HIR Academic Writing Contest

The HIR Harvard International Review Academic Writing Contest is founded by the Harvard International Review, a quarterly magazine covering insights on international affairs. The magazine has featured commentary by 43 Presidents and Prime Ministers, 4 Secretaries-General, 4 Nobel Economics Prize laureates, and 7 Nobel Peace Prize laureates.
Interested in the competition?
John Locke Essay Competition

Competition Overview

$40 USD (including 1-year HIR digital subscription)
Entry fee
Grade 9 to 12 in the U.S, and international students
HIR Defense Day
Results and winners are notified

Deadline Details

There are three distinct submission cycles for the contest: 

Spring 2024

Article Submission Deadline: May 31, 2024
HIR Defense Day: June 29, 2024

Summer 2024

Article Submission Deadline: August 31, 2024
HIR Defense Day: October 5, 2024

Fall 2024 / Winter 2024

Article Submission Deadline: January 2, 2025
HIR Defense Day: February 5, 2025

Competition Details

1. Eligibility
United States: Students are in grades nine through twelve in any of the fifty states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. territories, or if they are U.S. citizens/lawful permanent residents attending high school overseas.

International: Students outside of the United States are welcome to submit, and submission should be written in English and with traditional American spelling.

2. Contest format
Participants submit short-form articles on topics in international affairs, which are then read and graded by the Harvard International Review (HIR). Finalists are selected from these submissions and invited to participate in a virtual HIR Defense Day. During Defense Day, finalists give a 15-minute presentation and oral defense of their articles to HIR judges. Additionally, participants have the opportunity to attend special events related to international affairs.

3. Theme
For this year’s contest, students can choose 2 different themes: 

  • Theme A: Inequalities in a VUCA World
  • Theme B: Global Challenges and Collective Actions

4. Categories
Potential categories include (but are not limited to) Agriculture, Business, Cybersecurity, Defense, Education, Employment & Immigration, Energy & Environment, Finance & Economy, Public Health, Science & Technology, Space, Trade, and Transportation. Articles should examine the theme from a global perspective rather than focusing on the United States.

5. Prizes
All submissions will receive a letter grade. Contestants who receive a passing grade without qualifying for a HIR Defense Day will receive a Commendation. Finalists will be eligible for the following medals based on their preliminary grade and performance on the HIR Defense Day.

Commendation: HIR Certificate

Bronze Medal: HIR Certificate and name listed on the website

Silver Medal: HIR Certificate, name listed on website, and 1-year HIR print subscription

Gold Medal: HIR Certificate, name, and paper linked on website and 2-year HIR print subscription

Submission details

All entries must be submitted by January 2, 2024.

1. Word Limit
The article must be around 800-1,200 words (not counting diagrams, data tables, or authorship declaration). 

2. Writing Style
Submissions must be analytically backed perspectives on an under-appreciated global topic. The HIR does not accept op-eds. 

3. Citations and Sources
All factual claims must be backed by a citation from a reliable source. All ideas that are not your own must be properly attributed.

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