agencies, companies or entities involved in the administration, advertising, judging, creation, development, execution, and/or fulfillment of the contest, and the immediate family members (defined as spouse, recognized partner, parent, child, sibling, and spouse or “step” of each) and those living in the same household of each such individual.

d. Once a submission has been accepted for entry into the contest, the contestant’s name (or User ID, if the contestants wishes to remain anonymous) and country may be publicly identified at the sole discretion of the contestants.

Selection of a Winner
a. All submissions are subject to pre-screening by Contest Sponsors to ensure compliance with these Official Contest Rules. Any submissions out of compliance will not be posted.  Contest Sponsors reserve the right in their sole and absolute discretion to verify in the final analysis whether a potential finalist or potential winning submission has fully complied with these Official Contest Rules before posting to the contest site, awarding prize, recognizing as winner, etc.

b. Judges: The Jury is composed of three members of the Public Affairs Staff to include the Cultural Affairs Officer and two Cultural Assistants and also select alumni from U.S. Government exchange programs.

c. Judging Criteria: Essays will be judged on the strength of their logical arguments as well as the specificity of what values are most important for democracy in Haiti and how well the writer defends his or her choice of values.

d. Winners:
Each winner and/or finalist will be required to sign and return to Contest Sponsors a statement of eligibility and liability/publicity release and provide a short bio (where applicable) and a brief statement about the submission; otherwise the winner and/or finalist will be ineligible for any prize. The inability of Contest Sponsors to contact a potential winner may result in disqualification and/or selection of an alternate winner from among all remaining eligible submissions.

e. Winners and finalists will be notified via the e-mail address they provided upon entry. Winners and finalists may be announced on the Embassy website and/or social media pages.  Winners and finalists may choose to use an alias instead of their real name and may request other identifying information be kept private.

a. The top five (5) ranked essays will receive an iPad, while books will be awarded to those essays ranking from 6th place to 20th.

b. Winners have to confirm the acceptance of the prize in an email reply within three calendar days. If the acceptance is not confirmed by the required date, the Contest Sponsors reserve the right to select an alternative winner.  Each winner must provide a valid physical mailing address where a prize, if any, is to be shipped.  Contest Sponsors are not responsible for any problems related to the shipping of any prize, including, but not limited to, theft, delay, damage, or destruction/accidental loss by the shipping carrier.

c. Any unused portion of the prize is not transferable, convertible, or exchangeable and cannot be taken as cash. All taxes on or in connection with any prize, and the reporting consequences thereof, are the sole and exclusive responsibility of the winner.

Liability and Rights
a. Contest Sponsors do not endorse any submissions or messages expressed therein, and Contest Sponsors expressly disclaim any and all liability in connection with the submitted essays including disputes between collaborators related to a submission.

b. The contest and its sponsors do not permit copyright infringing activities or infringement of any other intellectual property rights, and Contest Sponsors reserve the right to remove and disqualify any submission they deem to be in violation of another party’s copyright or other intellectual property rights.

c. Contestants retain sole ownership of their original work. The submission remains the intellectual property of contestant, and the Contest Sponsors and U.S. Government make no claim of copyright as to the work of any individual who enters the contest.  Contestant specifically agrees to give the Contest Sponsors permission to use all content submitted for purposes of judging the contest.  Finalists and/or winners will be required to grant Contest Sponsors, with proper attribution through whatever means they deem appropriate, a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sub-licensable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, and/or display the submission in any media formats and through any media channels in perpetuity in connection with the activities and operations of the contest.

d. Contestant assumes sole responsibility for the contest submission and the material contained in it, and for any consequences of submitting or posting it.

e. Contest Sponsors reserve the right at any time to verify the validity of entries and of contestants and to disqualify any contestant or entry deemed not in compliance with these Official Contest Rules. Contest Sponsors also reserve the right to request further documentation, at their sole and absolute discretion, to verify eligibility and compliance with these Official Contest Rules.

f. If a prize or any portion thereof is unavailable, Contest Sponsors, in their sole discretion, reserve the right to substitute the prize with another prize of equal or greater value and/or specification.

g. Contest Sponsors reserve the right, at any time and in their sole discretion, to disqualify and/or deem ineligible any individual who they reasonably believe (i) has violated the Official Contest Rules; (ii) has violated the terms of use of platform, or (iii) is acting in a bad faith, or in an unsportsmanlike or disruptive manner, or with intent to annoy, abuse, threaten or harass any other person.

h. Contest Sponsors reserve the right to modify, suspend, terminate or cancel the contest at their discretion for any reason.

i. Contestant agrees to indemnify and hold harmless Contest Sponsors, their parent, subsidiary and affiliated companies, officers, directors, employees, interns, and agents, from and against any and all claims, damages, obligations, losses, liabilities, costs or debts, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney’s fees) arising from (i) violation of these Official Contest Rules; (ii) violation of any third party right, including without limitation any copyright, trademark, intellectual property, privacy, publicity, or other proprietary right in connection with the contest; or (iii) any claim that a contest submission caused any harm, including financial, to any third party.  These indemnification and hold harmless obligations will survive indefinitely beyond the conclusion of the contest.

j. The conduct, judging, and awarding of prizes will be carried out in full compliance with applicable U.S. law and host country law. In the event of a conflict between U.S. law and host country law, U.S. law shall apply.

k. Contest Sponsors and the U.S. Government will take reasonable measures to protect privacy data, personally identifiable information, and other sensitive data of contestants. Contact information provided by contestants may be stored by the U.S. Embassy in Haiti and may be used to contact contestants for other purposes in the future.  This information may be shared with the co-sponsor of the contest and/or be made available to third parties, to the extent permitted by law.

l. Contest Sponsors assume no liability or responsibility for any loss or harm resulting from any user’s participation in or attempt to participate in the contest or ability or inability to upload, download, or otherwise access any information in connection with participating in the contest. Contest Sponsors assume no responsibility or liability for technical problems, or technical malfunctions arising in connection with the operation of the contest, including: hardware or software errors; faulty computer, telephone, cable, satellite, network, electronic, wireless or Internet connectivity, or other online communication problems; errors or limitations of any Internet service providers, servers, hosts or providers; garbled, jumbled or faulty data transmissions; failure of any email transmissions to be sent or received; lost, late, delayed or intercepted email transmissions; inaccessibility of the contest site in whole or in part for any reason; traffic congestion on the Internet or the contest site; unauthorized human or non-human intervention in the operation of the contest, including without limitation, unauthorized tampering, hacking, theft, virus, bugs, worms; or destruction of any aspect of the contest, or loss, miscount, misdirection, inaccessibility or unavailability of an email account used in connection with the contest.

m. Use of contest site is at user’s own risk. Contest Sponsors are not responsible for any personal injury, property damage, or losses of any kind which may be sustained to computer equipment resulting from participation in the contest, use of the contest site or the downloading of information from the contest site.  By participating in the contest, the contestant releases Contest Sponsors from any and all claims arising from or relating to such contestant’s participation in the contest, whether directly or indirectly.

n. Contest Sponsors are not liable in the event that any portion of the contest is cancelled or delayed due to weather, fire, strike, acts of war or terrorism, or any other reason.

[1] Throughout the contest rules, the term “sponsors” is used to represent either single or multiple sponsors, where applicable.