A two-week trip to the Soviet Union will be offered to the two Ventura County high school students who win an essay contest sponsored by the local chapters of Physicians for Social Responsibility and Educators for Social Responsibility.
Only students in the 9th, 10th and 11th grades will be eligible for the trip. Runners-up will receive cash, as will winning seniors, who will be judged in a separate category.
The topic of the 1,000-word essays, which must be submitted to participating teachers in county high schools by Jan. 22, is:
"It is the year 2000. Imagine a world without war, but not without differences. How would international conflicts be resolved without violence?"
Last year more than 300 students wrote essays speculating on how world peace could be achieved in the 21st Century and the roles students could play in achieving it. Winners of the Soviet trip were David Davidson of Westlake High School and Kevin Patience of Thousand Oaks High School.
The chaperoned student tour including meetings with Soviet youth groups, attendance at cultural events and sightseeing in Moscow and Leningrad.
The competition will be held annually, said one of its organizers, Robert F. Dodge of Ventura.
"We know that young people are vitally interested in these issues," he said, "but nobody ever seems to give them a voice."
Physicians for Social Responsibility, whose Ventura County branch has 110 members, is an offshoot of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, a group which received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985.