What is the Balkan Debate and Public Policy Challenge?
The Public Debate and Public Policy Challenge is a regional competition and educational initiative designed to engage undergraduates in the on-going debate on reconciliation processes and the future of the Western Balkans in the European Union. The Challenge will take place in Skopje, Pristina, and Nis, and undergraduates from Macedonia, Kosovo and Serbia may participate.
What is the theme of the Challenge?
The theme “Joint future of the Western Balkan in the European Union” examines how Kosovo, Macedonia, and Serbia, or the Western Balkan countries as a whole, can advance on reconciliation and their joint future in the EU. As such, participants will be asked to propose policy recommendations while focusing on one of the three specified topics. The topics are
- Joint Customs Balkans: Western Balkans Union
- Joint Action Plan for the implementation of regional environmental measures on
- Air Quality
- Waste Management
- Natural Resource Management
- Improving Educational Mobility in the Western Balkans
What are the deadlines of submission?
The submission deadline for is 10 May 2019, 23:59.
Besides the opportunity to have an internship at one of the NGOs and have my policy brief published, why should I enter this Challenge?
To engage in a discussion and debate on a topic of regional importance
To sharpen your advocacy skills
To learn to write effective public policy briefs and receive expert feedback
To receive training from the experienced debate and public speaking coaches
What do I need to do to join the Challenge?
Register for the Challenge
Review the theme and writing guidelines
Write your policy paper
Submit your policy paper at firstname.lastname@example.org
What are the tasks of the Challenge and how do I win?
The Challenge consists of writing a policy brief (1500 to 2000 words, excluding list of sources and citations in footnotes) in light of one of three topics. For each country, the 10 best policy briefs will be invited to local forums to present their briefs. A panel of experts will select the 3 finalists that will participate in the final forum in Skopje. These 9 finalists will all have a chance to be selected for one of the 3 internships with the Balkan Forum, the Foundation for Debate and Education IDEA Southeast Europe, and Juzne Vesti. From the 9 finalists, 3 winners will be selected at the final forum in Skopje. Their policy brief will be published on the website.
Is there a cost to participate?
No, there is no fee to participate in the Balkan Debate and Public Policy Challenge and all the participants selected to participate in the program will have food, travel and accommodation covered by the program.
Who is eligible to participate?
Any university undergraduate student currently enrolled in an accredited college or university anywhere in Kosovo, Macedonia, and Serbia, as well as recent graduates, can participate.
I am in high school. Can I participate?
This is a challenge for recent graduates. However, high school students that are highly motivated and capable to participate are welcome to submit a policy brief.
Is there an age limit to the competition?
There is no maximum age limit. However, all participants must be at least 18 years old as of 15 April 2019.
What are the rules of the Challenge?
The rules of the Challenge can be found here.
What are the prizes?
Up to three winners will have their policy briefs published on the website and receive symbolic prices such as Amazon Kindle and books. Furthermore, three of the nine finalists will be selected for an internship at the Foundation for Debate and Education IDEA Southeast Europe, the Balkan Forum, and Juzne Vesti.
How do I register for the Challenge?
WRITING YOUR POLICY PAPER
What is a policy paper?
A policy paper is a commonly used advocacy and policymaking tool. It provides policymakers with the essential information they need to address an issue of importance. It should break complex issues down into core facts, evaluate possible solutions and recommend a particular course of action.
Do I need to focus on one country, the three participating countries or the whole region?
You may choose to focus on only one, two, all three, or the whole Western Balkan region. However, if you choose to focus on only one country, Macedonia, Kosovo or Serbia, it must include how this particular country should cooperate with other Western Balkan countries in light of future accession to the EU.
Do I have to write about each topic or just one?
You must choose only one of the three topics. Please specify which topic you are responding to on the first page of your paper.
What materials are available to help me prepare my task?
We provide the latest and most relevant information on the website, which is posted on the website of the project.
What is the word limit?
The word limit is between 1500 and 2000 words, not including the list of sources consulted or bibliography.
What information should I include in my paper?
Put your Name and Surname, the topic you have chosen, date and word count on the top-left corner of your first page.
What citation format should I use?
We would advise you use the APA format for citation, however, other forms are accepted as well. The APA is a citation style where a short form of the source is given in brackets in the main text after the statement that requires a source. The long form of the source is stated in the bibliography at the end of the text. Please consult the Writing Guidelines for more information.
How do I submit my paper?
Submit your paper by sending it to email@example.com before the deadline (midnight local time). The deadline for is 10 May 2019.
What do you mean by midnight local time?
You can submit your paper up to midnight in your local time on the day of the submission deadline. This means that you can submit your paper up until 23:59 (or 11:59 PM) of 10 May 2019.
In what format should I submit my paper?
Submissions with your name on them or sent via e-mail will not be accepted. You can upload your submission as a Word document (.doc, .docx) or a PDF (.pdf) in a font not smaller than 11 point.
I have a question that is not addressed in this FAQ. Who should I contact?
If you have further questions, please email us at: For Kosovo participants: firstname.lastname@example.org ; For Macedonia: email@example.com; For Serbia: firstname.lastname@example.org
How will my submission be evaluated?
Judges will evaluate your submissions based on the qualities and structure outlined in the Writing Guidelines, so carefully following them means you increase your chance of success. Your policy papers will be graded on four criteria: analysis and argumentation, recommendation, structure, and citation.
Who will be judging my submission?
A panel of judges with public policy experience and expertise on the suggested topics will be responsible for reading and marking each paper submitted in accordance with the evaluation criteria defined for each stage.
I am not a native English speaker. Will this affect my score?
No, judges use evaluation criteria and grading rubric to assess each participant’s paper. The evaluation focuses on the participant’s ability to critically assess and develop arguments based on evidence, not language ability.
What is plagiarism?
Plagiarism is the representation of another person’s thoughts or words as though they were your own. In order to avoid plagiarism, make sure you always acknowledge (i.e. cite) the work of others in your paper. Participants will be disqualified for plagiarism.
How will you prevent cheating?
Judges will check that all submissions comply with the guidelines on citation and plagiarism that can be found in the Writing Guidelines. When a student is caught submitting work that is plagiarised, the student will be disqualified from the Challenge.
When will I receive my results?
After reviewing all papers submitted for each stage, the Organisers will notify all participants of their results by email.