1325 and Beyond – An International Essay Competition

Deadline: 10 May 2020 (at midnight EST)
Open to:
young professionals with an MA or higher academic degree, and students currently enrolled in a MA, PhD, JD or corresponding graduate program at a university or equivalent academic institution in 2020
Benefits: cash prizes


In the run-up to the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325 (2000)) Women In International Security (WIIS) and the Heinrich Böll Foundation Washington, DC are launching an international graduate student essay competition 1325AndBeyond.

The essay contest is intended to highlight innovative and imaginative ideas and strategies to achieve the objectives of 1325 in the 2020s. We hope they will provide important input for the 20th-anniversary deliberations of UNSCR 1325.

Over the last two decades, political leaders around the world have made a series of grand public declarations and formal commitments to gender equality and the advancement of the role of women in peace and security issues. Unfortunately, there is still an enormous gap between these pronouncements and aspirations and effective policy and real-world progress.

UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) was adopted in October 2000. It called on all UN member states and the UN Secretary-General to (1) increase the representation and participation of women in conflict prevention and conflict resolution processes, including in security institutions; (2) integrate gender perspectives in the analysis of international security issues; and (3) adopt special measures to protect women and girls from gender-based violence in conflict settings. Nine subsequent UN Security Council resolutions have reinforced and refined the WPS agenda.

Regional organizations as diverse as the African Union (AU), the European Union (EU), and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have developed organization-wide policies and Action Plans to incorporate the guidance from UNSCR 1325 into their deliberations and actions. At the national level, some 81 states have developed National Action Plans and adopted legislation to implement and advance the WPS Agenda. Civil society organizations have played important roles in mobilizing governments and international organizations. All these actions have been important steps forward and necessary for progress, yet they have not been sufficient. Progress towards the goals of the WPS agenda has been limited and uneven. Even where progress has been made, many of the gains are vulnerable and potentially reversible.

The underrepresentation of women in national and international security institutions and deliberations remains glaring. Gender perspectives are insufficiently integrated into analyses of national and international security challenges. In addition, violence against women and girls has continued at horrifying levels, especially in conflict settings.

Essays must focus on the future—the next decade, specifically. The question is how best to move the objectives of UNSCR 1325 and the WPS agenda forward in the 2020s, given the successes and failures of the last two decades.

  • Essays must contain specific and practical (realistic) recommendations for civil society,
    states, and/or international organizations.
  • Essays can focus on only one international actor (e.g. civil society, a particular state or group of states, the United Nations, a regional organization) or on a multitude of international actors.


Essay submissions are open to young professionals with an MA or higher academic degree, and students currently enrolled in a MA, PhD, JD, or corresponding graduate program at a university or equivalent academic institution in 2020. Recent graduates, as well as individuals who will be enrolled in a graduate program within the next academic year, will also be considered. All genders are encouraged to apply.

  1. Essays must be the individuals’ own original pieces of work, not previously published;
  2. Essays must be written in the English language and be between 1,500 and 2,000 words;
  3. Submissions must also include: (1) a 250-word summary; (2) a bibliography; (3) a brief biography; Optional: a copy of school/university enrollment; Optional – a photo.
  4. The biography should include: a) full name of the individual; b) name of the school or university and program in which the student is enrolled OR individual’s employment information; c) individual contact information (email and phone number);
  5. Essays must be typed (single-spaced) in 12-point Times New Roman and submitted in both Word and PDF format;


First place winner USD 1,325; Second place winner USD 1,000; Third place winner USD 750; Fourth and fifth place USD 250

How to Apply?

Essays and other submission requirements must be submitted to the online submission form.

For more information, please visit the official web page.