Ideas to Action:

Independent research for global prosperity


Views from the Center


You can probably recall the moment when you caught the ‘global development bug.’ CGD president Nancy Birdsall has talked about an eighth grade report on Africa, and Todd Moss has said it was when he studied in Zimbabwe. As an avid New York Times reader, my moment was Nicholas Kristof’s coverage of Darfur in 2004. I was intrigued by Nick’s ability to make the complicated and tragic events taking place in a country so far away – and a culture so far removed from my own – understandable and relevant. Now, after a decade of following Nick’s column, and in an exciting turn of events for me personally, my colleagues and I will help Nick choose the winner of his 2015 “Win-a-Trip” contest.

On Sunday, Nick kicked off his annual contest to select a student to take on a reporting trip to the developing world (possibilities this year include Congo, India, and Nepal). And for the fifth year in a row, CGD is thrilled to help Nick vet and narrow down the applicants to a short list of finalists, from which Nick will select the winner. 

So, what’s Nick looking for in this year’s winner?  In his own words, the winner will be “a smart undergraduate or graduate student with great storytelling skills who wants to help shine a light on neglected issues.” One goal of the trip is for the winner to inspire other students to become interested in development issues through blogs and videos that will be posted on the New York Times website.

But, Nick warns, this opportunity is not for someone who is easily frightened by bedbugs or warlords: “We will be bouncing over awful roads, we’ll be eating wretched food, and you may well get sick. Hotel rooms may come complete with bedbugs and rats. And we’ll be on the go from dawn to dusk.” (If you want to see what you’re getting yourself in for, watch Nick’s interview with 2014 winner Nicole Sganga or check out Reporter, an HBO documentary based on Nick’s 2007 Win-a-Trip journey to Congo.)

Interested applicants can apply by submitting their 700-word essay and/or 3-minute video here. Submissions should explain why Nick should pick you – not gush about his writing (although I hope he forgives me for doing so above!). Nick’s looking for a great communicator, so be sure to mention if you blog or have video experience, and share links where possible.

Apply here

The application deadline is midnight (Eastern Time) on January 7, 2015. To be considered you must be a resident in the United States, a student at an American university, and available to travel with Nick in spring 2015. All applicants are encouraged to review the full contest rules here.

Best of luck to all the applicants!


CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD does not take institutional positions.