Peace And Human Rights Essay Competition

The Pozen Center sponsors the Ignacio Martín-Baró Human Rights Essay Competition each year, awarding a prize to the top College, Master's/Professional, and Doctoral student submission. 

Winning essays from 2011 to present are available for download in PDF format. 



Valerie Gutmann, AB'17 (Sociology)
“Housing As A Human Right: The Gautreaux Cases and Housing Choice Vouchers in Chicago” 

Chelsea Rapoport, AB'17 (Psychology)
“Infiltrators or Refugees? African Asylum Seekers in Israel and Their Clash with the Jewish State”


Emma Mackinnon, PhD'17 (Political Science)
“Universalizing the Promise of Empire: Human Rights “Hypocrisy” and France’s Defense of the War in Algeria” 



Joyce Lu, Biological Sciences
"A Right to Health? Pluralities of Universal Healthcare in Postwar Guatemala"

Nadia Perl, Laws, Letters, and Society
"The Human Rights Implications of Climate Change"

Undergraduate Honorable Mention 

Maheema Haque, Economics
"The Right to Education: The Case of Syran Child Refugees in Turkey" 

Maya Kliger, History and Political Science
"The Long Road to “Women’s Rights are Human Rights:” Cold War Feminism from an International Perspective"

Master's / Professional 

Grace Bickers, Center for Middle Eastern Studies
"Citizenship, Religion, and the State: Transnational Isma‘ili Identity and The Implementation of Economic, Social, and Cultural Human Rights in Tajikistan"


Hadji Bakara, English
"Poetry in the Shadow of Human Rights"



Miriam Shestack, History
"Consumer Activism as a Human Rights Enforcement Mechanism in the Global Garment Industry"

MA / Professional

Samantha Cook, MAPPS
"Humanitarian Politics: Implications of Agamben's "bare life" for the African Great Lakes Refugee Crisis, and vice versa"


Tejas Parasher, Political Science
"Legal Rights and Structural Inequality: Reading Human Rights Historiography through Fanon"



Emmaline Campbell; Laws, Letters & Society
"Conflicted Colleges: Why American Universities Have Not Effectively Addressed the Campus Sexual Assault Crisis"

Russell Hathaway, Public Policy Studies
"Systems of Exclusion in Uganda: The Problem of Enforcing and Expanding LGBT Human Rights"

Elena Sakopoulos, Political Science
"Unionization as a Human Right"


Thomas Snyder; History
"Protecting the 'Right to be Let Alone': Privacy as a Human Right in the Twenty-First Century"



Heather Lyon, Anthropology
"Breaking the Silence: Transitional Justice in Chicago"


Alexander Bergerson, Law
"Incorporating the ICESCR into the WTO: Challenges and Opportunities"

Valerie Strattan Guerra, MA-School of Social Service Administration 
"Child Soldiers, Gang Members: Reconceptualizing Urban Violence in America"


Jonah Rubin, Anthropology
"Transitional Justice Against the State: Implications of the Local Interpretations of Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation"



Vanessa Bernick, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
"The Anfal Campaign: A Politically Feasible Atrocity"

Michael Kenstowicz, Law, Letters, and Society
"Establishing Expectations for the Genocide Convention's Use: Politics as Usual?"


Erin Bradley, School of Social Service Administration 
"What Happened to the Woman with the AK-47? The Transformation of Women's Rights in Post-Revolutionary Nicaragua"


Jeffrey Kahn, Anthropology
"Border Laboratories: Lawfare and the Rights of Haitian Asylum Seekers in the United States"



Nurjannah Ahmat, Economics 
"The Bibik in Malaysia: A Human Rights Perspective"

Sela Cowger, Political Science 
"The Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the Dominican Republic: The Problems of Implementation and Enforcement of Human Rights Standards"


Matthew Lebrato, MA - Latin American and Caribbean Studies
"Autonomy and Integration: Indigenous Rights in Southern Mexico"


Gabriel Mares, Political Science; "Torture's Discourse and the Liberal State in Crisis"



Samantha Wishnak, Political Science
"Slums, the Environment, and the ‘Public Interest’: Right or Recreation?"


Liz Austermuehle, Law
 "CEDAW, the Universal Declaration, and Their Interaction with Single-Sex Public Transportation"


Patrick Kelly History
"'When the People Awake': The Transnational Solidarity Movement, the Pinochet Junta, and the Human Rights Moment of the 1970s"



Sean Dickson, Public Policy 
"The Failure of Human Rights in Healthcare: Why a human rights framework leads to inefficient distribution of healthcare in the era of HIV"


James Tierney, Law School 
"Sovereign Power, Human Rights, and Hypocrisy Costs"


Rachel Feinmark, History 
"Pure But Decidedly Not Simple: the American Federation of Labor and its Quest for International Human Rights, 1939-1950"



Tyler Zoanni, Political Science 
"For, Against, and With Gewirth and Rorty: An Effort to Rethink Foundationalism and Non-Foundationalism in Human Rights Philosophy"


Rocío Magaña, Anthropology;
"Desolation Bound: The Enforcement of the Border on Migrant Bodies in the Arizona-Mexico Desert Region"



Grant Gordon, African and African-American Studies and Public Policy; “The Boundaries of Violence”


José Angel Hernández, History; “Historicizing Contemporary Deporation Raids, 1836-2006”



Adam Lebovitz, Political Science "The Gospel According to Giorgio Agamben: Reflections on Homo Sacer and the Rights of Man"


Mike Monteleone, East Asian Languages and Civilizations: "Knocking from Within: Contemporary Social Unrest and its Consequences for a Stable China"


