UPU International Letter-Writing Competition For Young People

Millions of young individuals worldwide, aged up to 15, have taken part in the annual International Letter-Writing Competition for Young People at both national and international levels since its inception in 1971.

This competition serves as an exceptional means of promoting literacy among children and young people. It enhances their composition skills and their ability to articulate their thoughts effectively. Additionally, the contest raises awareness about the significant role that postal services play in our global society.

Here’s how the competition operates:

Every year, the UPU International Bureau announces a specific theme. Participating countries then organize the competition at the national level, often with the support of their respective postal services and education authorities. All entries must be submitted through the national postal service. Each country selects a national winner and submits their entry to the international round, which is hosted by the UPU. An international jury, appointed by the UPU International Bureau, evaluates the letters and chooses the winners, as well as entries deserving of special recognition.

The theme chosen for the 2018 competition is: “Imagine you are a letter traveling through time. What message do you wish to convey to your readers?”

This year marks the 47th edition of the competition.

All member countries are invited to participate by organizing a national-level competition before submitting their top composition to the UPU.

The deadline for each country to submit their best letter to the International Bureau is 5 May 2018.

Participation in the competition is open to individuals up to the age of 15.

The UPU International Bureau does not accept compositions directly from schools, individuals, or similar sources.

The organization of the competition and the selection of winners are as follows:

The UPU announces the theme for the upcoming competition.

Each member country then organizes a letter-writing competition on the chosen theme within its territory, according to its own discretion, but preferably with the assistance of its national education authorities.

The national organizing body or bodies select the best composition within their country.

Only one submission is allowed per member country.
Each submission must include the following documentation:
a. A completed submission form;
b. The original letter in the specified formats:
– a high-quality color scan of the handwritten original (if available) in PDF format; and
– as a Word document;
c. An English and/or French translation of the letter, as a Word document; and
d. A high-quality photograph of the candidate:
– in JPEG format (minimum 300 dpi); or
– as a printed copy (do not staple or glue the photo to any documents if sending by mail).
4 Presentation and content of submissions
Letters must be in the form of a letter and include essential elements such as date, opening and closing salutations, and signature. The original letter may contain illustrations by the candidate. Submissions must strictly adhere to the theme and not exceed 1,000 words in the original language.

To ensure impartial judging by the jury, please avoid any references to your country in the composition of the national winner.
5 Jury selection and results
The UPU International Bureau will appoint an international jury to evaluate the submissions. This jury will not be aware of the origin country of the letter-writers.
The judging criteria will include:
– structure as a letter;
– adherence to the theme;
– creativity; and
– language usage.
The jury will choose the top three submissions (first, second, and third place) and may also give special mentions to other entries. Once the UPU International Bureau receives the jury’s results, member countries will be notified promptly.


  • The winners of the competition will be honored with a unique medal, with gold for the first prize, silver for the second prize, and bronze for the third prize.
  • They will also receive a certificate and additional prizes to commemorate their victory, which will be determined by the UPU.
  • Additionally, the gold medalist may have the opportunity to visit the UPU headquarters in Berne, Switzerland, or receive an alternative prize chosen solely by the UPU.
  • Writers who receive a special mention will also be awarded a certificate and other prizes, which will be decided by the UPU.
  • For more information, please visit the Official Webpage of the Universal Postal Union (UPU) International Letter-Writing Competition

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