2023 Student Foreign Policy Essay Contest

The John Quincy Adams Society is asking college students to weigh in on pressing questions in U.S. strategy. JQAS is partnering with The National Interestone of Washington’s most important foreign-policy magazines – to sponsor an essay contest. We are looking for professional, well-written, and insightful analysis. TNI will showcase the winners, where the essays can influence policymakers, scholars, and staffers helping to shape American policy. The winner will also be given a cash prize and have a spot in the 2023 John Quincy Adams Society Summer Leadership Conference in Washington D.C.

This is the seventh contest the Society and the National Interest have conducted. You can read about the winners of previous contests here: 202220212020201920182017.

This contest is an excellent opportunity to showcase your talents before a national readership and build your resume as a foreign-policy thinker. Past winners have gone on to the executive branch, congressional staff, journalism, top graduate programs, think tanks, well-known companies, and more.

Prompt: Choose a country you know well. Assess its approach to national defense. How well does this country’s approach align with U.S. interests as you define them? Are current U.S. policies the best way to increase that alignment?


Undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students who will be attending institutions in the United States in 2023 are welcome to participate. (This includes both college students who will graduate in 2023 and high school seniors or others who currently plan to attend a U.S. college at any point in 2023.)

The winning essay will run on TNI’s website and be promoted on social media by both TNI and JQAS.

Prizes are as follows:

– First prize (one): $2000, essay featured on TNI, spot at the Society’s annual leadership conference in Washington, D.C.

– Runner up (up to two): $500, essay featured on TNI

– Honorable mention (up to four): essay featured on Realist Review

Submissions shall respond to one of the prompts and shall be no more than 1100 words, and are due by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on Sunday, March 12, 2023. Sources should be hyperlinked, rather than footnoted, when possible. Complete rules are at the bottom of the page. Strong essays will advance a clear perspective on the issue, supported by strong argumentation, knowledge of the subject matter, good writing (including structure and style), and originality.

You can submit your essay using the form below, which is also available here.

Student Foreign Policy Essay CONTEST RULES

1. SPONSOR: The sponsor of the Student Foreign Policy Essay Contest is the John Quincy Adams Society.

2. ELIGIBILITY: Contest entrants must be legal residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia aged eighteen years or older, except where prohibited. Employees, officers, and directors of the sponsor, and its subsidiaries, affiliates, and divisions (“Related Entities”) and their immediate families (parents, children, siblings and their spouses) and household members (whether or not related) of each are not eligible to enter. Anyone serving as a contest judge is ineligible for the contest. The contest is void outside the fifty United States, the District of Columbia and where prohibited and restricted by any federal, state, or local law, rule, or regulation (“Law”). The contest is subject to all Law.

3. HOW TO ENTER: The contest begins on January 4, 2023 at 12 p.m. PT and ends at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time, Sunday, March 12, 2023. This time frame is known as the “contest period.” To be eligible for the contest, you must:

– Before the end of the contest period, go to the contest entry page and submit an essay no more than 1100 words in length on one of the three questions above.

To be eligible to submit a contest entry, you must be enrolled at any point in 2023 in an accredited postsecondary institution or program listed in the U.S. Department of Education’s most recent database (http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/GetDownLoadFile.aspx). No person may submit more than one contest entry. Attempting to submit multiple contest entries will result in your disqualification from the contest. Your participation in the contest is optional and at your sole and absolute discretion.

4. PROHIBITED CONTENT: By entering the contest you agree not to create or submit a contest entry that:

– Infringes on any patent, trademark, trade secret, copyright, or other proprietary or property rights of any party;

– May be deemed, within the meaning of Law, to be electioneering communications, intervention in a political or electoral campaign, or lobbying;

– Is unlawful, threatening, harassing, abusive, obscene, vulgar, harmful, tortious, defamatory, libelous, false, invasive of another’s privacy, hateful racially, ethnically, or otherwise, or in any other way objectionable;

– You do not have the legal or contractual right to make available pursuant to any Law, or under any contractual or fiduciary relationship (such as inside information, proprietary information, and confidential information, learned or disclosed as part of employment relationships or under nondisclosure agreements);

– Harms minors in any way; or

– Violates any Law, intentionally or unintentionally.

The sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any and all contest entries that violate the above conditions, or for any other reason at any time without prior notice.

5. JUDGING AND SELECTION OF PRIZE WINNERS: All contest entries will be judged based on the following criteria:

– Clearly articulates an opinion

– Demonstrates knowledge of the subject matter

– Offers compelling arguments supporting the opinion

– Uses elegant, well-structured writing that is generally free of spelling and grammar mistakes

– Demonstrates creativity and originality

6. PRIZES: On or about March 23, 2023, three prize winners will be announced (the “Prize Winners”). The Prize Winners shall receive the following (the “Prize(s)”):

– First prize (one): $2000, essay featured on TNI, two year subscription to TNI, spot at the Society’s annual leadership conference in Washington, D.C.

– Runner up (two): $500, essay featured on TNI, one year subscription to TNI

– Honorable Mention (four): essay featured on Realist Review.

All Prizes will be paid in United States Dollars. The approximate retail value of the Prizes are as follows: First Prize—$2700; Runner Up—$500, Honorable Mention—$0.

7. PRIZE RESTRICTIONS: The specifics of all elements of the Prizes stated in these contest rules shall be determined by sponsor in its sole and absolute discretion. If an alternate prize is substituted and awarded: any portion of the alternate prize not used by any Prize Winner is forfeited and no substitute will be offered or permitted; all elements of the Prize being offered are: (a) provided “as is” with no warranty or guarantee either express or implied by sponsor; (b) without warranty other than that offered by servicers or as required by Law; (c) provided without making the sponsor responsible or liable for any warranty, representation, or guarantee, express or implied, in fact or in law, relative to the Prize, including but not limited to their quality or fitness for a particular purpose; and (d) if applicable, not transferable or redeemable for cash and may not be extended, transferred or substituted, except that the sponsor may substitute a prize of equal or greater value when necessary (not to exceed $2700.00 for the First Prize or $500 for the Runner Up), as determined in its sole and absolute discretion (any such changes will be announced at the sole and absolute discretion of the sponsor). Each Prize Winner assumes sole responsibility for all costs associated with any elements of the Prize not explicitly included as part of the Prize, including without limitation, all federal, state and local taxes (if any), fees, surcharges, or other expenses. Other restrictions may apply. In compliance with United States Internal Revenue Service regulations, the sponsor will send a Form 1099-MISC to any Prize Winner, which requires disclosure to the sponsor of the Prize Winner’s Social Security number. Prize Winners remain solely responsible for paying all federal and other taxes in accordance with Laws that apply in the Prize Winner’s state of residence.

8. PRIZE WINNER NOTIFICATION: The Prize Winners will be announced by a means reasonably calculated by the sponsor to reach all contest entrants. Following the announcement of the Prize Winners, the individuals selected as the Prize Winners will be notified via email or telephone within three days from the date of selection by the sponsor based on the information provided by that person on his or her entry form. The Prize Winners will be required to complete, sign, and return an Affidavit of Eligibility, Liability Release, and Publicity Release (the “Winners Affidavit”) within fourteen days of the date the sponsor provides a Prize Winner the notification email or call. If a Prize Winner fails to satisfy any eligibility requirements, declines to accept the Prize, or is ineligible for any other reason, the Prize Winner may be disqualified and an alternate winner may be selected at the sole and absolute discretion of the sponsor. Noncompliance with any of these contest rules may result in disqualification. The sponsor is not responsible for fraudulent communications made by third parties to contest entrants or the Prize Winners. A Prize Winner is not an official winner until the Prize Winner returns the Winner’s Affidavit and eligibility has otherwise been formally verified by the sponsor.

9. OWNERSHIP OF YOUR CONTEST ENTRY: By submitting your contest entry you hereby relinquish, grant, transfer, assign, and deliver to the sponsor all right, title, and interest of every kind and nature whatsoever that you have in the essay you write as part of your contest entry, including the copyright and all other intellectual property rights thereto. As a condition of receiving your prize, you may be required to execute additional documentation such as copyright assignments to sponsor of your contest essay. In addition, you hereby irrevocably assign to the sponsor all causes of action, including accrued, existing, and future causes of action, arising out of or related to the rights, including copyrights, in and to the essay you write as part of your contest entry.

