Who We Are
The Harvard International Review is a quarterly magazine offering insight on international affairs from the perspectives of scholars, leaders, and policymakers. Since our founding in 1979, we've set out to bridge the worlds of academia and policy through outstanding writing and editorial selection.
The quality of our content is unparalleled. Each issue of the Harvard International Review includes exclusive interviews and editorials by leading international figures along with expert staff analysis of critical international issues. We have featured commentary by 43 Presidents and Prime Ministers, 4 Secretaries-General, 4 Nobel Economics Prize laureates, and 7 Nobel Peace Prize laureates.
Inspired by our growing high school readership around the world, we created the Harvard International Review Academic Writing Contest to encourage and highlight outstanding high school writing on topics related to international affairs.
Participants in the contest submit a short-form article on a topic in international affairs. Each submission will be read and graded by the Harvard International Review.
A number of contestants will be selected as finalists, who are invited to participate in a virtual HIR Defense Day. At the Defense Day, students will have to opportunity to give a 15-minute presentation and oral defense to Harvard International Review judges. Students will also be able to attend other special events related to international affairs.
All submissions must adhere to the following requirements, as outlined in the Submission Guide below.
For the upcoming Spring 2024 contest, participants will have a choice of two different themes. Please note which prompt you have chosen at the top of your submission.
Theme A: Inequalities in a VUCA World
Our current world is shaped by an acronym called “VUCA”—Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity—these broader themes exacerbate, contextualize, and underpin a broad array of inequalities. Globally, gross inequalities shape the distribution of resources, including military might, education, wealth, capital, and natural resources. These inequalities persist on different political strata, dividing regions of the world (Global North vs. Global South), countries, or different cities/towns in a particular country. They may also divide people based on personal demographics: gender, race, ethnicity, religion, socioeconomic class, caste, sexual orientation, etc.
Theme B: Global Challenges and Collective Actions
News cycles are dominated by military conflicts, such as those in Ukraine and Israel/Palestine. However, “global challenges” expands far beyond war to include other, more humanitarian crises: discrimination, famine, natural disasters, disease, climate-related displacement, etc. Examples of collective actions to address this broad array of issues include not only multi-state coalitions (such as UNICEF), but also grassroots activism and national social movements.
Content: Articles should address a topic related to international affairs today. 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
Length: Articles should be at least 800 words but not exceed 1,200 words (not counting diagrams, tables of data, or authorship declaration).
Writing Style: Submissions should present analytically backed perspective on an under-appreciated global topic.
AI Policy: The usage of ChatGPT is prohibited. Graders will be running all articles through multiple AI checkers, and articles that receive high AI generation scores across multiple checkers will be disqualified.
Excellent contest submissions will aim to present a topic holistically from a balanced perspective. Evidence and nuance are critical. Submissions should be well-researched, well-informed, and formal in style and prose.
The HIR does not accept op-eds, otherwise known as editorials or opinion pieces for its competition. Articles are expected to have a thesis but should not have agenda. Submissions should also not be merely a collection of facts.
As a journalist organization, we ask that submissions follow AP Style's newest edition. We also ask that submissions are culturally sensitive, fact-checked, and respectful.
Examples of pieces that would be considered excellent submissions are below.
Citation 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. Citations should be made via hyperlinks. Non-digital sources are welcome but must be cited properly as per AP Style. See the examples above for examples of using hyperlinks for citations.
There are three distinct submission cycles for the 2024 Contest.
Please note that contestants are requested to register and pay before becoming eligible to submit their articles prior to the submission deadline.
Admissions are done on a rolling basis! Capacity is limited.
Submission Deadline: May 31, 2024
HIR Defense Day: June 29, 2024
Submission Deadline: TBD
HIR Defense Day: TBD
Fall 2024 / Winter 2024/2025
Submission Deadline: TBD
HIR Defense Day: TBD
All submissions will receive a letter grade from the Harvard International Review. Contestants that 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 in the HIR Defense Day.
Commendation: HIR Certificate
Bronze Medal: HIR Certificate and name listed on 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
All grading and prize decisions are final. The contest will not be able to provide additional detail beyond the grades provided by Harvard graders.
Students are eligible if they 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.
Students in countries outside of the United States are also welcome to submit. Submissions are expected to be written in English and with traditional American spelling. For more information on submissions in your country, please contact email@example.com