Announcing The iPlatform for Global Change First Annual Prize Competition for Innovative Legal Policy Work Theme for 2013-2014 – What is an Effective Regional Approach to the Sociopolitical Problems of the Middle East and North Africa?

The rapid spread of the 2011 popular uprisings dubbed "the Arab spring" across the Middle East and North Africa suggests that common regional identity and issues remain important. At the same time, the particular momentum and dynamics of each country since 2011 have underscored difference, and led to a renewed sense of despair regarding the region's future prospects. The frustrations of many Arab individual citizens, and formidable economic challenges in most countries, continue to cast doubt on prosperity and political accountability, despite the great wealth and capacity of several of the countries.

Can the regional dimension of identity and diversity linking the Middle East and North Africa offer prospects for a more just and sustainable future? The iPlatform welcomes proposals from advanced law, policy and social science students that address Middle Eastern and North African problems through an explicitly regional lens, while taking account of current social, political and global challenges.

One clear example of such a proposal, which has indeed been suggested by some scholars and officials, is a regional economic recovery and reconstruction plan similar in scope, and hopefully in impact, to the Marshall Plan that helped much of Europe following World War II. Concretizing a regional economic reconstruction plan is certainly one possible approach to this competition, although many others are possible. The proposal should outline in detail an approach that would be appropriate for both follow-up research and presentation to relevant policy actors.

A group of distinguished policy and academic specialists from the iPlatform will select one outstanding proposal and two runner-ups to receive a cash prize, recognition at a special high profile iPlatform event, and, for the winning proposal, the opportunity to collaborate with the iPlatform stakeholders to develop the proposal into a detailed research and policy plan. The explicit aim of the competition is to identify outstanding new solutions to important governance challenges by the rising generation of global policy scholars and specialists, and to help find ways of realizing these new solutions through fluid partnerships with more senior scholars and specialists. We anticipate a diverse array of proposals showcasing economic, legal, political and other approaches and policy technologies towards the aim of improving the lives of Middle Easterners and the region as a whole.

All entries to the competition should conform to the following rules:

  1. Each proposal may have one, two or three authors. All authors must be no older the 35 years of age as of December 31, 2013.
  2. Proposals shall be no longer than ten double-spaced pages and 2700 words, excluding bibliography. Proposals should be in English in 12-point font in either Microsoft Word or PDF format.
  3. Appendices or other additional material, other than a bibliography, should be kept to a minimum and include only information that is truly necessary. Similarly, references should be kept relatively short and sparse, as is consistent with a policy brief, rather than an academic article. References should appear as footnotes, and will be included towards the page and word limits.
  4. Proposals should include a cover page, not counted towards the page or word total, that lists the full name(s) of the author(s) and their institutional affiliations, if relevant.
  5. Authors who have completed their terminal post-graduate degrees and hold full-time employment at an academic, government, think tank or other policy institution, are ineligible to enter the competition, as is anyone with an existing iPlatform affiliation.
  6. Although it is presumed that authors will be post-graduate students, others are eligible to enter the competition, as long as they meet the conditions above and hold a first university degree.
  7. Submitted proposals should not be published in print or electronically, or submitted to another policy organization, prior to the date on which awards will be announced, which is expected to be towards autumn 2014. Once submitted, proposals become the property of the iPlatform. Prize-winning proposals will be published, or otherwise disseminated, through the iPlatform, in collaboration with the successful author(s).
  8. The deadline for submission of proposals is 30 April 2014.
  9. Proposals should be addressed to the Director and Senior Academic Fellow and submitted by email to info@Innovation-Platform.org.

Any specific questions should be directed to the Director of Development at info@Innovation-Platform.org.