professor Surya Subedi


Prestigious global essay prize set to raise awareness of modern slavery

A world-leading research Institute at the University of Hull has launched a new global academic essay competition – to raise awareness of modern slavery and the protection of human dignity.

The Wilberforce Institute for the study of Slavery and Emancipation, whose expertise lies in both historical and contemporary slavery, is working with governments, businesses and communities to root out slavery – one of the greatest threats to human rights today.

The 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 on the abolition of the modern forms of slavery and the protection of human dignity anywhere in the world. The winner will receive £500 in recognition of their success.

professor Surya Subedi
Professor Surya Subedi

Trevor Burnard, Director of the University of Hull’s Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation, said: “Professor Subedi is a world-renowned scholar and a champion of human rights. Through his work as a barrister, and numerous high-level positions in governments and national and international organisations, he works incredibly hard to make a difference to the real life of people around the world.

We are extremely proud to present this prize in Professor Subedi’s honour, to raise awareness of modern slavery at a critical time.

Trevor Burnard

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

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: focused on promoting fairness in international relations, strengthening the rules-based international order and advancing human rights.

Professor Surya Subedi
Professor Surya Subedi is Professor of International Law at the University of Leeds

The Professor Surya Subedi Global Essay Prize on Modern Slavery or the Protection of Human Dignity, which will award an annual prize of £500, follows on from two law prizes named in his honour which were established at the University of Oxford in 2020. These prizes recognise: the best attainment in Human Rights Law; and the best doctoral thesis (DPhil) of the year in Law.

Ben Butler, Head of Development and Alumni Relations at the University of Hull, said: “Professor Subedi is a lawyer of international standing whose career has advanced human rights and freedoms around the world. We’re very proud to count him as a graduate of Hull.

I’m confident that his generous endowment of a prize fund for up-and-coming scholars will encourage others to follow in his footsteps and to make their own telling contribution towards fairness and the protection of human dignity.

Ben Butler

The Professor Surya Subedi Global Essay Prize on Modern Slavery or the Protection of Human Dignity will be awarded in accordance with the following:

  • The prize of £500 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.

  • The closing date for the inaugural competition is midnight, 31 December 2022 and the prize will be awarded in March 2023.

  • The essay submitted must be an academic piece of work with proper citations and must not have already been published.

  • 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.

  • The essay must be submitted electronically either in Microsoft Word or in PDF format to the following email address:

  • 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 submission must be accompanied by a copy of the CV of the candidate.


By submitting the essay, the candidates agree that if their essay is awarded the Prize, they grant the Wilberforce Institute a non-exclusive licence to publish it online or in any other format that it sees fit. A non-exclusive licence means that the rights needed to publish the essay are granted to the Institute on a non-exclusive basis and the ownership of the copyright remains unchanged.

The winning essay will be published on the website of the Wilberforce Institute of the University of Hull.

The institute may, at its discretion, choose to submit the essay for publication in a physical or online journal or as part of a collated series of prize-winning essays connected to the award.

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