Ignacio Martín-Baró Human Rights Essay Competition

Competition History

The Pozen Family Center for Human Rights sponsors the annual Ignacio Martín-Baró Human Rights Essay Competition, which honors the memory of Ignacio Martín-Baró, a Jesuit priest from El Salvador who earned a Ph.D. in Social Psychology at the University of Chicago. Martín-Baró taught at the Universidad de Centro America in El Salvador and was a leading scholar on social justice and human rights. In 1989, Martín-Baró and seven others were assassinated by the Salvadoran army for their commitment to El Salvador’s dispossessed.

Read award winning essays from previous years.


The PFCHR will award three prizes to UChicago students in the amount of $500 (five hundred dollars) each for the best essays in the field of human rights. They may take the form of analytic or critical essays, empirical research papers, term papers or personal essays on any human rights issue. Essay topics are not restricted to the field of Latin American studies. Submissions will be judged by category, with one prize awarded in each.

Essay length should be limited to:
- College students: 6,250 words or less (i.e. 25 double-spaced pages)
- Graduate students: 10,000 words or less (i.e. 40 double-spaced pages)


Essays may be submitted by students in any division or department at the University of Chicago. Competition is restricted to enrolled students. The award categories are:

  1. Undergraduate students
  2. Masters and Professional students (MA, MPP, JD, MD)
  3. Doctoral students

2015 Application Process

The 2015 Application process is now closed. The winners of the Ignacio Martín-Baró Human Rights Essay Competition have been named. Read the award-winning essays from 2015 and previous years here

2016 Application Process

The application will be open in Spring of 2016. 

The Ignacio Martín-Baró Human Rights Essay Competition winners are selected by a committee of faculty and staff chosen by the PFCHR. Award announcements are generally made in mid-May.