Ignacio Martín-Baró Human Rights Essay Competition

The Pozen Family Center for Human Rights sponsors the annual Ignacio Martín-Baró Human Rights Essay Competition to recognize excellence in writing about human rights. 

Jump to the 2020 application.

About the Essay Contest

The Pozen Center awards three cash prizes to current University of Chicago College students in the amount of $500 each for the best essays in the field of human rights. Submissions may be 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.

Essays should be limited to 6,250 words. Submissions will be judged by content and clarity of writing.

Read award-winning essays from previous years.


The Ignacio Martín-Baró Human Rights Essay Competition winners are selected by a committee of Pozen Center faculty board members. Award announcements are made by mid-May.

>>> Apply for the Ignacio Martín-Baró Human Rights Essay Competition

The NEW application deadline is Friday, April 17 at 11:59pm CST.


The Martín Baró Endowed Program was established to honor the memory of Ignacio Martín Baró, who lived a life committed to the human values of democracy, social justice, and service to the poor, silenced, and dispossessed.

Ignacio Martín Baró was an ordained Jesuit priest, born in Spain in 1942. Upon joining the Jesuit order, Martín Baró was sent to El Salvador where he studied psychology. He came to the University of Chicago in 1976 to pursue graduate studies and three years later received his doctorate in Social Psychology.

Upon returning to El Salvador, he found himself in the midst of a violent civil war, which had been ravaging the country for more than a decade. Despite many death threats and brutal acts of repression suffered by colleagues, students, and friends, Father Martín Baró continued to pursue a brilliant teaching and research career as pastor of a rural parish on the outskirts of San Salvador. 

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, he and seven others were assassinated by the Salvadoran army for their commitment to El Salvador’s dispossessed. 

Read more about the Ignacio Martín-Baró Program with the Center for Latin American Studies.