Winners of the Essay Contest, along with other selected participants, are invited to present their papers during the Human Rights Essay Colloquium. The colloquium, which takes place each spring semester, is an opportunity for students to present human rights papers and engage in open and lively discussion with other students and faculty members.
View all past Essay Contest winners below. Click on the winner to see their paper abstract.
Columbia College, Undergraduate
The Gender Dimension of Migration as Climate Change Adaptation Strategy: A Case Study of Pakistan
This essay argues that urbanization in Pakistan is a form of climate change adaptation that should be facilitated as a way to mitigate risk and diversify agricultural incomes. Pakistan's blanket policy of curbing rural-to-urban migration ignores the complex drivers of this migration and effective adaptation strategies. National policy must recognize and address the fact that internal migration is as a dynamic process that is being exacerbated by slow-onset drought. Furthermore, current migration practices are highly linked with gendered labor practices that stratify women into low-paid, vulnerable sectors. Pakistan’s climate policy should encourage and facilitate this urbanization rather than fear it, and given the existing structures of patriarchy present in rural areas, policy must ensure that women are a focus.