Russia Direct announces a new essay contest for young experts in international affairs. This time it is all about using your creative skills to prepare a concise Russia policy brief for the White House.

What would you do as President Obama’s chief advisor? Photo: White House / Pete Souza

If you’re a student anywhere in the world, we encourage you to participate in our fourth Student Essay Competition. Pretend you are one of President Obama’s chief advisers on Russia. You have just received a phone call at 2 a.m. from the White House asking for your take on how Russia views the world. The President needs it on his desk in the morning. What would you tell him?

In 1,000 words or less, suggest what actions or steps you would recommend to put U.S.-Russia relations back on course, as well as which geopolitical hotspots should be the focus of greater U.S.-Russian cooperation. Please, be creative and straightforward while paying attention to specific examples.

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.

All essays must be submitted via email by 12 midnight (EST) on May 6, 2015. Please send all responses to: By May 18, the Russia Direct editorial team will select one winner and three finalists, based on originality, critical thinking and style. We will announce the winners in our weekly e-mail newsletter.

The winning essay entry will be published online on May 18. Over the following days, the essays of the three finalists will appear on the website.

The winner will become a guest contributor to Russia Direct for the three-month period from June 1, 2015 to September 1, 2015 with an opportunity to contribute three articles on any topic during that time period.

As a point of reference, please see previously winning essays:

The 2018 World Cup could bring Russia and the West closer together (by David Williams)

The global balance of power after Ukraine: The times they are a‐changin' (by Andreas Kindsvater) 

US-Russian health diplomacy: Cure for political stalemate? (by Graham Westbrook)