We want to encourage students to develop policy recommendations for pressing issues that have continuously seen deadlock in the international community, yet also offer new opportunities for increased transatlantic cooperation: climate change, Iran's nuclear program, and relations between Russia and the West. The policy workshop has two components: a) an opinion article written by students in one of three categories and b) an online debate among the shortlisted entries, in which participants will be asked to jointly develop a memorandum for policy makers.
The winners in each of the three categories will receive a cash award of €750, while the three runners up and third places will each receive €400 and €300 respectively. That means a total of nine awards, with a grand sum of €4,350!
On top of that, the first place winners of each category will be invited to an award ceremony in Berlin, where they will be able to present their policy memoranda. Atlantic-community.org can cover accommodation costs up to €50 and transportation (return ticket with Deutsche Bahn).
How to Participate in the Workshop
Simply register to create an account and
profile for free under the following link:
2. Submit Article
Please write an op-ed style opinion article on one of the three questions below. The article should be written in English, 700-1500 words long (we prefer brevity and precision), and must contain clear policy recommendations. We welcome fresh ideas, strong theses, and provocative arguments. Articles will be judged on the construction of arguments and on the quality of writing, not on the opinions expressed therein. The article should aim to convince a policymaker to opt for a particular strategy, by outlining why the present approach is unsuccessful and how your approach overcomes or circumvents potential pitfalls. It should also be comprehensible to a member of the general public and not include dense scientific and technical jargon.
Please note that each category has a different deadline for submission. See below.
Please submit your article through the website
by clicking the "submit article" button on the front page or following this
Alternatively, you could also email your article as a WORD document to
3. Participate in the Online Debate
In each category, five articles will be shortlisted, which will then be published and put up for discussion for one week in the Open Think Tank on atlantic-community.org. During this week, the five shortlisted authors will be invited to make constructive comments on each other's articles and defend their arguments. After that, the atlantic-community.org editorial team will write a draft policy memorandum containing the key recommendations that have come out of the debate. The shortlisted authors will collaborate in an online workshop to finalize the memorandum by deciding on which policy recommendations get in. They will be briefed and assisted by the editorial team in this final stage of the competition.
The jury will select three winners in all three categories, whereby 3/4 of their assessment is based on the submitted articles, and 1/4 on the authors' online collaboration.
Meet Jury Member Dr. Jackson Janes, Executive Director of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies:
Category 1: Iran's Nuclear Program
Following the controversial re-election of Mahmud Ahmadinejad, Iran
witnessed an unprecedented outbreak of popular dissent. In order to
distract from the internal crisis, the regime has continued to embrace a
hard-line stance on its nuclear program. It insists that Iranian
efforts to enrich uranium are legitimate and intended only for civilian
purposes. However, the international community remains suspicious mostly
due to the opaque nature of Iran's nuclear dealings. The 5 plus 1 (the
five UN Security Council members plus Germany) seek to force Teheran to
abandon its enrichment program for fear that it might be used to develop
nuclear weapons. Nevertheless, the group's members remain divided on
the issue of sanctions, as China and Russia fear these may be
counterproductive and may endanger their own interests in Iran. While
generally in favor of sanctions, the transatlantic partners also do not
necessarily see eye to eye on Iran: In case of Tehran's continued
obstinacy, the US maintains that "all options are still on the table,"
whereas the Europeans oppose military action as a matter of principle.
Question: What could a successful strategy for the transatlantic partners to overcome the deadlock on Iran's Nuclear Program look like?
Deadline for submission: October 24, 2010 => The shortlisted articles in this category have been published here.
Category 2: Russia and the West
In the wake of President Medvedev's call for a new European security architecture, differences in the attitudes toward Russia among EU citizens as well as in the United States have once again resurfaced. On the one hand, there are arguments in favor of a greater engagement of Russia in the realms of security, commerce, and energy - by improving ties with Moscow, relations over divisive issues such as Europe's over-dependence on Gazprom are expected to be more easily resolved. Greater cooperation in the fight against drugs and terrorism would also ease the burden for the traditional transatlantic partners in difficult economic times. Yet other experts caution that Russia's integration into Europe will do more harm than good to the common purpose, as long as authoritarian leadership and rampant corruption persist. Germany is caught in the middle, as it wishes to maintain good relations with both the United States and Russia.
Question: What can Germany do to improve Russian-Western relations?
Deadline for submission: November 7, 2010 => The shortlisted articles in this category have been published here.
Category 3: Climate Change
The Copenhagen summit in December 2009 is widely viewed has having merely delivered more hot air, as fundamental national interests trumped over the creation of a truly multilateral framework for emissions reduction. While the human effects on climate change have been widely acknowledged and the need for emissions reductions has been recognized, the right of newly industrialized countries (NICs) to further their economic development has also been recognized as valid. Nonetheless, climate leadership remains a core aspect of Western political identity. After the disappointment of Copenhagen there have now been calls to focus less on emissions reduction commitments and more on creating incentives directing energy policy and energy financing towards climate friendliness.
Question: How can Europe and the United States cooperate in creating incentives for action against climate change?
Deadline for submission: November 21, 2010 => The shortlisted articles in this category have been published here.
The contest is open to all university students, both undergraduate and graduate level (incl. PhD students), enrolled at German universities as well as German nationals enrolled at international universities. Participants must be registered as members at atlantic-community.org. Their profile must include a personal picture (as all articles on the website are published with an author portrait), as well as the relevant information about their course of study.
Atlantic-community.org is the award winning online think tank and web community for international relations, with more than 4,800 members from all over the world analyzing and debating global affairs online. In addition to a daily round-up of top press commentary, the website features up-to-date summaries of think tank analyses, as well as regular opinion articles from members and guest contributors, and information on job/internship opportunities, calls for papers, and events. We are dedicated to support and advance future leaders through networking opportunities that link students and young professionals with senior decision-makers and experts.
Atlantic-community.org is a project conducted by the Atlantische Initiative e.V., a non-profit, non- partisan organization based in Berlin, with a sister organization in Washington DC, and an international advisory board.
This competition is organized under the sponsorship of the United States Embassy in Berlin.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions on the competition and the website in general.
Photo by Angus Kirk under a Creative Commons license.