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University of Iowa News Release


Dec. 13, 2006

UI Human Rights Center Seeks Submissions For Weston Essay Competition

The University of Iowa Center for Human Rights (UICHR) is accepting submissions for the third annual Burns H. Weston International Human Rights Essay Prize Competition. The competition is open to all registered students of the UI, Iowa State University and the University of Northern Iowa.

The competition is intended to promote and recognize student scholarship on human rights issues and ideas and to encourage continuing advancement of the field of human rights. The competition is named in honor of the lifetime work of Weston, professor emeritus of the UI College of Law and UICHR senior scholar.

Two prizes will be awarded: $750 to an undergraduate and $1,000 to a graduate or professional student. Undergraduate essays should be a minimum of 12 pages in length, and graduate or professional student essays should be a minimum of 25 pages. The deadline for 2007 submissions is Feb. 1, 2007.

Eligible essays can discuss current events or history. They may explore public policy, the arts and humanities (including law), or any other subject area. Submissions may also be papers previously produced for a class assignment. The only requirement is that the essay address international human rights.

Past winners of the 2006 Weston Prize include the following:

Kevin Kenjar, a UI alumnus who graduated in May 2006, double-majored in religious studies and international studies, won the undergraduate award last spring for his essay "The Rise of Orthodoxy and Heresy in Pakistan: The Institutionalized Persecution of the Ahmadiya Religious Minority," examining the issue in light of Antonio Gramsci's theories of hegemony.

Matthew Stromquist, a third-year student in the UI College of Law, won the graduate and professional school award for his essay "Towards an Optional Protocol to the ICESCR: Local Contexts, Global Norms, and a Trickle-Up Theory of Justiciability." This essay explored the possibilities of applying elements of the unique and transformative constitutional system in South Africa in the international context of enforcing violations of economic, social and cultural rights.

Applications are available for download at For more information, contact the UICHR at 319-335-3900.

Founded in 1999, the UICHR is a direct outgrowth of Global Focus: Human Rights '98, the yearlong UI commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of Dec. 10, 1948. Initiated by a multidisciplinary group of faculty, the center's mission is to support the promotion and protection of human rights at home and abroad by providing leadership in human rights research, education, and public service to the UI, its surrounding community, the state of Iowa, and beyond.

The UICHR is a part of International Programs, which enables University of Iowa students, faculty, staff and the public to learn from and about the world. Its offices, degree programs and events provide life-changing opportunities on campus and abroad, heighten intellectual and cultural diversity, and give all University constituents access to vital international knowledge. For more information, visit or call 319-353-2700. International Programs is part of the Office of the Provost.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Lois Gray, 319-335-2026,; Program: Amy Weismann or Liz Crooks, 319-335-3900; Writer: Aaron Myers