AFSA National High School Essay Contest

posted Oct 26, 2018, 10:16 AM by Keri Miles

Winner - Receives $2,500, a trip to Washington, D.C. to meet a member of teh State Department's leadership, and a full scholarship for a Semester at Sea educational voyage.

Runner Up - Receives $1,250 and a full scholarship to attend the International Diplomacy Program of the National Student Leadership Conference.

The United States has many tools to advance and defend its foreign policy and national security interests around the world—from diplomatic approaches pursued by members of the Foreign Service, to the range of options available to the U.S. military. In countries affected by or vulnerable to violent conflict, peacebuilding tools are important additions to the national security toolkit.

In such complex environments, cooperation across agencies and approaches is challenging, but it can also blend knowledge and skills in ways that strengthen the overall effort to establish a lasting peace. On the other hand, lack of coordination can lead to duplication of effort, inefficient use of limited resources and unintended consequences.

In a 1,000-1,250-word essay, identify two cases—one you deem successful and one you deem unsuccessful—where the U.S. pursued an integrated approach to build peace in a conflict-affected country. Analyze and compare these two cases, addressing the following questions:

  • What relative strengths did members of the Foreign Service and military actors bring to the table? What peacebuilding tools were employed? Ultimately, what worked or did not work in each case?
  • How was each situation relevant to U.S. national security interests?
  • What lessons may be drawn from these experiences for the pursuit of U.S. foreign policy more broadly?
To review additional information, and to enter the contest, go to http://www.afsa.org/essay-contest.  Entries are due by 11:59 p.m. on March 15, 2019. 
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