Statelessness Program

The Statelessness Program is an initiative dedicated to research, training and outreach on statelessness and related issues.


In 2013, Tilburg University and UNHCR established an incentive award for outstanding student research in the field of statelessness. In its inaugural year, a total of 15 nominations were received, spread across the three award categories (undergraduate, graduate and doctoral), submitted on behalf of students from 13 different universities across eight countries. A jury comprised of leading academics from around the world assessed the work and awarded one prize in the undergraduate category and two prizes in the graduate category (no prize was awarded in the doctoral category).

The winners of the 2013 UNHCR Award for Statelessness Research are:
  • In the undergraduate category: 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: 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; and 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.

Call for nominations for 2014 edition of the UNHCR Research Award

We now invite academic institutions to nominate excellent research by undergraduate, graduate and doctoral researchers in the field of statelessness for the newly established UNHCR Award for Statelessness Research. Three awards from a total prize pool of € 3,000 will be granted to the best research at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels. The 2014 nomination guidelines can be found below or can be downloaded as PDF here.

So far, 12 nominations have been received for the 2014 award. We have extended the deadline by two weeks to allow others a little more time to complete and submit nomination forms for other students’ work. The final deadline to nominate a student for this award is now 15 May 2014! Click here to download the nomination form.

2014 Nomination Guidelines:


Any work that offers a clear contribution to increasing understanding of the nature and scope of the problem of statelessness, identifying stateless populations and understanding the reasons which have led to statelessness, in particular in regions or within disciplines where little research has been done, may be nominated for the Award. Research exploring other topics directly relating to statelessness may also be nominated, including such questions as the operation of legal safeguards to prevent the occurrence of statelessness, the denial or deprivation of nationality resulting in statelessness, protection frameworks for stateless persons and experiences of statelessness from historic, economic, anthropological, sociological, psychological or political perspectives.


Nominations may cover research in any discipline. The research may be theoretical in nature or incorporate empirical and/ or field research. All nominations must meet the benchmarks in terms of methodology and analysis that are applicable within the relevant discipline. Any research completed in the year prior to the nomination deadline is eligible: nominations are accepted for any work completed between the 15th of May 2013 and the 1st of May 2014.

There are three nomination categories:
A. Undergraduate dissertation, or non-disseration work of a comparable level by an advanced undergraduate or graduate student
B. Graduate (masters) dissertation, or work of a comparable level by a doctoral student (published or presented paper/article)
C. Doctoral thesis
Only work written in the English language is eligible for nomination. There are no word limits in any of the categories.


An internal jury composed of members of Tilburg Law School will conduct a pre-selection of nominations, screening for eligibility and quality. The most accomplished works will be forwarded to members of an International Expert Jury. The Jury comprises two permanent members:

  • Mr. Mark Manly (chairperson of the Jury), Head of the Statelessness Unit, on behalf of UNHCR
  • Dr. Laura van Waas, Senior Researcher and Manager, on behalf of the Statelessness Program
The other Jury members will be drawn during the years 2013 - 2015 from the following experts who have committed their support to this award:
  • Prof. Kohki Abe, Kanagawa University, Japan
  • Prof. Khadija Elmadmad, Casablanca University, Morocco
  • Prof. René de Groot, Maastricht University, the Netherlands
  • Dr. Sriprapha Petcharamesree, Mahidol University, Thailand
  • Dr. Benyam Mezmur, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
  • Prof. Kim Rubenstein, Australian National University, Australia
  • Prof. Peter Spiro, Temple University, United States
  • Prof. Carmen Tiburcio, Rio de Janeiro State University, Brazil

Nomination procedures

All nominations must be submitted by or on behalf of the member of the academic staff who has been involved in supervising the student's work and can testify as to its quality. Each university can nominate a maximum of two students per award category. For each nomination, the information listed below must be submitted, using the nomination form which can be downloaded here.

All nominations must contain the following information:

  1. Basic details regarding the nominated work, to be submitted by the nominating member of academic staff, including:
    a. The name, contact details, title and affiliation of the nominating member of academic staff
    b. The name and contact details of the student whose work is nominated
    c. The title of the work nominated
    d. The award category for which the work is nominated (A- Undergraduate; B – Graduate or C – Doctoral)
    e. The date of completion (i.e. date of defense/grade/publication/presentation)
    f. The research discipline
    g. The program in which the student is/was enrolled (field and level of study, degree title)
    h. Where relevant: the course for which a non-dissertation paper was completed or the place of publication / presentation of a paper / article by a doctoral student
  2. Endorsement of max. 200 words by the nominating member of academic staff
  3. Bio of max. 200 words detailing relevant research experience and interests of the author, including contact details
  4. Abstract of max. 500 words of the nominated work by the author
  5. Full text of the work that has been nominated
Nominations should be submitted as PDF files to

Where it is not possible to provide the nomination or work in digital format, hard copies can exceptionally be submitted. In this case, six copies should be sent to: Statelessness Program, Tilburg Law School, P.O. Box 90153, 5000 LE Tilburg, The Netherlands.

The deadline for nominations is 17:00 hours, Greenwich Mean Time, 15 May 2014.


Winners in each category will be chosen by an international jury comprised of a UNHCR representative and leading academics and practitioners working on statelessness. Nominated research will be judged on the following criteria:
  • Contribution to increasing understanding of the nature and scope of the problem of statelessness, identifying stateless populations and understanding the reasons which have led to statelessness;
  • Timeliness and importance of selected topic;
  • Quality of research
  • Quality of writing


Winners will be announced in September 2014. In addition to prize money, winners will receive an award certificate signed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. They will also be invited to write a short article about their research which will be posted on the Statelessness Program’s blog site.

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