01/11/2012 03:41 pm ET Updated Mar 12, 2012

Do You Have a World-Changing Idea?

My annual letter comes out on January 25. I hope it spurs a conversation about the key issues affecting the poorest people in the world. So I'm inviting students from around the world to write their own annual letters and submit them. I'll highlight the most innovative and inspiring letters on our website.

If there's one message I try to get across everywhere I go, it's this: Through innovation and generosity, the world has made amazing progress in improving the lives of its poorest people over the past 50 years. Now we face a choice. If we keep investing a relatively modest amount, we will extend this progress, feed a billion hungry people, and save millions of lives. If we don't, we will tolerate a world in which one in seven people lives in desperate poverty.

In your letter, I'd like to read your thoughts. What do you think are the most urgent choices the world faces? I'm optimistic that if we can get a great dialogue going on this topic, world leaders are more likely to make smart choices in the future.

I'd love to read letters of 300-500 words from high school students anywhere in the world (though if you're a bit older or younger I don't mind) and you can send your letter to

Sign up here if you'd like to receive a note when my annual letter is released.

Bill Gates is the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He regularly posts his thoughts about the Foundation's work and other projects on his personal website, The Gates Notes.