Wilton High School junior Michael Wallace placed third in the high school category of Carnegie Council’s 2016 International Student/Teacher Essay Contest.
For the contest, high school, university and postgraduate students and teachers from around the world submitted essays that answered the question “Is nationalism an asset or hindrance in today’s globalized world?”
Michael said he entered the contest after hearing about it from a family friend in August.
“It sounded like a fantastic opportunity to write about a topic that interested me and to publish my ideas and opinions in a global forum,” said Michael, a member of the Wilton High School’s debate team and model congress.
“The monetary prizes for winning were certainly a powerful incentive, too.”
Michael’s “The Bane of Nations: Nationalism in the Modern World” essay, which can be found here, earned top high school honors for all entries from the United States and third place honors globally. For placing third, he received $75.
Michael said he worked on his essay over the course of several months — “writing for short bursts and then putting the essay aside.” In terms of total hours spent writing, he said, it probably took him “no more than a couple.”
In his essay, Michael said, he “took the position that nationalism is a detriment to the development of modern nations and economies.”
“The story of nationalism in the past century has been a story of political exploitation, economic disaster and international turmoil. When you examine events like the Serbian and Rwandan genocides, or conflicts like World War I, you're really examining case studies on the negative influence of nationalism,” he said.
“With the current spread of nationalist sentiments in the United States, Germany, France, and Great Britain, I thought it was all the more important to discuss how nationalism could negatively impact our society.”
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