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Practice FSWE Essay 5

Practice FSWE Essay 5

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Please evaluate my practice FSWE essay.

I handwrote this essay in 50 minutes in accordance with the rules of the FSWE. I will present it without spellchecking or editing so to represent the actual essay as it was written.

When evaluating please be aware of the following:
  • When composing the essay, the point of view should be clearly stated and supported.
  • Writing should be evaluated on quality of writing, not the opinions expressed.
  • A sucessful essay should have an obvious structure and clear thesis supported by relevant substantiating details.
  • It should show my ability to analyze the topic in a way that is appropriate for the intended audience (a foreign service officer).
  • The writing should be coherent with only occasional lapses that do not impede flow or readers' comprehension.
  • Language should be generally concise with clear and appropriate word choices.
  • The language should be free of errors in grammar and syntax, with only minor errors in spelling and punctuation.
  • There is no limit on length.

Testing Rubric:
1-3 are failing marks. 4-6 are passing. The essay is read and grded by two people and their scores are added together for a total maximum score of 12. So the goal is to get at least a 4. 4 is good enough.

A paper at this level is adequately developed. The writer’s purpose is clear and the analysis is generally supported by relevant examples. The writer’s rationale may not always be fully developed. The paper has a clear structure with an introduction, body, and conclusion, but the structure may be too obvious and ideas may be subordinated to structure. Alternatively, the paper may exhibit lapses in organization. Transitions are usually used effectively. Sentences clearly express meaning and exhibit some variety, but there may be some repetition. Word choice is appropriate to the audience and is usually precise. While there may be some errors in grammar, usage, or mechanics, a competency with language is apparent. The errors may be distracting, but they only occasionally impede understanding.

A paper at this level is well developed. The writer’s purpose is well defined and, for the most part, the analysis is supported by sound reasoning and relevant, effective examples. Analysis and judgment may show thought and insight. The writer’s rationale is well developed and integrated into the text of the paper. The structure is logical and coherent, with clear organization, an effective opening and closing, and effective transitions. Sentences are usually concise and varied in structure. Word choice is usually precise, varied, and is appropriate to the audience. The writing shows good command of the language. There may be occasional errors in grammar, usage, or mechanics, but the errors pose minor distraction and they do not impede understanding.

A paper at this level is substantially developed. The writer’s purpose is very well defined and the analysis is supported by sound reasoning and relevant, effective examples. Analysis and judgment show thought and insight. The writer’s rationale is very well developed and very well integrated into the text of the paper. The structure is unified and coherent, with clear organization, an effective opening and closing, and effective transitions. Sentences are concise, interesting, and varied in structure. Word choice is precise, varied, and appropriate to the audience. The writing is fluent and shows superior command of the language. There may be occasional errors in grammar, usage, or mechanics, but the errors pose minor distraction and they do not impede understanding.

The topic:
The killing in the Darfur area of Sudan continues, in spite of extensive negotiations by the African Union and the United Nations.UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan has asked the U.S. and NATO to provide air support for peace keepers provided by the African Union. What do you perceive are the issues in Darfur and what strategies are most likely to be effective/successful in stopping the killing and conflict? What roles should the U.S., NATO, and the U.N. play?

My essay:

The International Role in Darfur

     The horrors in the Darfur region of Sudan must be stopped at any cost. That is what many international organizations proclaim, but to do so, international peace-keeping troops have to take a more active role in the region. The U.N. and NATO must take over peace-keeping activities from the ill-trained and ill-equiped African Union (AU), the U.S. should back them with limited troop and financial support, and the Sudanese government needs stronger international checks to their powerbase.
     The Sudanese powerbase is but one problem Plaguing the peace-keeping efforts in the region. The AU forces charged with stopping the violence in the region and setting up livable environments for the thousands left without homes or food in the area are poorly equipped due to funding hold-ups and lack highly trained professionals to teach their troops. By bringing in the "blue hats" of the U.N. peace-keeping forces, as proposed, the AU wil get the added numbers, and more importainly, added expertise of seasoned troops. The UN forces alone cannot ensure success in the region, however. Without the support of NATO forces it would only be a matter of time before the region is once again under rebel control.
     Indeed, the U.S. also does not want to see the rebels in power, but their support of the fighting is a much sticker situation. The three-year ongoing and failing war in Iraq has turned the U.S. public against involvement in foreign conflicts. With 2006 being an election year and xenophobia and cries to send the troops in Iraq home, giving military support to Darfur is a dangerous political proposition. Nonetheless, few, when presented with the atrocities caused in Darfur would deny that support is needed. Thus the U.S. position should be cautious. Agreeing to air support would please both the homeguard, since U.S. personal casulities would be at a minimum, while still satisfying international obligation to an obviously horrible situation. Along with military aid, the international community, and especially the very wealthy U.S., should continue to offer financial and humanitarian aid to the region for the duration of the conflict. Financial aid is a win-win while military aid has the set back of causalities.
     A cavaet: financial aid is a win-win if and only if it is utilized in productive ways, not as an aid to corruption. The Sudanese government, like many in the African contient, is riddled with cases of corruption and aid misappropreation. As a condition of foreign aid, the Sudanese government should agree to intensive international oversight, not only of aid money allocation, but of government representation and fair treatment of all Peoples. Sudan is split bilaterally with strong Islamists in the North and tribal blacks in the south. For the government to function and if a peace accord is ever to be established the two parties must be forced, with internal and international pressure to work together in government to put an end to corruption and sectarian violence.
     Violence, is unfortunately what brings the international community to the Darfur region, but with increased troop support from the UN and NATO, financial and limited troop support from th US, and international monitering of government and aid fund allocations, with time the Sudanese can once again see peace. War is truly a sad state of affairs, and it is the responsibility of all mankind to end genocidal violence and wanton slauder not only in Darfur, but the world wide.

