Montlake Investigations Group Policy Competition

Hosted by the Onero Institute

What is this?

The Montlake Investigations Group Policy Competition is a student-organized, U.S. based, international writing and presentation contest focused on American foreign policy. In this competition, contestants will submit a short response and policy paper that addresses a selected topic related to U.S. foreign policy and international affairs.

Entrants can submit papers individually or in teams of up to 3. Finalists in this competition will also be awarded a trip to Washington, D.C. (if public health restrictions allow) to present in the Finals which will be held live with high-level judges from the field of International Affairs.

How big is the prizepool?

$6,500 supplied by our sponsor, Montlake Investigations Group. This will be the largest international affairs policy paper competition run by and for students.

  • $5000 for first place

  • $1000 for second place

  • $500 for third place

Who can enter?

Anyone who is currently enrolled as an undergraduate student and has not yet graduated. Members can be composed of students from different schools. We may make exceptions for certain other cases we deem suitable. Email us at with any questions.

What topics can we write about?

Teams will be asked to submit a response no longer than 1000 words in length to the following prompt by 11:59PM Eastern Time on Monday, November 15th:

"With regard to which issue has the United States’ foreign policy approach diverged most from its own strategic interests? To what extent could this unique policy decision have been executed differently? What do you recommend be done to address the impacts of this decision today?"

Here are some recommended topics, though you are certainly free to write about other issues:

  • Maritime Issues (China in the South China Sea)

  • Nuclear Breakout States (North Korea, Iran)

  • Defense Commitments (NATO, various bilateral and multilateral treaties)

  • Cybersecurity Strategy (Russian 2016 Election Interference)

  • Foreign Interventions (Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan, Rwanda)

  • Counterterrorism Strategy (ISIS, al-Qaeda)

  • Imminent Future (Space, Deep Sea Mining, Renewable Energy)

What schedule will the competition follow?

Here is an overview of our intended schedule:

<1000 word short response to prompt due. We encourage you to submit these as early as possible.

11:59PM Eastern on November 15th

Main paper on topic of your choice due.

11:59 PM Eastern on December 13th

Finalists selected

11:59PM Eastern on December 27th

Live final round in Washington D.C. (assuming conditions permit)

TBD on January 15th

Completed your response or paper?

Submission buttons are at the top of the page

What should I do if I have questions?

Our sponsor!
Montlake Investigations Group