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Irish & International Young Philosopher Awards

The Irish and International Young Philosopher Awards (IYPA) 2023

The UCD Centre for Ethics in Public Life is proud to support the Irish Young Philosopher Awards.

All entries should be submitted by Friday 31st March 2023
The IYPA Festival and Awards was held on Tuesday 16th May 2023

View the Awardees

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About the IYPA

The Irish and International Young Philosopher Awards (IYPA) is a philosophical initiative that invites students to reflect on ethical and philosophical questions and create a project which is discussed and judged by a committee of professional philosophers. Students can create individual projects, or they may work and collaborate as part of a class project or a small group. Finalists are invited to the IYPA Festival held in May each year where they can partake in philosophical activities and discussions.

Since thelaunch of the Irish Young Philosopher Awardsin 2017 by President Michael D. Higgins and Sabina Higgins, the IYPA has become a major philosophical and educational event in Ireland. It has now grown into an International Award forum that invites students from around the world to partake in philosophical thinking and discussion. This year the theme for the International Young Philosopher Awards is belonging. See below for further details on both the Irish Awards and the International Award.

The Irish Awards

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 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 or the IYPA website.

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.

For further instructions visit the IYPA website at  https://youngphilosopherawards.ucd.ie.

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

When you submit your entry to the Irish Awards, 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

The International Awards

For 2023 the IYPA invites young people from around the world to think about the theme of belonging.

Belonging seems to constitute a crucial aspect of our lives and has been related to a fundamental need for human interdependence or to be accepted as a valuable member of a group, for example, in terms of family, friends, colleagues, nation-states, the world, and so on. The topic of belonging becomes ever more important in the current time where people face sudden displacement because of war, poverty, and the climate crisis, or due to experiences of exclusion, or racism, gender and sexual discrimination, for example.

Throughout the years the participants of the IYPA have helped us understand how timely issues affect young people, but have also inspired us to focus on contemporary issues that might have escaped our attention. The IYPA Team are therefore confident that this year’s participants will help provide a better understanding of the role of belonging in our lives and especially in the lives of young people.

The international component of the Young Philosopher Awards aims at enabling young people from around the world to develop and express their thoughts about important issues. The IYPA strongly encourage you to come up with your own philosophical questions in relation to this year’s theme, but they have also created a list of possible start up questions for inspiration:

  • What does it mean to belong?
  • Is belonging always positive?
  • How important is belonging in our lives?
  • Is there a relationship between loneliness and belonging?
  • Can belonging to one group limit our self-understanding?
  • Is the need to belong always a good thing?
  • Can belonging to a certain group have a negative impact in one’s life?
  • Can one belong in communities with conflicting values?
  • Do we always choose where we belong?
  • What kind of belonging is involved in the relationship between state and citizens?
  • Does belonging to a group cultivate an ‘us’ vs ‘them’ or ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’ distinction?
  • Is there a relationship between identity and belonging?
  • Do you have to be the same as others in order to belong to a group?
  • What is the relationship between belonging and difference?
  • Do human beings belong to nature? If yes, do they have a responsibility to protect the environment?
  • Can we say that belonging to the human species is in tension with our belonging to nature?
  • Do animals belong to our world and in what ways?
  • How do we cultivate a sense of belonging to people that have suffered from massive displacements because of war, or social, economic and environmental factors?
  • What are the key ingredients of belonging?
  • What does it mean to belong to a community of young philosophers?
  • Can a sense of belonging be cultivated via social media?
  • Is there a difference between actual and virtual belonging?

These are only indicative questions, and you are encouraged you to think 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.

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 directly at: youngphilosopherawards@ucd.ie

Contact the Centre for Ethics in Public Life (CEPL)

CEPL, School of Philosophy, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland.
E: cepl@ucd.ie