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Leonard Marks Foundation Essay Contest

Leonard Marks

Leonard H. Marks, with President Lyndon Johnson in 1965

The Academy sponsored the Leonard Marks Foundation essay contest, named for and supported by the late Leonard Marks, for five years from 2005 to 2009. Mr. Marks was a prominent Washington, DC lawyer who was a former director of the United States Information Agency, which has now been integrated into the Department of State. He also served as the former chairman of the Academy’s Executive Committee,  the Executive Committee of the Foreign Policy Association, and the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Fund. He was actively involved with many other foreign policy and diplomacy-related organizations during his lifetime.


  • First Prize: Ches Thurber, Tufts University: “Reassessing Diplomatic Strategy Toward Iran”

  • Second Prize: Christine Osowski, Georgetown University: “Setting the Agenda for US-China Relations”​

  • Runner-up: Brian Carlson, John Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS):
    “Engaging Russia Realistically”

  • Runner-up: Farbod Elihu, American University: “An Iranian Grand Bargain”

  • Runner-up: Gabriel Francis Geisler Mesevage, University of St. Andrews: “A Limited Commitment in Afghanistan”


  • First Prize: Zachary Wasserman, Yale University: “Managing China’s Rise”

  • Second Prize: Daniel Liss, Georgetown University: “A Three-Pronged Approach to China”


  • First Prize: Joyce M. Lawrence, University of California at San Diego:
    “Venezuela’s Proposal for a Banco del Sur”

  • Second Prize: Christopher M. Dorle, University of Michigan: “US Policy Toward Pakistan”

  • Third Prize: David Dreilinger, Georgetown University:
    “Implications of Iranian Nuclear Weapons and Strategies for Stopping the Nuclear Program”


  • First Prize: Andrew Prosser, Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva:
    “Engaging Iran to Impose Limits on its Nuclear Program”

  • Second Prize: James Stocker, Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva:
    “Options for Setting Criteria for Troop Withdrawal from Iraq”

  • Third Prize: Evan McKay, DePaul University: “US – China Relations: A Balanced Approach”


  • First Prize: Arturo Lopez Levy, University of Denver: “Reclaiming Policy Initiative in Cuba by Redesigning Travel Sanctions”

  • Second Prize: Ludovic Hood, Columbia University:
    “Alleviating the Humanitarian Tragedy in the Darfur Region of the Sudan”

  • Third Prize: Kelley Cantrell, George Washington University
    “US Position on the Doha Round of the World Trade Organization”

Past Winners

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