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Burns H. Weston International Human Rights Essay Prize

The UICHR sponsors the annual Burns H. Weston International Human Rights Essay Prize. Each year, two awards are available: one to an undergraduate and another to a graduate or professional school student. The prizes honor the fine work of students from across the state of Iowa and the lifetime work of Professor Burns H. Weston of the College of Law.

Awardees receive $750 (undergraduate) or $1000 (graduate or professional student). Federal financial aid regulations require that all financial aid, including awards and prizes, be included in total cost of attendance calculations. The Student Financial Aid Office will review each prize to determine if a student’s financial aid will be adjusted due to the award.

Eligibility and Requirements:

Students at all colleges and universities in the State of Iowa are eligible to apply.  

Undergraduate essays should be 10-15 pages in length; graduate essays 20-40 pages in length. Papers should be double-spaced and use a standard 12 pt. Times New Roman font. 

Essays may discuss current events, history, law, public policy, or the arts & humanities. The essay need not be produced exclusively for the competition; the essay may be a paper written for a class or conference. The only topic requirement is that the essay address a human rights issue. Faculty co-authored submissions are not eligible. 

A faculty supervisor must recommend the submission of the essay by signing the application cover sheet or by emailing by the deadline.  

The application deadline for Spring 2021 is Friday, May 14th (5:00 pm CST).  Recipients will be notified in early June.  

Students should submit the application cover page and the paper in a single document to by the deadline. In the subject line, please indicate Weston Prize: Your Last Name.  



Past Winners

2020 Alexis Winecke
Undergraduate, University of Iowa
"A Call for Human Rights in the US Prison System"

2019 Silvia Pellegrino
Undergraduate, University of Northern Iowa 

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