10. DISPUTES: By participating, entrants release sponsor and its parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, and their members, directors, officers, employees, and agents from any and all liability with respect to all aspects of the contest including all losses, damage or bodily injury resulting from participation in this contest, and the possession, acceptance, or misuse of prizes. By entering the contest, you agree that (a) any and all disputes, claims, and causes of action arising out of or connected to the contest or the prize, shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action; (b) any and all claims, judgments and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with entering the contest but in no event attorneys’ fees; and (c) under no circumstances will any entrant be permitted to obtain any award for, and you hereby waive all rights to, any claim; punitive, incidental, or consequential damages; and any and all rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased and any other damages, other than for actual out-of-pocket expenses. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation, and enforceability of these contest rules, or the rights and obligations of the entrants and sponsor in connection with the contest, shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of Virginia without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law rules or provisions that would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than the Commonwealth of Virginia. Any legal proceedings arising out of this contest or relating to these contest rules shall be instituted only in the federal courts located in the Eastern District of Virginia, and the parties consent to jurisdiction therein with respect to any legal proceedings or disputes of whatever nature arising under or relating to these contest rules. The invalidity or unenforceability of any provision of these contest rules shall not affect the validity or enforceability of any other provision. In the event that any provision is determined to be invalid or otherwise unenforceable or illegal, these contest rules shall otherwise remain in effect and be construed in accordance with their terms as if the invalid or illegal provision were not contained in these contest rules.

11. INTERNET: If for any reason this contest is not capable of running as planned due to an infection by a computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes beyond the control of the sponsor that corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of this contest, the sponsor reserves the right at its sole and absolute discretion to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the contest. The sponsor assumes no responsibility for any error, omission, interruption, deletion, defect, delay in operation or transmission, communications line failure, or theft, destruction, or unauthorized access to or alteration of entries. The sponsor is not responsible for any problems or technical malfunctions of any telephone network or telephone lines, computer online systems, servers, or providers, computer equipment, software, failure of any email or entry to be received by the sponsor due to technical problems, human error or traffic congestion on the internet or at any website, or any combination thereof, including any injury or damage to your or any other person’s computer relating to or resulting from participating in this contest or downloading any materials in this contest. CAUTION: ANY ATTEMPT TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE ANY WEBSITE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THE CONTEST MAY BE A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, THE SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES OR OTHER REMEDIES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON(S) RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ATTEMPT TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. Uses of automated devices are not valid for entry.

12. USE OF INFORMATION: The information that you provide in connection with the contest may be used by the sponsor to inform you about related opportunities and developments involving charitable or educational topics that the sponsor thinks may be of interest to you. The sponsor may also share the information you provide in connection with the contest with its subsidiaries, affiliates, divisions, and third parties in order to advance charitable or educational goals, and as otherwise stated in the sponsor’s terms of use and privacy statement.

13.GENERAL: By entering this contest or accepting the Prize, you (a) agree to be bound by the sponsor’s policies, these contest rules, and the decisions of sponsor which are final and binding in all respects; and (b) consent to the use of your name, voice, picture, and likeness for charitable, educational, advertising, and promotional purposes related to the Sponsor or its contests in any medium throughout the world in perpetuity without additional compensation unless prohibited by law. The sponsor reserves the right to correct typographical, clerical, or printing errors in any contest materials. The sponsor reserves the right to prohibit any person from participating in the contest if, at its sole and absolute discretion, the sponsor finds such person to be tampering with the entry process or the operation of the contest, or if such participant repeatedly shows a disregard for or attempts to circumvent these contest rules, or acts: (x) in a manner the sponsor determines to be not fair or equitable; (y) with an intent to annoy, threaten, or harass any other entrant, the sponsor, or related entities; or (z) in any other disruptive manner. The sponsor reserves the right to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the contest at its sole and absolute discretion.

14. WINNERS’ LIST/CONTEST RULES: To request an official prize winners list or a copy of these contest rules, both available through September 1, 2023, send an email to info@jqas.org.