7 October 2021

2021 Essay Competition for Undergraduate Students on Critical Human Rights and Peace Issues in ASEAN/Southeast Asia

AUN-HRE Secretariat
Thematic Network contributors;

By Sriprapha Petcharamesree and Sunsanee Sutthisunsanee, AUN-HRE Secretariat

The ASEAN University Network- Human Rights Education (AUN-HRE), in collaboration with the Strengthening Human Rights and Peace Research and Education in ASEAN/ Southeast Asia (SHAPE-SEA), with financial support from the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights (NCHR), University of Oslo, launched the 2021 Essay Competition on Critical Human Rights and Peace Issues in ASEAN/Southeast Asia. The competition ran from May to August 2021, seeing four winners out of a total of 291 submissions.

Based on the theme ASEAN’s Golden Chance to Save the “Golden Land”: Seeking Regional Solutions to Restore Democracy and Protect Human Rights in Myanmar, the competition aimed to sensitize undergraduate students from ASEAN/Southeast Asia who enroll in higher education institutions in the region about critical human rights issues, with particular focus on analyzing the situation in Myanmar and to provide sound recommendations for ASEAN and its member-states. The theme encouraged students to explore and analyze ASEAN’s role in addressing current social, political, cultural and economic situations in Myanmar.

The call for essay competition, disseminated through an online platform, was highly successful, shared by the Ministry of Foreign Affair Indonesia - Instagram Stories Update and on the ASEAN Secretariat Indonesia website. By the deadline, a total of 291 essays were received from students based in 9 countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Timor Leste, Vietnam), all coming from a diverse academic background, including veterinary medicine, communications and business as well as engineering.  

Of the four winners chosen, three essays from the Philippines and Indonesia were selected through a fair and double blinded selection process, while the other from Cambodia was selected through popular vote. All qualified essays were screened and then processed through expert panel deliberation based on the criteria set based on the merit of the qualifications. 
Aside from the cash prize, the four winners were invited to present their essays in the upcoming SEAHRN mini conference scheduled on 28-29 October 2021.