Announcing the 2016 International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Student Writing Competition


American University Washington College of Law Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law (Center), the American Society of International Law's Lieber Society (ASIL), and the American Red Cross International Humanitarian Law team are pleased to announce the Sixth Annual International Humanitarian Law (IHL) Student Writing Competition. The Competition seeks submissions of academic papers on the topic of international humanitarian law (IHL) from students currently enrolled in a law degree program in the United States or abroad. The purpose of the Competition is to enhance scholarship and deepen understanding among students in this important area of international law.

The theme of the 2016 Competition is "Refugee Protections under International Humanitarian Law." Papers should focus on ways in which IHL intersects with refugee issues, such as status, how refugee protections are affected by issues of gender, race, class, and nationality, the impact of IHL on resettlement and statelessness, etc. Papers without a direct focus on this theme will not be reviewed.

This Competition is part of a multi-pronged initiative to expand and support the teaching and study of IHL among both students and professors in which both the Center and ASIL have been deeply involved. In 2007, the Center published a study with the International Committee of the Red Cross on Teaching International Humanitarian Law in US Law Schools. The study identified a growing need for resources to support and expand the teaching of IHL among law faculty, but also a desire to support the interest of students in learning about IHL. The IHL Student Writing Competitionpromotes and supports student interest and deepening scholarship in IHL by providing students with a tangible way to become more directly involved in the global discourse around IHL. Click here to learn more about last year's winners.


Papers must be written by students currently enrolled in a law degree program at a U.S. or foreign law school as of the submission deadline. Submissions must be unpublished academic papers written solely by the candidate in English.

For complete Competition rules, click here. For additional Competition FAQs , click here.


October 5, 2016, at 11:59 PM Eastern Standard Time. Papers should be submitted via email to as Microsoft Word attachments. Each person submitting a paper must also fill out and submit a Submission Form (click here to download) and Confirmation of Enrollment (click here to download). Students experiencing difficulty using these forms should email questions to

Students will receive an email confirmation that their submission was received within 24 hours after the submission deadline and should contact the organizers in the event they do not receive a confirmation email.


The winning author will receive a complimentary one-year ASIL student membership and have the opportunity to have their abstract published in the renowed Human Rights Brief, AUWCL's premire human rights publication. The winner will also appear in a video presenation to be featured as part of the Center's Teaching International Law Initiative.

For any questions, comments, or concerns, call 202-274-4180 or email,


Learn more about past Competitions:

2015 International Humanitarian Law Student Writing Competition

2014 International Humanitarian Law Student Writing Competition

2013 International Humanitarian Law Student Writing Competition

2012 International Humanitarian Law Student Writing Competition

2011 International Humanitarian Law Student Writing Competition