Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, opening just as this essay contest was closing, has dramatically altered the geopolitical landscape, prompting us to reopen the window for submissions with an extended deadline.


Over the past few years, journalists have bravely reported on the mistreatment of Muslim ethnic Uyghurs in the northwest Chinese region of Xinjiang: on detention camps, forced labor, the systematic sterilization of women, intrusive digital surveillance, and other government-orchestrated atrocities. As the international community builds more courage to speak out and sanction Chinese officials and companies, only a few nations, including the United States, have officially declared Xinjiang a genocide. With insight into what is happening in Xinjiang growing, what can and should the United States do? 

100Reporters, whose mission is to inform the public and hold power accountable,  would like to hear how students and next-generation leaders think Americans should respond, if at all, to China’s persecution of ethnic Uyghur populations. We pose this question as a united front of world powers demonstrates the power and costs of economic and trade sanctions, and with geopolitical alliances shifting amid uncertainty and growing violence in Europe.    

We invite doctoral candidates, graduate, and undergraduate students to address the following topic in an essay, within the current context.

How should the U.S. government and/or U.S. civil society respond to the persecution and genocide of Uyghurs in China?

This contest offers students an opportunity to research and write an informed piece for a general audience about one of the most pressing world humanitarian issues, coverage of which earned the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting. Judges are looking for clarity, originality, and a well-researched normative argument. We seek to publish new voices with fresh perspectives and ideas about American diplomacy and interventionism.

Entry details:

All undergraduate and graduate students, as well as doctoral candidates, currently studying in the U.S. are eligible to submit an entry. Collaborative essays are allowed, but all contributors must be students and decide whether to submit a group essay or an individual essay. Double entries are disqualified. The top essay will be awarded $1000 and featured on the 100Reporters website as well as The Conversation, presuming it meets The Conversation‘s standards for publication. Via The Conversation, the winning essay will also be distributed on the Associated Press wire. Two honorable mentions will be featured on 100Reporters website, as well, and awarded $500 each. 

Contest rules and guidelines:

  • Style: Informed, engaging commentary or analysis, from 800 to 1,500 words
  • Format: Essays need to be submitted in PDF format
  • Language: English language entries only
  • Limit: One entry per person or group
  • Eligibility: All entrants must be a current student at a U.S. university

Each essay will be judged on argument, clarity, and originality by a panel of six judges, including:

  • Sewell Chan, editor-in-chief of the Texas Tribune, and former editorial page editor of the Los Angeles Times
  • Beth Daley, executive editor and general manager of The Conversation
  • Mei Fong, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and chief communications officer at Human Rights Watch
  • Jane Sasseen, director of the McGraw Center for Business Journalism at the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at the City University of New York
  • Diana Jean Schemo, editor-in-chief and president of 100Reporters
  • Isaac Stone Fish, a contributing columnist at the Washington Post and at Barron’s, author of America Second 

All work must be original and previously unpublished. If you are unsure about what constitutes plagiarism, please visit or

No purchase is necessary to enter this contest.

How to enter:

Essays may be submitted here, or you may email your essay as a PDF attachment to with the subject heading: “Essay Contest-First Name Last Name.”

Please label your PDF file “FirstName_LastName.” On the first page of the essay and in the body of your email, please include your full name(s), school affiliation, and entry category (doctoral, graduate,undergraduate). 

The deadline for submissions is April 11th, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. ET.

Results will be announced in April 2022.


The essay winner will have their essay featured on 100Reporters and in The Conversation (provided the winning essay meets its standards and requirements), as well as The Associated Press, and win a cash prize of $1,000. The two honorable mentions will receive $500. 

Diana Jean Schemo

Diana Jean Schemo

Diana Jean Schemo is president and executive editor of 100Reporters, and the founder and co-director of the Double Exposure Film Festival and Symposium, the United States' only investigative film festival.