KIE launches new undergraduate essay prize in regulatory ethics and human rights

Dhaka_Savar_Building_Collaps-400eCALL FOR PAPERS
The Kenan Institute for Ethics Prize in Regulatory Ethics and Human Rights

Where are we now? Evaluating changes in regulatory and business practices in response to South Asian garment factory disasters

The Kenan Institute for Ethics Prize in Regulatory Ethics and Human Rights is an essay competition for undergraduate students interested in business ethics, workplace safety and regulation, and human rights. This year’s policy focus is the regulatory responses to the collapse of Rana Plaza on April 24, 2013, which caused the deaths of over 1,100 people and injured 2,500 more. Located in Bangladesh, the eight story building housed several factories that churned out cheap clothes for stores around the world — including retailers like Walmart, JC Penney, H&M, and Benetton. Rana Plaza sparked protests around the world as workers and human rights activists pushed for greater corporate responsibility and government oversight of the garment industry.

Approaching the two year anniversary of the tragedy, where are we now in regulating this industry?

In an essay of 3000-5000 words, evaluate the effectiveness of the regulatory response to the recent South Asian garment factory disasters and the implications of these policies for human rights.

Essays may focus on the issues at hand from a variety of perspectives (enforcement, influence of non-governmental organizations, industry self-regulation, etc.), but must include both descriptive research and normative prescriptions.

Participants may submit papers individually or in teams of two students. Entries will be evaluated for their contribution to the communal research site (25%), and the quality of their final essay (75%). This contest is open to all Duke undergraduate students.


  • An initial information session will be held in Bostock Library room 042 at 8:00pm (pizza provided).
  • The deadline to register to participate in the competition is 5:00PM, Friday, February 13. To register, please fill out this online form.
  • There will be an open “office hours” session for registered participants to consult with the Duke Human Rights Center@KIE and Rethinking Regulation@KIE faculty and staff on Thursday, February 19 from 3:00-6:00PM.
  • Access to the research website and details regarding the office hours will be provided after registration is approved.
  • Essays will be due to Kate Preston by 5:00PM on Sunday, March 29.
  • The three finalists will present their analyses before a panel of judges at a public event on Monday, April 13, at 5:00PM in West Duke 101. Winners will receive cash prizes, their essays will be published on the Kenan Institute for Ethics website, and their policy recommendations will be distributed to relevant international organizations.

Email Kate Preston for more information.