David Epstein of Pikesville, Maryland, wins 2001-2002 contest.

WASHINGTON--David Epstein, a junior at Pikesville High School in Pikesville, Maryland., has won the 2001–2002 National Peace Essay Contest, the U.S. Institute of Peace announced today.

David's essay, entitled "Safeguarding Human Rights and Preventing Conflict through U.S. Peacekeeping," was judged to be the best of more than 1,200 entries received from high school students in 48 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories and overseas schools.

As the national winner, David will receive $10,000 in scholarship money from the U.S. Institute of Peace. The second- and third-place winners, who will receive $5,000 and $2,500 respectively, are Prabhu Balasubramanian of Winter Park High School in Winter Park, Florida, and Peter Christodoulou of Stuyvesant High School in New York, New York.

The Institute has sponsored the contest annually since 1986 in the belief that expanding the study of peace, justice, freedom and security is vital to civic education. This year, entrants were asked to write essays of 1,500 words or fewer on the U.S. military's role in international peacekeeping.

Mora McLean, a member of the Institute's Board of Directors and a member of the panel that judged the contest, said David "did the best at citing a wide array of examples–historic and current–of some tough decisions that the U.S. has had to make."

David researched and wrote his essay with the guidance of Martr Hotz, Pikesville High School's essay contest coordinator.

As for all the 1,200-plus submissions, the judges were "heartened that young people could produce essays of such high quality," said McLean, President of the Africa-America Institute in New York.

David has just completed his junior year at Pikesville. He is President of the Science Club, a member of the "It's Academic" TV team, the National Honor Society, and the Model United Nations club. David has spent many hours giving volunteer lectures at inner city middle schools in Baltimore, discussing the dangers of drug abuse. The lecture series evolved after David spent a summer at the Maryland Medical Examiner's Office. In addition to being interested in science and medicine, David enjoys learning about international relations and political science.

"The challenges of making a durable peace in today's violent international conflicts are some of the most complicated foreign policy problems facing the U.S. today," said Pamela Aall, Director of the Institute's Education Program. "Through the essay contest, students not only analyze what these challenges are, but they also design policies that can help."

2001-2002 NPEC National Winners

Photo of David EpsteinMaryland

Mr. David Epstein

"Safeguarding Human Rights and Preventing Conflict through U.S. Peacekeeping"

Pikesville High School
Baltimore, MD

Coordinator: Mr. Martr Hotz

Photo of Prabhu BalasubramanianFlorida

Mr. Prabhu Balasubramanian

"American Peacekeeping: Duty or Folly? Winter Park High School"

Winter Park, FL

Coordinator: Mr. Steven DeZwart

Photo of Peter ChristodoulouNew York

Mr. Peter Christodoulou

"The Proper Role of the U.S. Military in International Peacekeeping Operations"

Stuyvesant High School
New York, NY

Coordinator: Ms. Jennifer Suri


The United States Institute of Peace is an independent, nonpartisan institution established and funded by Congress. Its goals are to help prevent and resolve violent international conflicts, promote post-conflict stability and development, and increase conflict management capacity, tools, and intellectual capital worldwide. The Institute does this by empowering others with knowledge, skills, and resources, as well as by directly engaging in peacebuilding efforts around the globe.

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