July 11, 2023


The Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) of Addis Ababa University is a prominent Institute for higher education, research and policy dialogues on peace and security in Africa. Established in 2007, it ranks among the top 46 educational establishments and think tanks in Sub-Saharan Africa according to the Global Go to Think Tank Index Reports. IPSS was also selected as the Centre of Excellence for Post Conflict Societies by the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) in 2017.  Moreover, the Institute runs the Africa Peace and Security Programme (APSP), a joint initiative with the African Union, which is mandated by the African Union’s Executive Council to take up the intellectual challenge of finding African-led solutions to peace and security challenges in Africa

IPSS serves as the Secretariat of the Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa that has been organised every year since 2012. The Forum brings prominent individuals, heads of state and government, policymakers and other experts to an informal gathering where they discuss African peace, security and development matters. This year’s Tana Forum is scheduled for 13 to 15 October 2023 on the theme “Africa in an Evolving Global Order”. The Forum will take place in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia

Tana Forum Secretariat firmly believes that it is only through the concerted efforts of all sections of the African societies that these challenges will be alleviated; thereby prioritizing youth inclusion in discussions geared towards solving peace and security challenges. For this reason, IPSS provides a platform for young Africans to contribute to Africa’s peace and security discourse and engage with prominent stakeholders in the field through the Tana Forum University Essay Competition.

The Secretariat therefore announces its call for submission to this annual competition. The competition is open to African nationals enrolled in higher education institutions based in Africa and in the diaspora.


Under the broad theme “Africa in an Evolving Global Order”, the following sub-themes are expected to guide contributors:

1. Situating Africa in an Emerging Multipolar Order;

  • Africa’s position, destination, and how its leadership navigates (or should navigate) the dynamic and complex realities of the multipolar world.

2. Redefining Pan African in an evolving regional and international security landscape;

  • Africa’s autonomy, ownership and capabilities in addressing the myriad of peace and security challenges, while navigating an increasingly complex, inter-connected and multidimensional global peace and security landscape.

3. Leveraging AI and Big Data: Frameworks, Practice and Africa’s Preparedness;

  • How AI and Big Data can be used to enhance AU member states’ adaptation and resilience to climate change and environmental vulnerability, which drives conflicts.

4. Navigating transition in an evolving global order; 

  • Political Transitions
  • Demographic Transition: Forms of Migration and Population Quality for AfCFTA’s Success


Applicants must be African citizens enrolled at recognized universities in Africa or in the diaspora pursuing either a BA/B.Sc., MA/M.Sc., M.Phil., or Ph.D. in a relevant field. The essays should be focusing on the following list of themes.

Submission Guidelines

  1. Entries must be typed, double-spaced, in 12-point Times New Roman with a one-inch margin on all sides.
  2. Essays must be between 5-10 pages in length excluding reference materials.
  3. The essay must be the original work of the applicant supported by a comprehensive list of sources (arranged alphabetically). Essays on topics outside the scope of the sub-themes indicated earlier will be rejected.
  4. Essays must be written in English or French.
  5. A reference list in 7th Edition APA Style must be included with a minimum of three primary sources, i.e. books, periodicals or newspapers. Other sources may be accessed online, provided they are cited correctly. Any submissions lacking three primary sources will be disqualified.
  6. Any essay using crowd-sourced and publicly editable sources such as Wikipedia will be disqualified.
  7. Essays must be submitted in Microsoft Word (.doc or .docx) format. Essays submitted in any other format will not be considered.


Three essays will be selected. Authors of these three winning essays will be invited by the Secretariat to attend the Forum as fully sponsored participants. They will also address participants at the Forum. Prior to the event, the authors will receive mentorship from a pool of experts based at the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS).

Submission Instructions

Email your essay with the subject line: [Full name] Tana Forum 2021 Essay Competition. Attach a short bio that includes your name, university, degree title (BA, MA or PhD.), country of origin, contact information (email address and telephone number) and essay to copying not later than 31 August 2023.


Submission of First Draft – 31 August

Shortlist/Selection – September 1 – September 15

Review and Editing – September 15 to September 30