The World Traders’ Tacitus Essay Prize is an essay competition held by The World Traders to encourage young people to think about the issues raised in this year’s Tacitus Lecture and to promote the study of economics, geography and politics.

The competition is aimed at encouraging Year 12 pupils to think analytically and critically beyond the confines of their school curriculum about economic and geopolitical ideas. Entries from different perspectives are welcome.



Entrants are invited to write an essay from a choice of three titles:

  1. Energy is essential for civilisation, yet its consumption must be managed sustainably. Discuss this balance between energy needs and the preservation of civilisation?
  2. To what extent can artificial intelligence (AI) contribute to advancing socio-economic development?
  3. To what extent do you believe that current diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives have exceeded their intended scope?



The World Traders’ 37th Annual Tacitus Lecture was given by John Browne, The Lord Browne of Madingley on Thursday, 29 February 2024. Co-Founder and Chairman of climate growth equity venture, BeyondNetZero, and former Chief Executive of BP, Lord Browne addressed an audience of over 700 at the historic Guildhall, speaking about the critical role a hopeful outlook has on our ability to create positive, meaningful change.

Lord Browne’s lecture was entitled Optimism and Change: Sexuality, Climate and Engineering and is available here to watch online.


  • To enter you must be studying in the UK in Year 12 (in England or Wales, or equivalent in Northern Ireland or Scotland).
  • All entries must be submitted by Sunday 30 June 2024.
  • Young people do not need to have been at The Tacitus Lecture to enter, nor do they need to be studying Economics, Geography or Politics.


  • Your essay must be no longer than 750 words and should be typed in size 12 font directly into the Word Document entry form.
  • The use of graphs, diagrams or images are welcome if they add value to your argument and should be referred to within the essay.
  • The content of your essay should be original and must be your own work.
  • All sources of information (data, quotes, graphs, diagrams, images etc) should be acknowledged and referenced at the end of your essay (this is not included in the word count).



Your essay will be judged on the structure of your argument, clarity of communication, choice and validity of supporting evidence (such as data, other views or research conclusions), originality of your ideas, effectiveness of your evaluations and quality of your conclusions.

A panel of judges will read and mark your entry before the winning entries are announced.

The results will be announced in September and published on The Worshipful Company of World Traders’ website. The winner and runners-up will each receive a monetary prize and be invited to receive their awards at a meeting of The Worshipful Company of World Traders in the autumn.



Please complete the essay submission form downloadable here which includes your details along with your essay and send this document to by 30 June 2024.

If you would like to read these instructions in a different format, click here.


Results from the 2023 competition can be found here.