Essay Competition: Supporting Civil Discourse on Gun Violence

The National Institute for Civil Discourse is running this essay contest to help encourage a civil discussion about gun control among citizens.  Considering the heated nature of the recent dialogue between Piers Morgan and Alex Jones, where Jones challenged Morgan to a boxing match, there is certainly room for improvement in terms of the level of discourse.  

Below are the details on this contest:

Request for Proposals
Supporting a National Conversation about Gun Violence
The National Institute for Civil Discourse seeks to promote civil discourse on issues of public interest and consequence.  As the national discussion about gun violence has evolved in the weeks since the Sandy Hook shootings, we’ve seen an immediate move to heated rhetoric by leaders on all sides of the issue.  The Institute does not and will not take a policy position on gun control, but is committed to encouraging a civil discussion not only among our leaders but, just as importantly, among citizens.
A number of deliberative democracy groups across the country have signaled their interest in leading citizen discussions, bringing together ordinary people who hold different views on what should be done about gun violence.  Ideally, these discussions could explore types of recommendations, which all participants could support.
In support of this process, the National Institute for Civil Discourse seeks evidence-based essays, which address the challenges of conducting constructive public conversations about the volatile issue of gun violence in the United States. Essays (3-5 pages maximum for web presentation) may draw on research or case studies, with links to scholarship and/or practice. We welcome submissions from all disciplines, recognizing that the collection of essays will be strongest if the challenges are examined through multiple lenses. Examples of questions an author might address would be:
·         Why is it so difficult to talk about this issue among people with different perspectives and interest?
·         How can we best frame the array of policy issues (gun regulation, mental illness, pervasiveness of violence in entertainment, etc.) in fair, non-pejorative terms?
·         How can we move toward constructive solutions together without compromising our fundamental values?

A stipend of $2,500 will be awarded to each of the essay authors, who will be chosen through a peer-reviewed process based on the relevance and scope of the proposed question(s). Applicants should propose an essay question (or questions) and approach in an Abstract of no more than 1000 words.  Abstracts should be submitted with a single-page CV (please include professional preparation, academic appointments, relevant publications, selected awards, scholarly presentations)by January 25 to Jane Prescott-Smith, Managing Director of the Institute at   Authors whose proposals are accepted will be notified on February 1, at which time they will be asked to sign an agreement to the following requirements:
·         Authors must submit their final essays (3 – 5pages maximum) by March 1.
·         Authors agree to have their essays posted on the Institute’s websites.
·         An author must cite the Institute as a funding source on any additional publications of his/her essay.
·         The Institute reserves the right to edit for brevity and style.  Authors wishing to approve edits before posting must submit their essays by February 20.