2021 Henry Owen Memorial Award Essay Contest

Date and time
End date and time

The contest is now closed. View the winning essays here.


The Bretton Woods Committee invites graduate students to submit brief essays to the Henry Owen Memorial Award Essay Contest on the following topic. 

Amidst an unprecedented global shock, how can the Bretton Woods institutions help secure a balanced, sustainable global recovery that lifts the prospects of all? 

Essay length: Essays should be an original work in English of no more than 750 words. 

Deadline: March 21, 2021 by 11:59 p.m. ET 

Eligibility: Graduate-level students currently registered at accredited colleges and universities within the United States.  

The Award includes: 

  • First place winners will receive a monetary prize of $1,000.  
  • Second place winners will receive a monetary prize of $500. 
  • First and second place winners will have the opportunity to participate in the Bretton Woods Committee’s virtual Annual Meeting to be held Monday, April 5 to Friday, April 9, 2021. (For details on past Annual Meetings, see here.)  
  • Top essays will be published on the Committee’s website and shared with Committee members and friends via its quarterly newsletter.  

To apply: Please email an essay of no more than 750 words to secretariat@brettonwoods.org by March 21, 2021, 11:59 p.m. ET. All applicants must include a cover sheet with name, contact information, school, and degree information. Name, school, and contact information should not be visible on any other pages of the essay. Number each page of essay. One submission per person. 

Failure to comply with application processes and requirements may result in disqualification from the contest.  

The Henry Owen Memorial Prize honors Bretton Woods Committee co-founder Henry Owen, and hopes to inspire new generations of thoughtful young leaders to follow Ambassador Owen’s example as both a scholar and diplomat. As Ambassador for Economic Summits under President Jimmy Carter, Henry Owen organized many of the economic summits in the 1970s that came to shape modern international financial and economic institutions, and he was an important force behind the creation of the Trilateral Commission.

This Award has been made possible thanks to the generous contributions of Bretton Woods Committee members, friends, and the Owen family.