Lesson Plans

Local Letters for Global Change: A Pulitzer Center Writing Contest

Tell Congress what global issue you want them to prioritize!

Tell Congress what global issue you want them to prioritize!

Thank you to everyone who entered our 2019 letter-writing contest! You can view the winners and finalists here. Please check back in September to enter the 2020 contest!

Make your voice heard this election season by writing a letter to a member of Congress that explains the global issue you want them to prioritize. Make your case using Pulitzer Center reporting.

The Pulitzer Center wants to read and share your letters: tell us, and the world, what's most important to you. Read on for contest details. DEADLINE: Friday, November 15th at 11:59PM EST.


Three winners:

  • $100 to support global community engagement in your classroom (prize distributed to your class teacher)
  • Publication of your letter, photo, and bio on the Pulitzer Center website
  • A personal video message from a journalist who reported on the issue you select


  • Publication of your letter, photo, and bio on the Pulitzer Center website


Any current K-12 student in the United States or abroad may enter. Students outside the United States should address a local equivalent to their member of Congress. The judging rubric (below) will be applied according to grade level. Letters may be in English and/or Spanish.


Friday, November 15, 2019 11:59 PM EST

Entry guidelines: 

1. Go to www.pulitzercenter.org/reporting and choose a news story about an issue affecting another part of the world. When choosing your news story, consider: How is this issue relevant to your local community? Why should you and your neighbors care about it? [See below for some suggested stories to get you started]

2. Write a one-page letter to one of the member of Congress for your state that includes the following:

I.    Short summary of an issue affecting another part of the world, citing a Pulitzer Center news story.
II.  Explanation of why this issue is important to you and your community.
III. Suggestion of what action you would like your Congressperson to take on this issue.

For support writing your letter, use this letter-writing template.

3. Enter using this Google form. It will request some basic personal/contact information, and you can copy/paste your letter directly into the form.

4. Your representatives' contact information is available online. After submitting your letter to the Pulitzer Center, consider mailing or emailing your letter to them directly!

Judging criteria:

Judges will use this rubric to evaluate letters.

Support for Preparing Students:

1. You can use this presentation to introduce the contest to your students (just request access!).

2. Students may find this graphic organizer helpful in planning their letters.

3. Email hberk@pulitzercenter.org to invite a Pulitzer Center education team member to facilitate a lesson for your class in-person or via Skype.

4. Feel free to adapt this rubric to evaluate your students' letters.

Suggested News Stories:

Migration and Refugees

Broken Border: The Texas Tribune reports on the U.S.-Mexico border [Text, Photo, Video]
We Became Fragments: A Teenager Starting Over in Canada [Video]
Mounting Debt, Few Opportunities Keep Guatemalans Coming [Text]
The Survivors of the Rohingya Genocide [Text] - Content warning: Graphic violence, sexual assault
Jamaica's 'Barrel Children' Often Come up Empty with a Parent Abroad [Text]
The Labor Train: Following the Migrant Workers of Tajikistan [Video, Drawings/Paintings]

Climate Change and the Environment

Threshold Podcast: Climate Change in Shishmaref, Alaska [Audio]
Lessons from the Cape Town Water Crisis [Text]
The Amazon Used to be a Hedge Against Climate Change. Those Days May Be Over. [Text, Audio, Photo]
Lessons from Hurricane Harvey [Text, Photo]
Young Collectors, Traders Help Fuel a Boom in Ultra-Exotic Pets [Video, text]

Human Rights

She's Not a Boy: An Intersex Asylum Seeker in New York [Video]
The Fight to Overturn El Salvador's Abortion Ban [Text] - Content warning: Sexual assault
The Saudi Government's Global Campaign to Silence Its Critics [Text]
Jailing the Mentally Ill [Video]
Would You Let Your 10-Year-Old Kid Work? It's Perfectly Legal in This Country [Text, Video]

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