2023 ASEAN-Korea Academic Essay Contest

May 01, 2023

2023 ASEAN-Korea Academic Essay Contest – Call for Proposals (credit: aseankorea.org)

The ASEAN-Korea Centre (AKC) is pleased to call for proposals for the ‘2023 ASEAN-Korea Academic Essay Contest’!

In collaboration with the Institute for East Asian Studies at Sogang University (SIEAS) and Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM), AKC will host the ‘2023 ASEAN-Korea Academic Essay Contest’, inviting graduate and undergraduate students of ASEAN and Korean nationalities.

AKC looks forward to receiving proposals for ‘Strengthening ASEAN-Korea Strategic Partnership in a Changing Global Landscape’. You may refer to the attachments for more details and requirements:

1. AKC General Guidelines

Organized by

ASEAN-Korea Centre (AKC) 

Academic Partnership with 

Institute for East Asian Studies at Sogang University (SIEAS)

ASEAN Studies Centre at Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) 

Supported by

ASEAN Secretariat, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (ROK), ASEAN University Network


Community-centered relations continue to be the focal to the ASEAN-Korea partnership. Particularly, this has provided vast opportunities for greater participation and engagement for youths in both regions to contribute towards solidifying the partnership between ASEAN and Korea and promoting its integration. As the future leaders of the ASEAN-Korea community and potential beneficiaries of a sustainable ASEAN-Korea partnership, it is critical for youth to have avid interests in emerging issues relevant to ASEAN-Korea relations. This devotion is expected to help students to build their own objective stance as a whole. This is why this concept of community is being emphasized today, which is also found in the government’s international partnership framework such as, but not limited to ROK’s Indo-Pacific Strategy and Korea-ASEAN Solidarity Initiative (KASI). 

To realize these efforts, ASEAN-Korea Centre (AKC) in collaboration with the Institute for East Asian Studies at Sogang University (SIEAS) and the ASEAN Studies Centre at the Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) is hosting the ‘2023 ASEAN-Korea Academic Essay Contest’ inviting graduate and undergraduate students of ASEAN and Korean nationalities to participate. The Contest aims to provide an avenue for students to thoroughly conduct research and share their perspectives and knowledge on ASEAN and ASEAN-Korea relations. 

Through this Contest, we look forward to receiving original, yet coherent essays in promoting the ASEAN-Korea relationship and suggestions as to how ASEAN and Korea can further expand their cooperation towards a more sustainable ASEAN-Korea partnership. 

Interested applicants can work as an individual or in teams (up to 2 students) and are advised to work with the guidance of an academic advisor when writing both the proposal and the final essay.


Strengthening ASEAN-Korea Strategic Partnership in a Changing Global Landscape, through one of the following sub-topics:

This year, the overall theme focuses on strengthening the ASEAN-Korea partnership as indicated above. In the announcement made by ROK’s President Yoon’s administration at the ASEAN-ROK Summit last November, the critical role of ASEAN-Korea relations through cooperation was emphasized. The Contest is expected to generate greater participation and engagement for youths within this cooperation. This is highly important, as the idea is also indicated in the ROK’s Indo-Pacific Strategy and KASI. This also corresponds to ROK’s ambition to elevate the partnership status to ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’ (CSP) by 2024. Hence, AKC’s commitments and efforts towards solidifying the partnership within the youth population will be carried out through the Contest by inviting students to express their views or ideas, through one of the essay sub-topics below:

1) Current Discourse and Perceptions on ASEAN-Korea Relations and Ways to Improve Perceptions; or

According to the ‘Survey on Mutual Perceptions of ASEAN and Korean Youths’ conducted by AKC (2022), there are apparent gaps in the levels of mutual awareness and understanding that ASEAN and Korean youths have of one another. With this psychological distance in mind, option 1 invites students to discuss the current discourse and perceptions on ASEAN-Korea relations with their take on this, as well as to provide original ideas that can surmount this gap. This is ultimately to achieve a more inclusive, mutually beneficial, and sustainable relationship. 

2) Synergies in Digital and Green Initiatives for Sustainable and Mutually Beneficial ASEAN-Korea Partnership

For option 2, students are expected to analyze synergies in emerging and innovative areas of digital and green initiatives for the ASEAN-Korea partnership. It is important for students to link this to sustainable and mutually beneficial ASEAN-Korea partnership as well. As it has been forecasted that by 2040, the ASEAN region is to increase its regional GDP to US$20 trillion fueled by a population size of 770 million,  students can take advantage to also elaborate this ASEAN growth further to the essay question. Moreover, policy suggestions or future implications can also be made throughout. Last but not least, students may offer policy suggestions that are beneficial to the ASEAN-Korea partnership or cooperation. 


The Contest is open to all undergraduate and graduate students with ASEAN or Korean nationality:

  • Applicants must submit a proposal as an individual or as a team (consisting of up to 2 students).
  • Applicants must submit a recommendation form by their academic advisor.


Submissions must only be made in English 

Process and Schedule FY 2023

Stages Date Note
Proposal Stage: Submission and Evaluation
Submission Deadline May 28 (Sun)
Proposal Screening May 29 (Mon) – June 16 (Fri) Refer to Evaluation section below
Announcement June 19 (Mon) Only shortlisted proposals are subject to the full essay stage and will be contacted individually via email
Essay Stage: Submission and Evaluation
Submission Deadline September 03 (Sun) Submit by 6 PM (KST) via essay@aseankorea.org
Evaluation September 04 (Mon) – 22 (Fri) Refer to Evaluation section below
Announcement September 26 (Tue)
  • Public announcement will be made on AKC website
  • Winners will receive individual email
Award Ceremony and Presentation
2023 ASEAN-Korea Forum October 31 (Tue)
  • Winners will have the opportunity to virtually present their winning essays at the ‘2023 ASEAN-Korea Forum’
  • Grand, Excellence and Merit prize winners to submit PPT for a 10-minute presentation


All eligible entries received will be assessed by a qualified panel of judges from ASEAN and Korea.

