Student Prize

Welcome to ARI's Student Prize page!

Started in 2020, the competition provides an opportunity for young, up-and-coming voices to write about a variety of topics relevant to the MENA region in line with ARI's Areas of Work.

ARI’s annual Student Prize aims to encourage university students to think critically and propose concrete policy solutions that aim to resolve the variety of challenges and opportunities facing the Arab region today.

“As ARI, we are very proud to give a space where young, up-and-coming actors and scholars in the region can propose policy solutions for and by themselves,” Berfin Necimoglu, the founder of ARI’s Student Prize.



Essays will be judged by a panel on the strength and relevance of argumentation. The winning essay will be published in English, Arabic, and French on Arab Reform Initiative’s website and will receive a prize of 500 USD.


Anyone currently enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate programme is eligible to participate. Essays can be submitted in English, Arabic, or French. Essays should be in the form of a policy-oriented op-ed (see below).

Style Guidelines

Policy-oriented op-eds aim to provide concrete steps towards dealing with a specific problem. Due to their short nature, flowery language should be avoided, and only brief context should be given for the situation.

We are looking for a policy-oriented op-ed that addresses a very specific topic or problem, mostly an established situation that can be analysed. The best essays would include a strong analysis of a case study as well as a good discussion of how different social movements can overcome social divisions when lobbying for feminist policies. Authors should use short sentences, should avoid technical or scientific language, and should focus on writing a clear and easy-to-follow argument.

The components of a policy-oriented op-ed include:

  • The lead, which outlines succinctly the problem and the conclusion or recommendations. The length of the lead should not exceed 1-2 paragraphs. An excellent lead is one which goes straight to the core of the problem and summarises your main recommendation or approach.
  • The body of the paper, which provides the proof of the author’s argument, based on evidence and on facts which are based upon research. Don’t use footnotes, favour hyperlinks. Include reference to a source in the text itself.
  • The policy recommendations, which must be precise, realistic, and actionable. Suggest ways to address the issue/problem you have identified. Try to provide examples to back them up.
  • Don’t hesitate to develop your own voice and use analogies, anecdotes, or unique examples to illustrate your points and add some colour to your piece.

Past Winners

Winner for 2023: Siba Mroueh on: “What policy reforms and/or policy alternatives should be articulated to counter the Arab region's chronic youth unemployment?

Winner for 2022: Hamza Bensouda on "Lessons from Morocco’s women’s rights movement: Overcoming divisions to push for reforms"

Winner for 2021: Rory Quick on "How can activists best advance environmental reforms in MENA?"

Winner for 2020: Amine al-Sharif on "How can diasporas support democratic transitions in the Arab world?"