The Human Rights and Social Justice Program invites submissions for the annual J. Carlisle Hanson Essay Contest.

About the Award
The J. Carlisle Hanson Award in Human Rights is awarded annually on the recommendation of the Director of the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies to a student enrolled in the human rights program who submits the best essay addressing the topic of human rights and democracy. Essays are also invited to examine the topics from a Canadian Perspective. Endowed in 2007 by J. Carlisle Hanson, Q.C.

There will be two prizes of $1,000.


  • The contest is open to students who are majoring in Human Rights and Social Justice in a B.A. General, a B.A. Honours, or a B.A. Combined Honours program.
  • The essays under consideration should have been written for one of your courses during the 2023-24 academic years (Spring/Summer 2023, Fall 2023, Winter 2024).  You are welcome to revise these essays and incorporate instructors’ feedback to prepare your essay for submission.
  • Your chosen essay should have been awarded a grade in the A range.
  • You are eligible to submit only one essay per academic year.

Submission Guidelines

Essay length: 8-20 pages

Format: Typed, double-spaced, with one-inch margins. Number your pages.

Citation Style:  MLA, APA, Chicago, or McGill styles are all acceptable. Only entries that are fully and properly documented will be considered.

The following information must be included on a title page:

  1. Name and student number
  2. Course code and professor’s name for the course in which the paper was written
  3. Date the paper was submitted

NB: Your essay will be reviewed anonymously: please make sure that your name does not appear on any pages after the title page.

Essays shall be submitted electronically in pdf/word format to the Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies –

Please write “J. Carlisle Hanson Essay Contest Submission” in the subject line.

Application Deadline: Friday, May 10th, 2024

Late submissions will not be considered.