Kristin Greer Love
"The Xenophobic Frustration of Rights: The Trouble with Locating Non-Citizens in South Africa’s New Constitutional Human Rights Regime"

Ana Raquel Minian
"Researching Beyond Explicit Goals: The Political, Social and Cultural by-products of the Gay and Lesbian Civil Rights Movement”

Abra Pollock
"The Power of Taking a Risk: Human Rights and the Seeds of Peace”

Maureen Tracey-Mooney
"Carving Out Economic and Social Rights in the U.S.: The Transformation of Hill-Burton and the Right to Health Care”



Kristin Greer Love, History (Human Rights), and Law, Letters, and Society 
"The Constitutional Right to Food in the Republic of South Africa: A Critical Examination of the History of Section 27 and an Evaluation of its Enforcement"


Holning Lau, Law School 
"Sexual Orientation: Testing the Universality of International Human Rights Law"


Ann Schneider, History 
"The 1910 Sailors' “Revolt Against the Lash”: The Military, Politics, the Body, and Rights in Brazil"



Margaret Darin Hagan, Comparative Literature 
"Human Rights Melodrama: A literary analysis of reports on police violence against Hungarian Roms"


Victor Boutros, Law School 
"Punishing Sex Crimes Perpetrated During the Rwandan Genocide:The Case of Akayesu"



Michael Murphy, English Language and Literature
"Shitting Words: Dirty Protests. Dirty Wars, Dirty Civilization"


Victor Boutros, Law School
"Victory in Rwanda: An Analysis of US Decision-Making in Rwanda"


Shane Greene, Anthropology
"Intellectual Property, Resources or Territory? Reframing the Debate over Indigenous Rights, Traditional Knowledge, and Pharmaceutical Bioprospection."



Lea Bishop
"Anti-Nicaraguan Xenophobia and Newspaper Editorial Policy in Costa Rica: Analysis and Suggestions"


Andrew Sandoval-Strausz
"Travelers, Strangers, and Jim Crow:  Law, Public Accommodation, and Civil Rights in Nineteenth-Century America."



Tanja Bubbel 
"Abortion and the European Convention on Human Rights."


Devin O. Pendas
"'Law Not Vengeance':   Human Rights, the Rule of Law and the Claims of Memory in German Holocaust Trials." 


Risha Foulkes
"Supporting Culture, Supporting Women: The Challenge of Universal Human Rights."

Thomas Liddy
"The International Criminal Court as Factor in the Global Human Rights Regime."

This annual essay contest is organized in an effort to harness the energy, creativity and initiative of the world's youth in promoting a culture of peace and sustainable development. It also aims to inspire society to learn from the young minds and to think about how each of us can make a difference in the world.

*This program is an activity of the UNESCO Global Action Programme (GAP) on Education for Sustainable Development (ESD).

Click here to
send your essay online
* This link will be activated soon.

For further inquiries concerning the International Essay Contest for Young People, please contact

Organized by

The Goi Peace Foundation

Endorsed by

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan
Japanese National Commission for UNESCO, Japan Private High School Federation
Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education, Japan Broadcasting Corporation, Nikkei Inc.

Supported by


Essay Contest 2018 Flyer (PDF)


Past Winning Essays


Q1Are there any exceptions to the age limit for participating in the contest?

A1No, you must be 25 years old or younger as of June 15, 2018, which is the entry deadline date. That means you must be born after June 15, 1993. On the other hand, there is no minimum age requirement.

Q2Is there a fee for participating in this contest?

A2No, participation is free of charge.

Q3Do I have to be Japanese or Asian to join the contest?

A3A3: No, all nationalities can participate from anywhere in the world.

Q4My essay is a little over 700 words. Is it acceptable?

A4No, essays must be 700 words or less in order to qualify. However, the cover page and essay title are excluded from the word count. There is no minimum word count.

Q5Are the title and cover page included in the word count limit?

A5No, the 700 word count limit is for the body of the essay only.

Q6Do I need a cover page for my essay submitted online?

A6No, a cover page is only required for entries submitted by postal mail. For online entries, all required information is submitted through the registration form, and therefore, you do not need to include a cover page in your essay file.

Q7Can I give any title to my essay?

A7Yes, you can give your essay an original title as long as the content is in line with the theme.

Q8Is there a specific format for the essay (font style, size, line space, etc.)?

A8There are no particular rules regarding formatting. However, your essay file should be submitted in either MS Word(DOC/DOCX) or PDF format.

Q9Can I quote from books or websites? If so, where should I write the reference?

A9If you use quotations, please include the reference at the bottom of the essay. The reference should not be included in the word count.

Q10Can I add photos, images, or my biography to my essay?

A10No. Please send your essay only.

Q11Can I submit my essay via email?

A11No, we do not accept entries by email. Please submit your essay either by postal mail or through the online registration page:* This link will be activated soon.

Q12Can I submit a hand-written essay?

A12Yes, we accept hand-written essays. You can either send it by postal mail or submit a scanned PDF copy through the online registration page:* This link will be activated soon.

Q13Can I submit more than one essay?

A13Yes, you can submit more than one essay as long as the contents are different. They can also be written in different languages. Please use the same account to submit multiple essays online.

Q14Can I submit my essay in my native language?

A14Essays are accepted in English, French, Spanish, German or Japanese only, since these are the only languages the contest organizers and judges can read. However, we can accept essays written in other languages, if they are accompanied by translations in one of the accepted languages.

Q15Can we co-write and submit one essay as a team?

A15No. Essays must be written by one person. Co-authored essays are not accepted.


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