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 NSD-S Hub Student Essay Competition 2024

Student Essay Competition 2024

 For: Middle Eastern and African students and researchers

 Deadline: 15 July 2024

The NATO Strategic Direction – South Hub (NSD-S Hub), with the support of the Mediterranean Universities Union (UNIMED), is proud to launch a research essay competition for Middle Eastern and African students and researchers. With the independent Group of Experts presenting their final report on NATO’s approach to its southern neighbourhood to Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in March 2024, this competition is designed to stimulate discussions and critical thinking among young students and researchers from the Middle East and Africa.

Therefore, if you would like to participate in this competition and have a chance to attend a study day workshop at the NSD-S Hub in the Joint Force Command Naples (JFCNP), we would love to hear from you!

Eligibility: The competition is open to nationals of countries across the Middle East and Africa, currently enrolled in university and studying for their Master’s degree or PhD. (Students enrolled in academic institutions in the Middle East and Africa are highly encouraged to participate. Nonetheless, submissions will be accepted from students enrolled in universities around the world).

What: To enter, participants must submit a research essay of up to 3,000 words (excluding references) in English addressing one of the following topics:

  • Food security
  • Human security (This includes topics related to women, peace and security; children in armed conflict; protection of civilians; and preventing and responding to conflict-related sexual violence).
  • AI and emerging technologies
  • Climate change
  • Energy transitions
  • Transnational terrorism
The essay should be guided by the following question: What role can NATO have in addressing this shared challenge in the Middle East and Africa? The essays should aim to provide concrete proposals for solving an existing issue or prevent the emergence of a new security challenge.

Submissions deadline: Essays must be submitted by 15 July 2024, 23:59 LT Rome. Essays received after this deadline will not be considered. 

How to apply: To take part in the competition, please fill out the application form below. Only candidates that meet all eligibility requirements will receive a registration confirmation email. After filling out the application form, you will receive an email with instructions on how to submit your essay, including style/formatting considerations. You must also submit a one-page CV.

Application Form


Note: Please be aware that the three prospective winners will be asked to provide proof of identity/nationality and ongoing studies/university enrolment to verify their eligibility.

Award: The three prospective winners will be invited to participate in a study day workshop at the NSD-S Hub in the Joint Force Command Naples (JFCNP) in mid-October 2024 to present and discuss their essays, as well as having an opportunity to meet with NATO researchers and staff. The NSD-S Hub/JFCNP will cover reasonable travel, accommodation and subsistence costs. The workshop will also include a ceremony where the NSD-S Hub Director, Brigadier General Aydin Kılıç and the NSD-S Hub Deputy Director, Navy Captain Giovanni Iodice, as well as the UNIMED Director, Mr. Marcello Scalisi, will award each of the participants a Certificate of Recognition. Moreover, the winners will have the opportunity to have their essays published on the NSD-S Hub website and social media channels.

Selection procedure:

  1. NSD-S Hub experts will review and select the three best research essays based on the criteria of novelty, coherence, relevance and impact. 
  2. Scores will be allocated based on each of these criteria and the winners will be those with the highest combined scores. 
  3. The prospective winners will be contacted directly via email no later than 30 September 2024. Please note that the prospective winners will be asked to provide proof of identity/nationality and ongoing studies/university enrolment to verify their eligibility.
  4. If, for any reason, in person attendance at the workshop in mid-October 2024 is not possible, please inform us as soon as possible. The NSD-S Hub reserves the right to select another candidate in the event that a prospective winner cannot attend the workshop or does not meet the eligibility criteria. 
  5. The selection process by the NSD-S Hub shall be final. 

Any enquires can be directed to


Rights Granted:

You understand and agree that by entering this competition:

  1. You agree to participate in photo/video opportunities to publicise winners and the competition, and that your image and likeness may be published on NATO websites and social media. 
  2. You understand and agree that, once provided to the NSD-S Hub, your essay will belong to NATO, which is therefore authorized to use it for its own research purposes. 
  3. You understand that we may publish your essays on internal and public facing NATO websites and social media but have no obligation to do so. 
  4. You agree that if we consider editorial action is needed on your essay prior to publication on any NATO website or portal, we are permitted to make such edits subject to your final editorial approval. We reserve the right not to publish any or all of the essays.
  5. You agree that no alternative prize shall be offered if winners are not able to attend the study day workshop.
  6. Finally, you understand that no monetary prizes will be paid, nor other prizes, other than those described above.


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