National Essay Contest Encourages Canada's High School Students to Explore Why They Probably Won't Vote

    $140,000 Scholarships Up for Grabs in Third Annual French for the Future
    national essay contest

    TORONTO, Jan. 29 /CNW/ - With another federal election looming, the
concerning trend of youth voter apathy is likely to resurface. According to
Election Canada's report, only 34 percent of voters aged 18-34 had cast
ballots in the last election in 2004. If this sounds alarming, Canada is not
alone in this growing problem: the United States, and the United Kingdom also
have similar problems; youth are disengaged from politics and lack interest in
voting. This is why French for the Future, in partnership with Apathy is
Boring and the University of Ottawa chose the youth voter apathy theme, which
will help us understand why our potential new voters are not opting into the
    "It's exciting to engage students early," says Anne Kothawala, President
of French for the Future. "The dismal voter turnout begs for a dialogue, and
as students research and write their essays, they will also develop a better
understanding of citizenship in Canada and the world." Ms. Kothawala has also
been the President and CEO of the Canadian Newspaper Association since 1999.
    Apathy is Boring, a national organization that uses art, media and
technology to encourage active citizenry, sees this contest as another
opportunity to point students in the direction of lifelong active
participation. "Voter apathy affects our democratic responsibilities, and we
need to understand this apathy from young people's perspective" says Apathy is
Boring Executive Director, Ilona Dougherty.
    Winners in the two categories, French second language and French first
language, will be awarded $20,000 scholarships to the University of Ottawa,
and the original award-winning essays will be posted on the Apathy is Boring
and French for the Future websites and be used as fodder to remedy the
continual low engagement of youth in our political process. The added
challenge for students from Grade 10-12 (Cycle 2, Secondary IV-V in Quebec)
across the country is that all essays must be written in French. An additional
category is available for their French first language counterparts.

    French for the Future was created after the Quebec referendum in 1995 in
order to promote linguistic duality in Canada. A major goal of French for the
Future is to highlight the positive social and career benefits and to forge
linguistic and cultural links among secondary school students who are enrolled
in French first and second language courses. French for the Future created the
national essay contest in 2006 in order to motivate bilingual students across

    More information is available at:;;

For further information:

For further information: Marc Pandi, Communications Manager, French for
the Future (bilingual), Tel: (416) 203-9900 x.221, Cell: (416) 939-0248,

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