Given the sharp deterioration of US-Russia relations in the political and economic spheres, it’s time to focus on people-to-people contacts and exchange programs. With that in mind, Russia Direct is pleased to launch its third student essay competition.

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If you’re an undergraduate or graduate student anywhere in the world, we encourage you to participate in our third biannual RD Student Essay Contest “The present and future of people-to-people exchanges between Russia and the United States.”

Here's your chance to tell us about either (A) your favorite people-to-people exchange that already exists or (B) one that you would like to exist in the future. Please, be as creative as possible. You can tell us about your vision for a student or professional exchange – it could involve anything from Arctic researchers to medical doctors fighting Ebola  it's up to you.

The winner of the contest will become a guest contributor to Russia Direct for a period of three months. In addition, the essays of three finalists selected by Russia Direct’s editorial team will be published on our website. 

How to enter: In an essay of 1,000 words or less, tell us about either (A) your favorite people-to-people exchange that already exists or (B) one that you would like to exist in the future. Please, be specific and straightforward while paying attention to concrete examples.

All essays must be submitted via email by 12 midnight (EST) on November 9, 2014. Please send all responses to: editor@russia-direct.org. By November 17, the Russia Direct editorial team will select one winner and three finalists, based on originality, creativity and style. We will announce the winners in our weekly newsletter.

In order to enter, you must be an undergraduate or graduate student at a fully accredited university. However, we will also consider essay submissions from students at non-accredited educational institutions on a case-by-case basis.

The winning essay entry will be published online on November 17. Over the following days, the essays of the three finalists will appear on the website.

Starting December 1, the winner will become a guest contributor to Russia Direct for the three-month period from December 1, 2014 to March 1, 2015 with the opportunity to contribute three op-ed pieces or articles on any topic during that time period.

As a point of reference, please see the results of our first and second student essay competitions that were organized in November 2013 and June 2014.

View previously winning essays: “U.S.-Russian health diplomacy: Cure for political stalemate?” and “The global balance of power after Ukraine: The times they are a-changin’.”