First UNSCR 1540 International Student Essay Contest Details

First UNSCR 1540 International Student Essay Contest Details

Contest Closed - Come to the Award Event on Non-proliferation Issues with the UN, Argonne National Lab and other specialists on September 30 For more information, click here.

 

~ YOUR IDEAS on how to prevent the proliferation of the world's most dangerous weapons ~

 

The numbers of terrorists and extremist groups are growing. Many are interested in developing or obtaining Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) – nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. That makes it even more important that we control equipment, materials, technologies, and knowledge that can be used to make and deliver WMDs. The international community needs imaginative strategies to stymie the proliferation of WMDs, and you can help by sharing your best ideas with the U.N. Security Council. Note that this is in support of the U.N. Security Council’s 1540 Committee, a subsidiary organ of the Security Council. Essay contest details are below. Submissions are now closed.

The first- and second-place winners will get a two-night stay in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, to present his/her ideas at a September 30, 2016 awards ceremony hosted at Harvard University to representatives of the U.N. Security Council and will receive awards of $2,000 and $1,000, respectively, from the Washington Foreign Law Society. These top two selected essay winners will also be invited to the EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Conference in Brussels on November 3-4, 2016, and will be invited to present their views at the "Next Generation" workshop on November 2, 2016, courtesy of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. Additional honorees may participate in the awards ceremony hosted at Harvard University via audio/video and will receive $500 awards. A finalist will have the opportunity to publish an article on the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' Voices of Tomorrow feature and be eligible to win the Leonard M. Rieser Award, which includes a $1,000 cash prize. The Stimson Center will publish the top essays. The universities and professors of these top students will also be recognized at the awards ceremony and in the publication. Click below for more information.


 

Background on the Resolution

The United Nations Security Council adopted resolution 1540 in 2004 in the context of the grave concern of the international community about the threat of illicit trafficking of nuclear material and technology and the threat of terrorism. Of concern was the possibility that non-state actors, in particular for terrorist purposes, might acquire, develop, manufacture, or traffic in nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and the means of delivering them. Resolution 1540 used the authority of the Security Council to obligate states to take steps intended to keep these threats from being realized by requiring states to commit to: penalize those who attempt to proliferate WMD and to put in place domestic controls to secure, protect and account for related items and to control their spread, including, for example, dual-use items and technology (dual-use items are those that have legitimate as well as potentially dangerous applications). To assist in implementing these requirements, the U.N. also created the 1540 Committee with a small support group of experts. This year, the Security Council is reviewing the implementation of this resolution over the past five years – and as part of that effort is reaching out to undergraduate and advanced degree students worldwide to bring the brightest minds to bear on the challenge of countering the global threat posed by WMDs. 

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The Essay Requirement: An Action Plan for 1540 Implementation

Your government (pick a particular country) is developing a five-year action plan for the implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1540. Your government may be in a position to help other states implement this resolution or may need to request help in implementing this resolution. You are advising your government on what it needs to do, why, and by when in order to implement this resolution and decrease WMD risks. In no more than 2,500 words, develop a five-year action plan that includes priorities and timelines. Make sure to include ways to measure success.

Supporting information is available for many countries on the 1540 Committee’s website, with both official state reports and the experts’ reports available. You can also find via these links: National Reports of countries’ past implementation; the Committee’s matrices of how each country has met the many requirements of 1540; and some countries’ reports of their future National Implementation Plans.

Your action plan should assess your country’s current levels of implementation and gaps, assess threats, and identify means to meet them. You may want to assign responsibility for implementation. In addition to deciding what your government needs to do for itself, the role of assistance may be considered.

- If your government is in a position to provide implementation assistance to others, your proposed action plan should also focus on how best to furnish such aid. What needs to get done and how can your country help? This will require, among other things, establishing priorities for the countries and/or regions to be included in any assistance program. In addition, you may judge that some of the obligations of the resolution should be given priority.  

- If your government is in the position of needing assistance, your action plan should identify means to meet them. It will also need to formulate assistance requests. What are the critical areas that need to be addressed and where is outside assistance needed?

In both scenarios, you should take into account the efforts of other governments and international organizations engaged in supporting Resolution 1540, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency in the nuclear, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in the chemical area, the World Health Organization and the Implementation Support Unit of the Biological Weapons Convention in the biological area, and the World Customs Organization. Strive to enhance outcomes and avoid duplication.

Finally, as noted in the call for the 2016 Comprehensive Review of implementation, you should be aware of the "rapidly changing scientific, technological, and commercial environment in which the implementation of resolution 1540 is taking place.”

You may choose to cover all or part of a five-year plan and simply note where more needs to be done to complete the plan. 

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The Award Details

The U.N. Security Council will select the top winners. These essays will help inform the 2016 Comprehensive Review of U.N. Security Council resolution 1540.

The first- and second-place winners will get a trip to Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, to present his/her ideas at a September 30, 2016 awards ceremony hosted at Harvard University to representatives of the U.N. Security Council and will receive awards of $2,000 and $1,000, respectively, from the Washington Foreign Law Society. Additional honorees may participate in the awards ceremony hosted at Harvard University via audio/video and will receive $500 awards. The Stimson Center will publish the top essays. The universities and professors of these top students will also be recognized at the awards ceremony and in the publication. Click below for more information.

