Official Rules Human Rights Essay Award

The Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law at American University Washington College of Law is proud to request the submission of essays for the Human Rights Essay Award (HREA). Recipients will be chosen according to the following rules:

1. Applicants for the Award must hold a law degree and have a demonstrated experience or interest in international human rights law.

2. Past winners cannot participate in future awards.

3. To apply for the HREA, applicants must choose a subject pertaining to the topic chosen by the Academy for each particular year. Applicants will have the flexibility to choose any subject related to the substantive law relevant to the field. International human rights law shall be understood to include international humanitarian law and international criminal law. The essay must be within the scope of the topic or it will be disqualified.

4. Applicants must submit an unpublished legal essay in English or Spanish written solely by that person. Essays written by two or more people are not accepted!

5. Only one submission will be accepted per applicant in either language, English or Spanish. If more than one essay is received, it will be left up to the applicant to decide which essay to submit officially. Should the applicant not indicate a preference, the first essay received by the Academy will be the one considered for the award.

6. The essays must not exceed 35 pages, including footnotes

6.1. For the body of the essay applicants must use Times New Roman font, 12-point double-spaced.

6.2. For the footnotes of the essay applicants must use Times New Roman font, 10-point single-spaced. If you have questions on the proper usage of footnotes, please consult the "The Uniform System of Citation: The Bluebook."

6.3. Character spacing must be set to normal with 1 inch (2.54 cm) margins all around

6.4. All essays must be on letter size paper (8.5 x 11 inches/21.59 x 27.94 cm). Do not use other sizes!

6.5. Any essay that does not follow the guidelines will be reformatted and 5 points will be taken off the final score. If the essay is longer than 35 pages, it will be automatically disqualified.

7. The essay has to be a legal document and must contain extensive research and legal analysis; therefore, it will include substantial footnotes and proper citations. The absence of those will cause the essay to be disqualified.

8. Applicants/Authors should not put their names or any identifying information in their essays.

9. Essays will only be accepted in word format.

10. In addition, each applicant must also include a curriculum vitae (CV)/resume of no more than three pages in length explaining their experience or interest in human rights issues. Please submit the CV as a separate file from your essay.

11. Any appended materials other than a CV will not be accepted. Do not include a bibliography, a list of websites, or any other extra materials. These will be immediately discarded and not considered.

12. Essays must be submitted using the online submission formNo emailed entries will be accepted!

13. The Academy will confirm via e-mail the receipt of all essays submitted. If you do not receive a confirmation within 48 business hours (Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) of sending a submission, please contact us to ensure that we received it.

14. Essays must be received before the dates stated in the ¨Important dates¨ section on our website. Essays received after the deadline will not be accepted.

15. The Honor Jury that will select the Award winners is composed of professionals with recognized expertise in international human rights law.  The names of the Honor Jury for each particular year will be announced on our website.

16. There will be a pre-selection committee that will review all of the accepted, valid and non-disqualified essays and will select the final three in each language that will be later considered by the Honor Jury.

17. The Honor Jury decision will be announced on the date stated in the ¨Important dates¨ section on our website. The winners will also be notified via email. The decision of the Honor Jury will be final and will admit no appeal.

18. The Academy will award six awards, three for each language as follows:

Essays in English:

  • 18.1. Award for Best Essay in English 
  • 18.2. Honorable Mention for Second Best Essay in English
  • 18.3. Honorable Mention for Third Best Essay in English

Essays in Spanish:

  • 18.4. Award for Best Essay in Spanish
  • 18.5. Honorable Mention for Second Best Essay in Spanish
  • 18.6. Honorable Mention for Third Best Essay in Spanish

19. The award for the Best Essays in English and Spanish includes a full tuition scholarship to the Program of Advanced Studies on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law for either the Diploma or Certificate of Attendance option. Travel, housing, and per diem living expenses are not included and should be covered solely by the winners. The Academy reserves the right to determine if the 2024 Program of Advanced Studies will be held virtually, or at least if some classes will be held remotely, bearing in mind that the 2021 Program was held entirely virtual due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

20. The winners will receive a certificate that accredits them as such and that can be presented to any organization or educational institution if the recipient considers it important. The Award will be the publication of the essays in The American University International Law Review (AUILR)* if publishing standards are met.

21. The essays pre-selected for the Award will undergo a thorough review for plagiarism and may be disqualified if any evidence of plagiarism is found.

22. Authors must keep copies of all of their source materials; this means having photocopies of all of the pages used from a particular source. Such documents may be required at any time at the discretion of the Academy.

23. The Academy reserves the right to give the Award to none of the applicants in the event that the submitted essays do not meet the minimum requirements.

24. The essays presented will be the property of American University Washington College of Law, Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law. The Academy will reserve the right to publish them in the Academy’s proceedings in a written or electronic format, or other media, and to disseminate them as judged appropriate. In the event the essay is not published within a reasonable time, it will be returned to the author, upon request.

25. In the event a situation arises that is not included herein, the Academy will resolve it at its own discretion and will inform the applicants thereof.

26. Application for the Award presupposes acceptance of the terms described herein.

You may contact us with questions at humanrightsessay@wcl.american.edu.