NAEI Annual Student Competition    Second Stage


Congratulations! Your team was among a select few chosen to advance to the next round of the Atlantic Council New American Engagement Initiative’s Annual Student Competition.

During this stage of the competition, your team will develop the ideas outlined in your initial application into a policy memo and a media product or prototype.

To that end, you will benefit from the support of a mentor who has expertise in US foreign policy. You will also have access to four mentorship videos, available on this page, to help you navigate some of the key issues you should keep in mind when working on your final products.

Remember, at the completion of this stage, NAEI will invite you to present your memo and media product to a panel of jurors, who will evaluate them and select the winning team and two runners-up. This will be the third and final stage of the competition (see the timeline below).

Important dates to rememberProcess
January 14–March 1, 2022Second stage (mentorship)
March 2–March 25, 2022Third stage (evaluation)
March 28, 2022Announcement of winners

Please note that this webpage and the information it contains are confidential and should not be shared outside of your team.


Using your team’s answers to the two questions from your initial application:

Part 1) Write a policy memo answering the following question: What core assumption guiding US foreign policy is most in need of scrutiny, or an opportunity for the United States to better engage with the world? Explain why it is an assumption or opportunity of importance and propose at least one policy prescription.

Your memo should follow the structure of one of NAEI two policy brief series, based on how you wish to frame your answer. The brief should not exceed 1500 words.

Reality Check: Memos in this series explore a particular flaw or shortcoming in current policy, assessing their efficacy, and, where appropriate, proposing alternatives. Reality Check briefs are structured as follows:

  1. What’s the issue?
  2. Why does it matter?
  3. What’s the solution?


Engagement Reframed: This series considers the institutions of US foreign policymaking and implementation, the specific issues and problems it faces, and the ways in which the scaffolding of the international system might be renovated or reengineered. The structure of Engagement Reframed memos is:

  1. What is the opportunity?
  2. Why now?
  3. How to make it happen

Part 2) Using tools at your disposal, develop a multimedia product or prototype you would like to use for an outreach campaign to get your policy ideas into the hands of the wider public, which, as you know, plays a great role in shaping policy. The goal of your multimedia product should be to adapt your ideas in an accessible way to reach your target audience.

This product is not expected to be of professional quality, and you are not expected to incur any expenses to create it. On the contrary, you are expected to capitalize on each team member’s skills and knowledge to produce it. The product you submit should be considered a prototype of what you need to transform into a high-end product with the help of the Council’s media team, should you win the competition.

The deadline to submit your policy brief and media product is March 1, 2022 at 11:59 PM ET. A link to submit the items will be sent to you by email.

Meeting your mentor:

During the second stage of the competition, you will have the opportunity to share a draft of your policy brief and your media product with your mentor. You will meet with them during a 30-minute virtual call and benefit from their advice and an exchange of ideas on how to improve your drafts before final submission.

By now, you have received the name and contact of your mentor by e-mail. It is your responsibility to contact them using the details provided by NAEI. Please keep in mind that your mentor is a very busy professional. We encourage you to contact them early enough to introduce yourselves, inform them of the anticipated date you intend to share your drafts, and subsequently set up a virtual meeting with them and discuss your work. Your mentor expects to meet with you by mid-February to give you ample time to implement their recommendations before submission of the final product on March 1.

Please note that your mentor’s contact information is private and should not be shared outside of your team.

Mentorship videos

The mentorship videos below will provide you with practical tips from Atlantic Council experts in foreign policy, media, and outreach. The videos will be available until March 1, 2022 at 11:59 PM ET.

If you experience any issue viewing the videos, please send an e-mail to: [email protected].

Please note that these videos are confidential and should not be shared outside of your team.

Crafting policy prescriptions that resonate

How to write for policymakers

The role of communications and outreach in public policy

Translating policy ideas into visual/media content

Explore NAEI