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U.S.-China Student Challenge

Resetting the World’s Most Important Relationship

U.S.-China relations have reached their lowest point in a half-century. From trade and finance to Hong Kong, human rights, and the South China Sea—the relationship between Washington, DC, and Beijing has been marked by increasingly harsh rhetoric and antagonistic actions.

For U.S.-China relations to move from precarious confrontation to managed competition, creative thinking will be needed. There is no doubt that strategic, economic, and ideological rivalry will characterize the relationship into the future. But both countries—and the global community—have a strong interest in peaceful interaction and (where possible) productive cooperation around issues ranging from trade and security to global health and climate change.

The Georgetown University Initiative for U.S.-China Dialogue on Global Issues is organizing a student challenge to identify creative ways to reset the U.S.-China relationship at a turbulent, historic juncture.

Submission Process

Team formation for the 2020-2021 U.S.-China Student Challenge is now closed.

Teams made up of four undergraduates (with two each enrolled at institutions in the United States and in the People’s Republic of China) are invited to develop concrete ideas for resetting the U.S.-China relationship. Each team will submit its ideas in the form of a 500-750 word essay and a 1-2 minute video presentation (deadline: October 1, 2020).

A selection committee made up of Georgetown University faculty will determine finalists by November 1, 2020. Selection criteria will include originality, practicality, and intellectual soundness. Teams may choose to focus on one or more issue areas (for example, security, trade, development, health, or climate) and/or on the mechanics of the relationship (for example, diplomatic initiatives, track-two diplomacy, or societal dialogue).

With the help of feedback from the committee, finalists will develop their ideas into 1,000-1,500 word essays and 3-4 minute video presentations (deadline: January 1, 2021). The selection committee will select two winning entries by February 1, 2021. Individual members of each winning team will each receive an award of $2,500.

To be considered, each team submission must consist of original work and be sent to by 11:59pm EST on the indicated due dates. The essay should be attached in MS Word format and the video in .mov or .mp4 format.

Georgetown University retains the right to publish submissions (videos and essays) with full attribution, in whole or in part, on its websites, social media platforms, and in its publications.

The awards are taxable income within the United States. Awards for non-U.S. citizens may be subject to tax withholdings.

Team Formation

Team formation for the 2020-2021 U.S.-China Student Challenge is now closed.

To participate in the student challenge, teams must be formed and validated by September 1, 2020. To be validated, a team’s designated leader must submit all four students’ names, home schools, and emails to

Each team must include two undergraduates from U.S.-based universities and two undergraduates from PRC-based universities. (Students studying abroad in China or the United States will be counted as based at their home institutions.) Each team must have some diversity in terms of gender and nationality.

Students who are interested in participating but need assistance in finding teammates should submit their names, schools, emails, and a 50 to 75 word statement of interest/background to by September 1, 2020. The initiative will circulate the contact information and statements of students who submit, facilitating the formation of teams.

View our FAQ for additional information.