JRS/USA Announces Essay Competition for Jesuit High School Students

14 September 2017

“In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.”

On September 14, 2017, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA (JRS/USA) received the Anne Frank Award, given by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to an American person or organization who has demonstrated a body of work which confronts intolerance, anti-Semitism, racism or discrimination, while upholding freedom and equal rights.

JRS is being honored for our work improving access to education for refugees and others affected by war and conflict. Operating in over 50 countries around the world, and rooted in the Jesuit commitment to education, JRS offers quality educational programs and a variety of educational opportunities for refugees and displaced persons in refugee camps and in non-camp settings.

In gratitude for this honor, JRS/USA is proud to announce an essay competition in collaboration with the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the Jesuit Schools Network, and America Media.

As a refugee herself, and memorably in her remarkable diary, Anne Frank gave an example of courage, compassion and hope that can serve as a beacon for refugees and displaced persons in our world today. We hope this competition creates an opportunity to raise awareness and conversation around the lives of refugees and how Jesuit educated students can take action.

The top essay chosen will be published in America: The Jesuit Review of Faith & Culture. The flagship magazine of America Media, America is the leading Catholic journal of opinion in the United States.

Competition Guidelines

Essay Question: What can Anne Frank’s life and legacy teach us about how to address the current global refugee crisis – more than 65 million people displaced today globally, the highest levels World War II? How can you, as a young person, take action to address these challenges?

Word Limit: 1,500 words

Eligibility: Students enrolled in any member of the Jesuit Schools Network (Grades 9-12).

Submission Details: Essays will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. ET on January 15, 2018 and must be submitted through form by clicking here. Submissions will be reviewed by a committee including staff from Jesuit Refugee Service/USA, the Jesuit Schools Network, and America Media.


  • 1st Place – $1,000 monetary prize & essay will be published in America
  •  2nd Place – $500 monetary prize
  • 3rd Place – $250 monetary prize

Winners will be announced in April 2018.

Information regarding the Lessons from Anne Essay Competition can also be found on www.jrsusa.org/annefrank. Questions? Please email Giulia McPherson at giulia.mcpherson@jrsusa.org