NEW! The top two selected essay winners will stay at the Harvard Faculty Club during their stay in Cambridge, Massachusetts from September 29-October 1, 2016. The awards ceremony will be held at Harvard University.

NEW! The top two selected essay winners will also be invited to the EU Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Conference in Brussels on November 3-4, 2016, and will be invited to present their views at the "Next Generation" workshop on November 2, 2016, courtesy of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. 

NEW! A finalist will have the opportunity to publish an article on the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' Voices of Tomorrow feature and be eligible to win the Leonard M. Rieser Award, which includes a $1,000 cash prize. 

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Student Eligibility and Professor Support

Students* must be at least 18 years of age to enter the contest. By submitting an essay, students attest to being enrolled in an undergraduate or advanced degree program (e.g., graduate/law/business/medical school) during the calendar year 2016. The name of the institution and the name of an institution official (e.g., a professor or dean) must be provided to verify enrollment. Students may apply individually or as a team. If submitting as a team, the submitter will be deemed to represent the team and will be responsible for the distribution of the prize money and the designation of the individual from the team to present at the award ceremony. All team members will be recognized in the publication of winning essays. All work must be the students' own and not previously published.

The name of supporting professors and their contact information may be provided and would enhance the essay’s standing in the evaluations. These professors must be current full-time, part-time or adjunct professors; a professor may not lend his/her name to support more than three submissions. 

For a Sponsoring Professor/Sponsor: By submitting or supporting a student or team essay, you agree to be recognized if your student or team is a winner. You may review the  essay for clarity, typographical errors, thoroughness and formatting, per the contest requirements. However, you must certify that the students' work you submit is the students' own work.

Current employees, contractors, or interns of the Stimson Center, U.N. Office of Disarmament Affairs, and the U.N. Security Council are not eligible to participate in this contest. The essay becomes the property of the Stimson Center once submitted. By entering this contest, you agree to have your photo shared and your essay published if you are among the top 10 winners.

*Those who do not fit the student eligibility guidelines above may still submit essays. Although such contributors will not be able to receive contest awards, the Committee would like to encourage broad engagement. The Stimson Center will produce a short summary Note highlighting excellent contributions. This Note will be posted on the Stimson website and will be submitted along with noteworthy essays to the 1540 Committee Chair to help inform the 2016 Comprehensive Review of the 1540 resolution.

Contest Deadline: Entries must be received by 11:59 p.m Eastern Time on August 5, 2016. Winners will be announced in early September.

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Submission Format

The essay must be submitted via email to [email protected] in PDF format to be considered.
- The essay must be in English. It must not exceed 2,500 words and must include an introductory summary section of less than 250 words that highlights the most important aspects of your plan.
- In the pdf file name, do include the name of the country you have chosen to represent in your essay and the date of your submission so the file name appears Country_daymonthyear (e.g., United States_23June2016).
- Do not include any identifying marks such as your name, your professor’s name, or your institution on any of the essay pages.
- Please number your pages.
- Essays must be typed, single-spaced, in 12-point Times New Roman or an equivalent font with a one-inch margin on all sides of the page.
- Any citations should be included as endnotes and presented according to the Chicago Manual of Style.  
- The title, introductory summary, and bibliography do not count toward the maximum word count of 2,500 words. Do not use the maximum number of words if you feel you can convey your thoughts effectively with fewer words. You may choose to focus on the most important parts of the proposed plan and note areas that need to be further considered to complete the plan.

In the email you send to [email protected] with your essay attached and only in the email (not on your essay), put:

- Your Full Name (Note: if submitting as a team, include the full names of each team member)
- The file name of your essay with the name of the country you have chosen to represent in your essay: Country_daymonthyear (e.g., United States_23June2016) 
- Your email and phone numbers 
- Name of your school and institution and its city and country (e.g., NUST Business School, National University of Science and Technology, Islamabad, Pakistan) 
- Your standing in the school in September 2016 (e.g., first-year law student, second-year undergraduate student with a major in chemistry, second-year medical student) 
- The name, title, email, and phone number of an official to verify enrollment. If you have a sponsoring professor, please provide his/her name, title, email, and phone number.  

Note that [email protected] is for submissions only. If you have questions, contact [email protected], or Rose Morrissy at[email protected].

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Criteria for Judging 

The essays will be judged on clarity, feasibility, and ease of implementation, and potential for WMD risk reduction.

Questions: [email protected] or Rose Morrissy, [email protected]

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Resources:

-United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540
-1540 Compass: an online publication to share practical implementation information of 1540
-The role of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) in support of the 1540 Committee
-For news and updates, follow the conversation via #1540Contest
-National Reports of countries’ past implementation
-Committee’s matrices of how each country has met the many requirements of 1540
-Some countries’ reports of their future National Implementation Plans
     Also see: 1540 Committee AssistanceCooperationTransparency & Outreach, and country Points of Contact
-Publicity links: see the contest poster here, one-pager here, and push-card here