CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS – MECACS Student Essay Competition 2024

Saturday 27 April 2024

The Institute for Middle East, Central Asia, and Caucasus studies is excited to announce that we are now accepting submissions for this year’s Student Essay Competition! This is the third year we are running this initiative, and for this year’s theme, we are asking students to submit essays on the topic ‘Morality Throughout History in the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Caucasus.’

For more details, please check out the poster and information below!


For this competition, we ask you to engage with the theme: ‘Morality Throughout History in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucasus’. How you wish to interpret the prompt is your decision, and there are many ways of understanding morality. For example, morality could be understood as a particular code of conduct and set of ethical principles, or something grounded in more practical concepts (such as international law and regulations). The varying ways in which morality is understood across the Middle East, Caucasus, and Central Asia depend highly upon these regions’ historical, political, and cultural backgrounds, and affects everything from their political systems, government and international relations to religion, diplomacy, and rules of engagement.

We will accept papers on any historical time period up to and including the present day.

  • The essay must not be longer than 2,500 words including references/footnotes, exclusive of the bibliography and title page.

Essays welcomed on the following themes:

  • Borders, boundaries and frontiers
  • Conflict and migration
  • Evolution of moral codes and conduct
  • Invasion and conquest
  • Comparative approaches
  • Western and non-western understandings of morality
  • Identity, culture, race and perspectives on morality

Some questions to think about:

  • How do you understand morality and its impact upon one or a combination of the MECAC regions?
  • Does your field of study actively contribute to or try to understand the role of morality?
  • Are you from one of the regions and would like to contribute your experience?
  • Can you offer a diverse insight from a different perspective?

The Prizes

There are three levels in the competition:

  • Sub-Honours,
  • Honours,
  • Postgraduate.

At each level, there will be a best essay prize and an Honourable Mention.

The winners of the best essay prize in each level will be awarded a £20 Toppings & Co voucher. Honourable Mentions will receive a £10 voucher from a local St Andrews eatery.

All winning and Honourable Mention essays will be published on the MECACS webpage and shared on our social media pages.

Winning essays will be announced in early August with prizes being awarded thereafter. The winning essays will be publicised on our social media channels by the start of the next academic year (2024/2025).

The Submission Process

  • Submissions welcome from any current University of St Andrews student across arts, humanities, social and natural sciences.
  • Students graduating in June 2024 are eligible to apply.
  • The competition deadline is 17.00 on Monday the 1st of July 2024.
  • The panel consists of MECACS staff and interns.
  • The essay must not be longer than 2,500 words including references/footnotes, exclusive of the bibliography and title page.
  • The title page should include essay title, name, School, year of study and wordcount.
  • Applicants can submit revised versions of essays from previous modules to fit the theme of the competition so long as the previous work was yours alone.
  • Submissions should be emailed to [email protected]

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