Evaluation Criteria/ Rate
Research Question
Importance – contributions to promoting the ASEAN-Korea relationship
Puzzle – originality and creativity, hard to explain with pre-existing studies
Relevance – proper answer (hypothesis) to the research question
Logic – convincing causal explanations
Methodology & Evidence
Appropriate methods to offer evidence
Good evidence to support the argument
Policy Suggestions
Realistic, feasible suggestions and recommendations based on the analysis of the causal mechanism
Sources & References
Proper use of APA 7th edition
Appropriate use of references, including in-text citations and bibliography

Required Documents for Submission

Stage Documents
Proposal stage
  1. Proposal (refer Proposal Guidelines)
  2. Application Form and Consent
  3. Form Recommendation Form (by Academic Advisor)
  4. Copy of Student ID card or Enrollment Certificate
Essay stage
  1. Essay (with abstract)
    • Max. 5,000 words (excluding abstract & references)
    • Times New Roman, 12 points, 1.5 interlinear - Using Microsoft Word

Essay Stage

  • Selected proposals will be announced via individual emails on June 19.
  • Additional guidelines for the essay stage will be provided upon announcement of selected proposals.


Prize No. of Winner(s) Award
Grand Prize 1 KRW 2,000,000
Excellence Prize 1 KRW 1,000,000
Merit Prize 1 KRW 500,000
Special Mention Award 5 KRW 150,000/ team

*Grand, Excellence and Merit Prize Winners will have the opportunity to present their winning essays at the 2023 ASEAN-Korea Forum (tentatively scheduled on October 31, 2023). 

**Certificate of Participation will be provided to all submissions of Essay Stage.


  • All requirements must be submitted via email essay@aseankorea.org
  • For any inquiries, please contact us at essay@aseankorea.org

2. AKC Proposal Guidelines

Please refer below and submit the proposal in a Microsoft Word document format. Submission should be made no later than May 28, 2023 by 6 PM (KST) and emailed to essay@aseankorea.org, with your application and consent forms.

  1. The proposal should not exceed two pages
  2. The proposal must be written in English, Times New Roman, 12 points, 1.5 interlinear
  3. The proposal should include the following content:
    1. Essay Title
      • should provide your proposed essay title
      • should indicate selected essay theme number
    2. Essay Description
      • should present your research question or problem that would be addressed, including the importance and ‘puzzle’ of the question/ problem
      • should offer your argument (answer) to the question/problem, including causal explanations of what causes the problem
      • should provide your plan to support the argument, including your research methods
      • should discuss expected theoretical / policy contributions of the proposed research
      • should include in-text citation following the APA format (7th edition), where relevant.
    3. Bibliography
      • should include references
      • should be written according to APA format (7th edition)
  4. Only original* proposals will be considered for evaluation
*refer to www.plagiarism.org for more information 

3. AKC Application & Consent Form [download]

4. AKC Academic Recommendation [download]


Team Members

  • Can the team be composed of different nationalities with different educational backgrounds? Yes, as long as your team is made up of university students of ASEAN or Korean nationality.
  • Do I need to be a student in an ASEAN country or Korea? No, you can be a university student anywhere in the world, as long as you hold either ASEAN or Korean nationality.
  • Can we change or add participant members? No, please make sure the original team member(s) can participate from the proposal round until the winner announcement.
  • Can prior winners participate again? No, since the primary purpose of this contest is to enable students to win a chance to explore ASEANKorea relations and present their winning papers, we limit the participation of previous winners.
  • Can graduating students or students on leave participate? Students on leave may participate under the condition that they can provide a valid school ID. Graduating students are eligible to participate if the graduation date is after the submission date.


  • Can we change the sub-theme if we successfully enter the essay stage? No, you cannot change the sub-theme but only the title, if necessary.
  • Can we submit more than one proposal? No, please submit only one proposal per team.

Application Process

  • Where can we get the recommendation letter format, application, and consent form? You can find and download the required documents on ASEAN-Korea Centre’s website. (here)
  • Can we submit our proposal without an academic advisor? No, the academic advisor’s role is to give an understanding of what is noteworthy from your proposal from an advisor’s point of view.
  • Can we choose more than one (1) academic advisor? No, please choose only one academic advisor.
  • Who should be the academic advisor? The academic advisor should be affiliated as a lecturer/ professor in the applicant’s university.
  • Can we re-submit the proposal or the essay with revisions before the deadline? Yes, but we highly encourage you to submit one complete, final proposal before the deadline.
  • Will we get confirmation after submitting our proposal? Successful proposals that are shortlisted for the essay stage will be notified via email on June 19, 2023.


  • How will the prize be transmitted? Cash prizes will be sent through bank transfer; bank details will be requested from the winning teams separately.


  • Call for proposals is only for proposal submission. Selected proposals will be notified via email on May 28, 2023.
  • Only selected proposals will proceed to the essay stage.
  • All participants who enter the essay stage will receive a certificate of participation.
  • For any inquiries, please contact us at the Information and Data Unit,
  • Tel: +82 2 2287-1171 or Email: essay@aseankorea.org
  • Register Online Briefing Session: forms.gle/a8xjs4XX2u3pXRtL6
  • For more information, please refer to the Video below: youtube.com/watch?v=_NHJj5Q6zps

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