World Refugee Day 2020 Essay Writing Competition by UNHCR, TISS and Mumbai University: Submit by July 10

World Refugee Day 2020 Essay Writing Competition by UNHCR, TISS and Mumbai University: Submit by July 10

UNHCR Mission

UNHCR is mandated by the United Nations to lead and coordinate international action for the worldwide protection of refugees and the resolution of refugee problems.

UNHCR’s primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. In its efforts to achieve this objective, UNHCR strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, and to return home voluntarily. By assisting refugees to return to their own country or to settle permanently in another country, UNHCR also seeks lasting solutions to their plight.

By virtue of its activities on behalf of refugees and displaced people, UNHCR also endeavours to promote the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter: maintaining international peace and security; developing friendly relations among nations; and encouraging respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

World Refugee Day 2020

On 4 December 2000, the United Nations General Assembly in Resolution 55/76 decided that, from 2000, 20 June would be celebrated as World Refugee Day. In this resolution, the General Assembly noted that 2001 marked the 50th anniversary of the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. Every year on the 20th of June, World Refugee Day is commemorated to honour all refugees, raise awareness and solicit support.

About the Competition

UNHCR in collaboration with Tata Institute of Social Sciences, and Mumbai University short essays on the theme “Building Back Better Together for Everyone: Refugees, Asylum Seekers and the Stateless amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic”.

The theme for Year 2020 promotes inclusivity and acceptance of all those who seek shelter and security. Refugees suffer from a sense of exclusion and therefore deserve to be protected and integrated into society. Every refugee must feel a sense of belongingness. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the urgency to protect the vulnerable is now more than ever.


The competition is being organized for all students pursuing recognized undergraduate, post-graduate and doctoral degrees in law, public policy and social sciences and other disciplines.


  • Research may be drawn from any relevant discipline (including but not limited to economics, geography, history, law, philosophy, politics or sociology), or maybe inter-disciplinary. The research may be theoretical, or it may incorporate empirical/field research findings (i.e. field research is not required).
  • The Competition sub-themes promote contextually relevant, multidisciplinary and clear expositions involving critical analysis of the contemporary challenges through the prism of the COVID-19 Pandemic, these are:
  • Challenges to protection of refugees in situations of mass influx during emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Developing mechanisms for the effective economic inclusion of refugees.
  • The need for a gendered perspective on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to mitigate adverse impacts on female refugees.
  • Comprehensive approaches to combating toxic narratives against refugees and the stateless: Solidarity in times of pandemic and beyond.
  • Exploring new partnerships: How international organisations and the private sector can support refugee-led organisations.

Please note that the participant must address at least one of the aforementioned sub-themes in their essay.

Important Dates

The deadline for submitting the essay is 1700 hours (Indian Standard Time) on 10th of July 2020.

The results will be declared on 30th July 2020.

Submission Guidelines

  • All submissions must be in English.
  • The essay should be an unpublished, original piece of writing.
  • Only one essay per author may be submitted. An essay may be co-authored by up to 2 authors.
  • Incomplete, multiple or plagiarised submissions will be summarily rejected.
  • The word count should range from 2000-2500 words.
  • The essay should contain in-text citations in the form of hyperlinks. Hyperlinks should be underlined and italicised.
  • All submissions should be made in the form of a word document via an email to indne[at]
  • The author(s) must be careful not to mention their institutional affiliation/name within the essay document.
  • The author(s) may provide a short bio in 100 words with regard to their work and research interests within the body of the email.

The preferred stylistic guidelines are as follows:

  • Font: Times New Roman
  • Font Size: 12 pt.
  • Line spacing: 1.5


An internal jury composed of UNHCR experts along with Tata Institute of Social Sciences and Mumbai University will screen all entries.

The internal and expert juries will judge entries by the following criteria:

  • Quality of content and writing;
  • Quality of research;
  • Originality, creativity and timeliness of the essay;

The top three essays will be published on the official website of UNHCR India. The winners will also be invited to discuss their essays with a distinguished panel of UNHCR experts and professors from TISS and Mumbai University.

All participants will receive certificates.

Contact Information

Name: Vatsal Raj, External Relations Associate

Email ID: rajv[at]

Important Links

For full details of World Refugee Day 2020 Essay Writing Competition, click here.

For the official link of World Refugee Day 2020 Essay Writing Competition, click here.