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2021 ASEAN-Korea Academic Essay Contest


Organized by

ASEAN-Korea Centre, Korean Association of Southeast Asian Studies, Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Seoul National University Asia Center



Supported by

ASEAN Secretariat, ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs, ASEAN University Network, ASEAN Foundation




Despite the prolonged pandemic, ASEAN and Korea have expanded their partnership through Korea’s New Southern Policy (NSP) and NSP Plus Strategy. Korea has contributed to COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund and has aligned its policies with ASEAN’s major initiatives such as the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework. The two sides are strengthening their partnership to overcome the economic difficulties caused by COVID-19 and achieve shared prosperity. Furthermore, in commemoration of the 2021 Mekong-ROK Exchange Year, Korea has also been expanding its partnership with the Mekong sub-region.


Against such backdrop, the ASEAN-Korea Centre is hosting the 2021 ASEAN-Korea Academic Essay Contest inviting university students of ASEAN and Korea to conduct intellectual research and share their perspective and knowledge on ASEAN and ASEAN-Korea relations. Through the contest, we look forward to receiving creative and insightful essays on how ASEAN and Korea can further expand and deepen their cooperation towards advancing a more sustainable future partnership. Interested applicants can work as an individual or in teams (up to 2 students) and are advised to work with an academic advisor to strengthen their papers.



THEMES (please select only one)

(1)The Role of Youth in Promoting Mutual Understanding between ASEAN and Korea towards a sustainable and future-oriented ASEAN-Korea Partnership

As more than 60% of its total population are represented by youth (15-35 years old with an average age of 30), ASEAN is in the limelight as a young, dynamic, and prospective region. While many ASEAN youth are well aware of Korea and Korean culture due to the effects of K-Wave in the region, many young Koreans have a limited understanding of ASEAN based on their limited exposure (mainly through tourism and food) to the region and ASEAN culture. How can youths in ASEAN and Korea play a role in addressing this imbalance and in further promoting mutual understanding amongst each other? What role should young people, as future leaders of ASEAN and Korea, play in building a sustainable and future-oriented ASEAN-Korea partnership?


(2)Strengthening ASEAN-Korea Partnership in Overcoming COVID-19 and Building Back Better for Greater Prosperity in the Region

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting decrease in exchanges are undermining much of the cooperative momentum that was generated by the New Southern Policy and 2019 ASEAN-ROK Commemorative Summit. At the same time, digital platforms and increased cooperation in the health sector have allowed ASEAN and Korea to explore new areas and forms of cooperation and exchange. Against such backdrop, how can ASEAN (the slogan of 2021 ASEAN Chairmanship is “We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper”) and Korea strengthen their cooperation and partnership to recover from the pandemic and build back better towards a ´people-centered community of peace and prosperity´?


(3)Strengthening ASEAN-Korea Cooperation in Mitigating the Impact of Climate Change and Promoting Sustainable Development in the Mekong Region

Over the years, countries in the Mekong sub-region (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam) have been noted for their tangible achievements in economic development and high growth rates. Korea has been a strong partner of this sub-region since 2011 and elevated this relationship to a summit-level partnership by holding the first Mekong-ROK Summit in 2019. In what ways can ASEAN/Mekong countries and Korea further strengthen cooperation to both respond to challenges of climate change and ensure sustainable development of this region?




The contest is open to all undergraduate and graduate students with ASEAN or Korean nationality.

- Submissions must be endorsed by an academic advisor (professor or lecturer)

- Applicants can submit as an individual or as a team, consisting of up to 2 students, in which all applicants must meet the above criteria to participate




Submissions must only be made in English




Submission by: 14 November 2021 (Korea Standard Time)

Winner Announcement: 15 December 2021

Required Documents:



3)Application form (by participants)

4)Recommendation form (by advisor)





Max. 4,000 words or 10 pages
Times New Roman
12 points
1.5 interlinear
*Abstract: 500 words / 1 page

- Essays must be submitted and formatted in Microsoft Word.

- In-text citations must be made in APA (seventh edition).




- 10 teams to be awarded

*Less than 10 teams may be selected depending on the quality of entries




- Grand Prize (1 team): KRW 2,500,000

- Second Prize (2 teams): KRW 1,500,000

- Third Prize (2 teams): KRW 1,000,000

- Special Recognition (5 teams): KRW 500,000

* Selected teams will be invited to a webinar to present their essays (to be held in January 2022)

* Selected winning essays will be considered for publication, subject to quality of entries




All eligible entries received will be assessed by a qualified panel of judges chosen by the organizers.




- All requirements must be submitted electronically by the submission deadline on http://bit.do/2021akessay

- Reference materials must be properly cited. About the plagiarism policy, please refer to www.plagiarism.org.

- Only original and unpublished essays will be considered for evaluation.

- For any inquiries, please contact us at essay@aseankorea.org

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