Girl Security and the quarterly journal International Security are joining forces for an essay competition designed to amplify girls’ and women’s voices in global security! Please see the details below. For questions please email SUBMIT YOUR ESSAY HERE !

essay competition

We invite essays on all topics related to international relations, global and regional security, and military and diplomatic history! There is no specific “essay prompt” – we want you to write about what interests you most.

In general, essays may fall into four broad categories (although essays might address more than one category):

Policy. Analyses of contemporary security policy issues.

Theory. Essays that propose, test, refine, or apply theories of international relations and security studies to key issues.

History. Articles that offer new information on or interpretations of historical events that impact our thinking on international and regional security.

Technology. Analyses of the scientific and technological dimensions of international security issues.

Examples of specific topics may include:

  • The causes and prevention of war
  • Great power politics
  • International relations theory
  • Civil wars, revolutions, and domestic repression
  • Terrorism and insurgency
  • Climate change and international relations
  • Human rights and international law
  • The foreign and defense policies of states
  • Regional security in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, and South America
  • Transnational social movements and protest
  • Norms and ethics in international relations
  • Gender, race, and identity in international security
  • Diplomatic and military history
  • Cybersecurity, biosecurity, and defense technology
  • Political economy of security issues
  • Nuclear proliferation and non-proliferation

info session


  • Length requirement: 10-15 pages, double spaced, 12-point font.
  • Must use consistent citation formatting (any citation format is acceptable so long as it is used throughout the essay). Footnotes or endnotes, so long as others’ works are properly identified.
  • This is an “international” essay competition, so references to “us” and “them” should be avoided in favor of specific reference to “U.S. allies,” “the Japanese economy,” “NATO budgets,” etc.
  • Don’t forget to give your essay a title.
  • Co-authorship is allowed (no more than 3 co-authors). All co-authors must meet eligibility as listed below.


  • Open to high school aged (14-18) and undergraduate aged (18-22) or currently enrolled girls and women across the globe
  • Two 1st place winners (1 High School, 1 College)
  • Cash Prize: $600 for first prize, $200 for Runner-Up
  • Deadline: July 16th, 2021 at midnight ET
  • Essays must be submitted in English


tips for success


Girl Security is preparing girls, women, and gender minorities for careers in national security through equity-informed learning, college-to-career training, and mentoring. Girl Security is the only initiative of its kind working across the U.S. to build a national security workforce that looks more like the nation it is securing while also activating an ecosystem of stakeholders committed to re-envisioning a more inclusive understanding of national security.

International Security is a leading peer-reviewed journal of security affairs. It provides sophisticated analyses of contemporary, theoretical, and historical security issues. International Security is edited at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and is published by The MIT Press.

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