Dr. K. York & M. Noelle Chynn
CUNY Ethics and Morality Essay Contest

Funded by the Chynn Family Foundation

Submission Deadline
Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The goal of the Chynn CUNY Ethics and Morality Essay Contest is to stimulate college students to ponder the topic of morality, and to broadcast the best essays, in an attempt to promote the teaching of morality in American education.

The Asian American / Asian Research Institute will award the top three essays, as  selected by the Selection Committee, the following prizes at its 12th annual gala during the Fall semester:

  • Best Essay ($1,000)

  • First Runner-up ($300)

  • Second Runner-up ($200)

Submission Guidelines

Submission Form
Requires: Adobe Reader

Fall 2014 Essay Topic: Virtue

Regardless of where one lives, virtues form the moral foundation of one’s life. Throughout history, moral philosophers in all cultures have striven to answer the question of “What characteristics or virtues distinguish the moral man from the immoral one?” In ancient Greek times, the Four Cardinal Virtues were:

  • Prudence/Wisdom

  • Justice

  • Fortitude/Courage

  • Temperance/Self-control

There were additionally Three Theological Virtues:

  • Faith

  • Hope

  • Charity

Together, these comprised the Seven Virtues.

At about the same time in ancient China, Confucius formulated what he called the Five Constant Virtues:

  • Ren (Benevolence, Love)

  • Yi (Righteousness)

  • Li (Propriety, Loyalty, Filial Piety, Chastity, Respect)

  • Zhi  (Wisdom)

  • Xin  (Integrity, Honesty, Fidelity)

In today's modern society however, virtues have slowly begun to lose their importance, or oft forgotten, in the busy daily goings of people's lives. To remedy this problem in China, officials recently enacted a new law to foster filial piety among its citizens in order to compel adult children to visit their aging parents. By recognizing the importance of virtues in our lives, it will lead to better communication, understanding, and acceptance between us and our fellow man.

For your essay, please select one Virtue from the list above to discuss in detail. In discussing the Virtue you have selected, please incorporate all of the following points in your essay:

  • Tell us about your own experience in practicing the Virtue you have chosen to write about and what personal reward or satisfaction have you gained from it.
  • Why did you think the Virtue that you chose was an important one to practice in your life?
  • What obstacles did you encounter in practicing this particular Virtue and how did you, or do you, still strive to overcome the difficulties?

Submission must meet the following requirements:

  • Applicant must be a currently enrolled CUNY undergraduate or graduate student. Please submit copy of your college ID and current semester program. (No recommendations letters or transcripts are required.)

  • Cover page containing topic of the essay, name of the student, name of the CUNY college, and date.

  • Length: 1,000 to 1,500 words

  • Typed, 12-size Times New Roman font, 1-inch margins, and double-spaced.

  • Work-cited: Reference all materials that is not your own. Include at least five sources.

  • All work must be original material. Attribution and references to quoted materials must be included.

  • No online submissions. Hard copy of essay can be submitted by postal mail (postmarked by Oct 14, 2014, or hand-delivered to AAARI office on October 14, 2014, by 5PM)



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CUNY Ethics and Morality Essay Contest

Spring 2011

Fall 2011

Fall 2012

Fall 2013


Selection Committee
KY Chynn
Joyce Moy

Antony Wong


Asian American / Asian Research Institute 2014

25 West 43rd Street, Room 1000, New York, NY 10036   
Phone: 212-869-0182 / 0187   
Fax: 212-869-0181 | E-mail: