Conflict Resolution|Teaching|United States

Invitation for Students to Examine Civil Conflict

Professor Stacie Strong of the University of Missouri has announced a student writing competition to prompt critical thinking on the dispute resolution ramifications of the events surrounding the killing in Ferguson, Missouri and elsewhere.  The details of the competition are below.  It will be interesting to see what examples of rigorous critical thinking this initiative prompts.

Please consider forwarding this information to students and law schools with which you may be connected.  The window is brief — submissions must be received by February 13, 2015.

The University of Missouri Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution is pleased to announce a student writing competition that is being organized in conjunction with the Missouri Law Review annual symposium, entitled “Policing, Protesting, and Perceptions: A Critical Examination of the Events in Ferguson.”  The symposium, which will feature speakers and works-in-progress participants from around the country, addresses recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, as well as similar developments from around the nation. 
The writing competition features a $700 prize for the competition winner, a $100 prize for the second place winner and an honorable mention for the third place winner.  Prizes are sponsored by the University of Missouri Chancellor’s Diversity Initiative and private funding through the Missouri Law Foundation.
Submissions must bear some relationship to the upcoming Missouri Law School symposium entitled “Policing, Protesting, and Perceptions: A Critical Examination of the Events in Ferguson.”  Papers can consider the events in Ferguson and elsewhere in the nation from the perspective of civil rights, police-community relationships, police perceptions of individuals, protests and/or civil disobedience. Essays can be historical (for example, submissions could consider the history of the legal response to social unrest in this country, dating back to the 1968 Kerner Commission report to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in the wake of the Watts Riots), process-oriented (for example, authors could analyze the evolution and legitimacy of hearings in front of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights) or psycho-social in nature (for example, papers could discuss the value of having a forum in which to speak and be heard).
All submissions must incorporate either a conflict resolution (sometimes called “peace studies”) or dispute resolution perspective so as to provide some guidance on how to address the outstanding problems and tensions in a useful manner. For example, authors might consider whether and to what extent communities might wish to adopt certain procedures that are often seen in dispute resolution (such as mediation or conciliation) in order to facilitate discussions with local police forces. Alternatively, authors can take look at the genesis of the problem using a conflict studies/peace studies approach.
The writing competition is open to all persons enrolled on February 1, 2015, in an ABA-accredited law school to pursue a degree in law (including the J.D., LL.B., LL.M. or S.J.D.).  Applicants may be of any nationality.  Papers that have been accepted for publication elsewhere are not eligible for the writing competition.
Submission Requirements
Submissions must be in English and should be between 2,500 and 3,500 words in length.  The style of the paper will be that of a long “op-ed” (opinion editorial) piece. However, the strongest submissions will include references to legal authorities as necessary. Any citations should appear in the body of the submission and will be included in the total word count.
The text of the paper must be typed with double spaced pages in 12 point Times New Roman font (or similarly legible typeface) and 1-inch margins.  The title of the paper must appear on every page of the submission.  The author’s name must not appear anywhere on the submission itself.
A separate document should be provided including (1) the author’s full name, address, telephone number and email address; (2) the degree-granting institution where the author is enrolled, as well as the degree sought and the anticipated year of graduation; (3) the title of the submission; and (4) the date of the submission.
Papers must be electronically submitted to:
Laura Coleman
Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution
University of Missouri School of Law 
Papers must be received no later than 11:59 p.m., Central time, on February 13, 2015.
Late papers and papers that do not comply with the submission requirements will not be considered by the selection committee.
Submissions will be judged anonymously by the selection committee.  The following factors will be considered:
Legal analysis
  • Thoroughness and depth in addressing the topic, particularly with respect to dispute resolution and/or conflict resolution issues
  • Awareness of significant literature and authorities in this field
  • Contribution to the current debate on this topic
 More information can be found on the competition website:
 Questions should be directed to:
Professor S.I. Strong
University of Missouri School of Law


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