Message From Screening Committee
The Korea Times economic essays contest attracted some 1,325 submissions from Korea and overseas, which were screened to produce around 250 finalists. The committee initially looked for a good command of English and the correct use of grammar in this first phase before moving on to content. What the judges gave top marks for were the ability to express ideas coherently and in a logical fashion that read easily.
For the local entrants looking for solutions to youth unemployment in Korea, special regard was given to those who showed an understanding of the structural nature of the problem, and in doing so came up with practical solutions. Also credit was given for innovative approaches that outlined long-term employment policies, as opposed to short-term stop-gap measures.
In this section the variety of the works submitted showed that the topic is seen as a widely acknowledged problem, with essays coming from middle- and high-school students; undergraduates, graduates and doctoral students; as well as young workers ― all worried about what they saw as diminishing prospects for their future.
As for overseas applicants offering their advice on how to increase Korea's brand image, credit was once again given for those showing innovation in the ways the country can bolster its presence on the world stage. Marks were given for suggestions on how to harness soft power, rather than a reliance on the hard power of company based exports.
The large number of countries represented in the submission pool seemed to indicate that perhaps Korea has already begun to show some progress in this area, and also the expanding global reach of The Korea Times.
Our congratulations go not only to the prize winners, but to all of the finalists who demonstrated an in-depth knowledge of their chosen subjects and produced admirable submissions to the contest.