UNHCR Announces Winners of Statelessness Research Award

Press Releases, 27 September 2013

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Tilburg University on Friday named the inaugural winners of the UNHCR Award for Statelessness Research. The announcement coincides with the anniversary of the 1954 Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons,

In the undergraduate category, the winner is Amanda Cheong, whose thesis "Changing Conceptions of Citizenship Among Stateless Chinese-Bruneian Immigrants in Vancouver," was nominated by the Department of Sociology at the University of British Columbia in Canada.

In the graduate category, the jury named two winners. The first is Eva Mrekajová, whose Master of Laws thesis on the "Naturalization of Stateless Persons" was nominated by the Department of International and European Law at Tilburg University. The second winner is Caroline McInerney, whose independent study paper entitled "Citizenship Laws of Madagascar: Future Challenges for a Developing Nation" was nominated by the University of Virginia School of Law in the United States. No prize in the doctoral category was awarded this year.

UNHCR and Tilburg University in the Netherlands had invited academic institutions globally to nominate outstanding pieces of research at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels in the field of statelessness. Fifteen papers were submitted.

They were judged by a jury comprised of leading academics from around the world, working in the field of nationality and statelessness. The jury was co-chaired by UNHCR and the Statelessness Programme at Tilburg University.

Each winner received a cash prize of €1,000. Their papers will be published in a special edition of the Tilburg Law Review. The winners will also be asked to present their research at the First Global Forum on Statelessness, which will be held in The Hague in September 2014, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the 1954 Statelessness Convention.

UNHCR has a mandate to identify and protect stateless populations and to prevent and reduce statelessness. UNHCR's governing body, the Executive Committee, has requested the Office to undertake and share research on statelessness with academic institutions and governments, to promote understanding of the problem.

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