Essay Competition

This year, I decided to enter the John Locke Institute Essay Competition. I chose to delve into history through selecting the prompt, “Was there anything good about the British Empire?”

This question was and continues to be a fairly controversial one, but it was nonetheless intriguing. As is often the case with writing essays, I was initially faced with the challenge of how I was going to answer the question, and what my answer was going to be. I decided that the best approach was to focus on the British Empire’s good deeds from political, social, and economic aspects. My essay concluded that although the British Empire has inflicted pain and damages so great that they are irreversible, it still did some good. Two important notions I brought up in the essay are that good and bad are not mutually exclusive, and what we typically perceive as bad can also be good.

Throughout the essay writing process, I read numerous journal articles, websites, and books. Reading provided me with views of society and the world that I would otherwise never have—one being the concept Edward Said calls ‘Orientalism’. More than ever, history has proved to be a critical tool in assessing and understanding why the world is how it is today.

My essay was shortlisted as part of the top quintile out of 964 entries in the history category. For this achievement, I have been invited to the prize ceremony in Oxford, United Kingdom. This is the second time that I have become a finalist in the John Locke Institute Essay Competition and I hope to win! 

I am gratified to have had the support of teachers and friends at Sekolah Ciputra, and an amazing mentor to guide me in writing this essay.

To those of you interested in essay writing, economics, history, philosophy, law, and other humanities subjects, I would highly recommend joining this competition to challenge your knowledge and writing skills!


Nasya Lilananda, Grade 12 DP student

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