The Institute for the Study of Human Rights sponsors an annual Human Rights Essay Contest for Columbia University students. The aims of the contest are to:
- Encourage and acknowledge students who have written exceptional academic papers addressing issues related to human rights;
- Provide students the opportunity to meet and work with other students interested in human rights and take a more active role in the human rights community on campus;
- Provide students the opportunity to learn more about human rights issues and other students’ research and accomplishments in the field of human rights.
The deadline for 2013 Human Rights Essay Contest submissions has now passed. Cash prizes are awarded to two graduate students and to two undergraduate students who are currently enrolled at Columbia University. Information about the 2014 Human Rights Essay Contest will be posted in November 2013.
A Student Review Committee selects finalists and a Faculty Review Committee chooses contest winners from the group of finalists. Committee members must be currently enrolled Columbia University students, but are not required to be enrolled in a human rights program. Students apply to serve on the committee. Those selected to serve on the committee will still be eligible to submit papers for consideration.
Winners of the essay contest, along with other selected participants, are invited to present their papers during the human rights student colloquium. The colloquium, held this year on March 28, 2013 and which takes place each spring semester, is an opportunity for students to present human rights papers and engage in open and lively discussion with other students and faculty members. Please see our calendar for details about this year’s event, and read about the 2013, 2012 and 2011 Colloquia and read abstracts of winner’s papers.
Essay Requirements and Guidelines
Papers may be written in any discipline or from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Submissions may take the form of critical analysis, theoretical examinations, or research papers, as long as they have substantial bearing on human rights issues and concerns. Submissions do not have to be papers written for a course at Columbia.Essay Length
Papers should be approximately 5,000 words (though papers of a shorter length will also be considered).Abstract
When submitting your essay, you will be asked to provide an abstract of your work. The abstract should briefly summarize your work (in approximately 150-250 words), and should allow the reader to quickly ascertain the paper’s purpose.
Co-Authorship of submissions is allowed with the understanding that:
- All co-authors must be Columbia University students.
- All co-authors must be undergraduates, or all co-authors must be graduate students.
- All co-authors must authorize submission of the paper.
- If awarded the prize, it will be divided equally among all authors of the paper.
Formatting and citations
- The text should be double-spaced. Footnotes, endnotes, and long quotations should be single spaced.
- Make sure to include page numbers
- The choice of style manual (i.e., MLA, Chicago) and citation format is up to the student, so long as it used consistently throughout the paper.
- Please proofread your paper carefully before submitting.
Do not include your name anywhere on the paper. Papers are reviewed anonymously.
Deadline for submission
The deadline has now passed. Information about the 2014 Human Rights Essay Contest will be posted in November 2013.
Submitting Your Paper
To submit your paper, you must: (1) complete the contest registration form (2) upload your paper. You may complete these steps at the same time or register and return later to upload your paper. After registering, you will receive an email with a link in order to upload your paper. If you delete or cannot find the email, please complete the registration form again to have it re-sent. (This will not update your information but only resend the link.)
- You can only register once. Your paper title is required when you register and cannot be changed later.
- Your name must not appear in the document you upload. We will associate your paper with your registration information after papers are graded anonymously. Any appearance of your name on the uploaded document may result in your disqualification from the contest.
- Uploads must be in Word (.doc or .docx), PDF, or rich text (.rtf) format.
- The Upload feature will be disabled promptly at the time of the deadline. It will not be possible to submit late papers, and extensions will not be granted for any reason. Please submit your paper in advance of the deadline.
- Only one submission allowed per student.
- Only students enrolled in a Columbia University academic program during the 2012-2013 academic year are eligible to apply. Students do not have to be enrolled in a human rights program to participate.
- ISHR reserves the right to publish winning papers and abstracts on our website and/or in Institute publications.
All papers are reviewed anonymously by Columbia University students and faculty on the basis of their originality, intellectual rigor, relevance and contribution to the field of human rights, and clarity of expression. A Student Review Committee selects finalists and a Faculty Review Committee chooses contest winners from the group of finalists.