Please be critical. I want to improve my essay writing skills as much as I can for the test and beyond.

Thank you for your help.

  • Kate

    Hey Trev,

    Will try have a look at your other essays this week (read the first one but haven't araound a computer quite as much at work since)though probably the feedback you get from the other members of your group will be most valuable.

    I like the one I read but, very briefly, I think you need to use more precise language and stay away from both overly formal and informal phrases.

    The examples you used were good, and nicely placed throughout the essay - you always backed up your argument.

    As it is such a short time to write, I would have a very punchy introduction that adresses only what you will say in the essay - nothing extra as it will seem out of place. Be very clear where you are going with your argument (if you argue it persuasively, you can get away with saying anything I reckon). Your plans are perfect for this.

    Also, it is always a good idea to show in some way that you understand the language of the question, which can probably be done by using the question words in the correct context now and again :)

    See you soon? Let me know if this kind of thing was what you were wanting - I can give more specific examples of which phrases seem good/not so good etc?

    Ooh, was just thinking that if you've got any time it might be worth taking a look at Orwell's "Politics and the English Language" - is an interesting essay on how to write well.


    • Re: Kate

      Thanks for the comments, Kate! I will keep your advice in mind on test day!

      I LOVE that Orwell article. I first discovered it about a year ago in one of my high school friend's blogs (http://boffo.livejournal.com/). Great stuff. I think I'll give it a re-read right before the test.
  • Kate

    Ooh that comment was for the essay you wrote about foreign companies based abroad, not the one above, which I haven't read yet...
    • Re: Kate

      Oh. Thanks for letting me know. I look forward to hearing your comments on this and my other essays.
  • Kate

    Okay so I read your Darfur essay - seems to show a great depth of knowledge and such. So if you can write this kind of thing for any topic then is all gonna be good :)

    However, a few stylistic points (feel free to ignore if you don't think is relevant) -

    The intro is unclear. Is this your argument or an internation organisation's? I see you are trying to open with a catchy sentence but it doesnt quite work. Be careful of thhe language you use. "At any cost" is incredibly forceful, but then you go on to say that "but" interbational organisations would have to take an active role. Is this, and more, not implied by "at any cost"?

    Instead, I would adrees the question more fully and summarise briefly isuues in Darfur (you mention them later - put them here too, show from early on you know what you are talking about) then go on to your bit about UN/US/NATO/AU roles.

    In the intro you say "peace-keeping activities". I think you need to give exaple roles of the organisations within peace-keeping.
    The last bit here - "U.S... powerbank" is great.

    Is the AU illtrained and illequipped? Again careful use of words - is this too strong?

    "But one problem" is an unecessarily complex clause. "One of the problems facing the peace-keeping... is the Sudanese powerbase". Keep your phrasing simple and say what you mean, not what sounds fancy.

    What relationship is there between the Sudanese powerbase and the AU forces? Jumps like these need to be clarified.

    "By.... troops" great sentence.

    "Without the support of Nato forces..." Nato forces doing what? Same thing but provideing extra money/numbers? At some point there needs to be a discussion of what each organisation is best suited to, how roles can be divided up etc. Make sure you are always answering the question.

    "sticker" - too informal

    Iraq bit about public confidence - great.

    "With... Iraq home" needs rephrased. the idea is there but doesnt read correctly. Be careful every sentence you write makes sense and makes a worthwhile point - these are short essays.

    "Financial... casualities" unecessary repetition of previous two sentences.

    "win-win" think of a more academic phrase.

    Sudan bilateral split - great piece of knowledge. BUt saying they must be forced together to put an end to corruption is a both a bit of a throwaway and a sweeping comment. You have discovered an issue - no apply it to UN/US/NATO and specific strategies.

    Second to final sentence is a fantastic conclusion, perfectly summing up your essay in one neat phrase. The final sentence, though, although I can see what your going for, is far far too broad. You dont need to end on a sentce that saves the worl, just one that addresses the question :)

    Anyways, hope that helps,
    kate xx
    • Kate

      (Sorry about my horrific typing, hope you can make sense of it)
    • Re: Kate

      These are GREAT comments. Very useful.

      I knew right after I wrote the NATO stuff that I shouldn't have. I had nothing in my mind to back it up. Actually my biggest worry about this essay is that it is so bold in its statements and quite lacking in the follow up support for those statements.

      Thanks again for your input. I highly value it.
  • Another improvement over your previous essays... I agree with everything Kate said (and she said more than I would have said anyways =D)

    I was a bit bothered by the ill-equipped and ill-trained comment...it might be true, but it also came off perhaps more harsh than necessary?

    And yeah, the "win-win" thing caught me off guard too. =)

    • Yeah, agreed. Both my "ill" comments and the phrase "win-win," when I was proof reading it came off as not right. Especially "win-win." I really have to work on cutting out slang terms from my essays.
  • I'm in agreement with the use of fancy words. Try to be more clear and concise. You'll make fewer spelling mistakes this way.
    • Yeah, I really have to work on getting straight to the point in my sentences. Thanks!
      • Don't worry, being concise is probably most people's biggest problems since hey, it ain't easy...I mean geez, look how many long winded people get published every year?

        This comment is long-winded...but I know I have a problem with being a rambling wind-bag ;O
    • Kate

      I just sound like a right arse when I write-slash-ramble. A rambling wind-bag is well up on that :)
    • (Anonymous)
      Oops sorry I hadnae realised I had been putting my name as the comment title. Damn katakana that I can't be bothered to read. Now I don't know where to put it...
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