Subedi Essay Prize

The Wilberforce Institute will award the Professor Surya Subedi Global Essay Prize on Modern Slavery or the Protection of Human Dignity annually for the best original essay in English.

Subedi Essay Prize 2025 is now open

About the prize

This annual prize is for the best original essay in English on the abolition of modern forms of slavery or the protection of human dignity anywhere in the world. The winner will receive £500 in recognition of their success.

Professor Surya Subedi is Professor of International Law at the University of Leeds, and a visiting faculty member on the international human rights law programme at the University of Oxford since 2016.

The winner of the inaugural Subedi Prize was Yogi Bratajaya, University of Oxford.

Read the essay here

The winner of the 2024 prize was Yelyzaveta Monastyrova, Open University, Law School.

Read the essay here

The Subedi Essay Prize 2025 is now open for submissions. Please see the terms and conditions below.  


I wanted to reflect on dignity as the absolute moral value that underpins the human quest for liberty in all its forms. However, dignity is too often misappropriated by governance regimes that subsist on structural exploitation. This includes the legal and policy frameworks aimed at counteracting human trafficking, which become a tool for reproducing unfreedom. Yelyzaveta Monastyrova, Open University, Law School

Professor Subedi studied for an LLM at the University of Hull from 1986 to 1988, obtaining the degree with distinction and a prize for best student of the year.

He said: “I am immensely honoured by the establishment of this prize in my name at the University of Hull, my alma mater.”

“My time at Hull was transformative for me in so many ways. During my studies at Hull, I benefited greatly from research-led teaching by first-rate academics and developed a passion for further research that would extend the frontiers of knowledge in international law in general, and international human rights law in particular.”

Professor Subedi has published 12 books and more than 60 scholarly articles in all major areas of international law in leading international law journals throughout his academic career. His work has focused on promoting fairness in international relations, strengthening the rules-based international order and advancing human rights.

Terms and conditions


  • The Prize of £500 will be awarded to the best original essay on the Abolition of the Modern Forms of Slavery or the Protection of Human Dignity anywhere in the world as determined by an expert panel from the University of Hull.
  • The Prize will be awarded to the essay that: (a) makes the most exciting original contribution to the relevant field of scholarship, (b) is best-crafted in terms of organisation, style and presentation.
  • The Prize will open to any graduate in law and social sciences / humanities from around the world regardless of their nationality who is below the age of 40 at the time of submission.
  • Copyright for the prize-winning essay will remain with the author but by submitting their essay, the applicant gives permission for the Wilberforce Institute to share the essay with credit given to the author.
  • The Wilberforce Institute reserves the right not to award the Prize if no candidates of sufficient merit present themselves.
  • Staff members at the University of Hull are ineligible to enter.

Author Guidelines:

  • Essays must be in English.
  • The essay submitted should have a title which is both concise and descriptive and must be accompanied by an abstract of no more than 150 words in 10-point Times New Roman.
  • The length of the essay must be between three and five thousand words, including footnotes following any standard format of referencing such as OSCOLA or Harvard style.
  • Essays must be single-authored and the author must state in the submission that they are the sole author, and that they own the copyright.
  • The essay submitted must be an academic piece of work and must not have already been published.
  • The submission must be accompanied by a copy of the CV of the candidate.
  • The essay must be submitted electronically either in Microsoft Word or in PDF format to the following email address
  • The closing date for the competition is midnight on 31 December each year, and the prize will be awarded the following March.