Inamori International Military Ethics Thesis Prize

2020 Prize Winners

1st Place: Kevin Cutright, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army

                  Empathy and Jus in bello, Saint Louis University

2nd Place: Joseph O. Chapa, Major, United States Air Force

                  Just War Traditions and Revisions, Magdalen College, Oxford

2019 Prize Winners

1st Place: Hunter Cantrell, CPT, LG - Instructor Department of English and Philosophy, United States Military Academy

                  Arguments for Banning Autonomous Weapon Systems: A Critique, Georgia State University

2nd Place: J. Davis Winkie

                 Thin Red Lines: Early Cold War Military Censorship of Hollywood War Movies, University of North Carolina at Chapel

2020 Prize: Call for Papers 


In 2018, the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) established an annual prize for the best thesis in military ethics, inspired by and complementary to a similar prize offered by the esteemed Euro-ISME (International Society for Military Ethics, European Chapter) organization.  

The aims of the prize are:

  • to promote active involvement in the study and application of military ethics, including Just War Theory; the Conduct of War; the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC); International Humanitarian Law (IHL); and other related fields that include the study of human rights issues in the context of armed conflict;

  • to promote engagement with the CWRU master’s degree program in military ethics and participation at Euro-ISME annual conferences; and 

  • to publish the winning theses, in print and online in multiple languages, to foster global discussion of pressing issues in military ethics.

Two winners will be chosen each year. Both will have the opportunity to give a presentation on their winning thesis at the annual Euro-ISME conference in Europe. The first place winner will receive $2,000 in travel funding from the Inamori Center to attend the conference and a $500 prize. The second place winner will receive a $250 prize. In order to improve the accessibility of the field of military ethics in languages other than English, the Inamori Center will publish the first place winning thesis in at least two non-English languages.  

Applications are encouraged from:

Non-European students, either military or civilian, in a graduate or professional-level program (including law or medical students, etc.) studying for their degree at any accredited college or university or military service academy or war college (or similar). European students are not eligible, but are strongly encouraged to submit to the annual Euro-ISME Thesis Prize.

 Requirements for Thesis:

  • Submissions should be a single document in PDF format in English and a minimum of 7,000 words and a maximum of 12,500 words (approximately 25-50 pages, double-spaced). To submit in a language other than English, please contact Beth Trecasa, Associate Director, Inamori Center, at

  • Each submission must contain:

    • author name, contact information, and, if applicable, rank and branch of the military;

    • contact information of the higher education or military institution for which the thesis was written; and

    • a statement on the year when the thesis was successfully completed.

  • Only theses written at the level of a master’s degree, equivalent, or higher are eligible. The thesis submitted must have been written for a graduate or professional-level program either in the current academic year (2019-20) or during one of the three previous academic years (2016-17 through 2018-19). Older theses will not be considered.

  • A submission on any topic of ethical concern to the military will be considered, including but not limited to military ethics, war studies, security studies, cyber warfare, military history, and other corollary topics. There must be a strong ethical theme/argument in the thesis for it to be considered for the prizes.

Deadline for Submission:

January 27, 2020 

Contact Email:

(ATTN: Beth Trecasa, Associate Director, Inamori Center) 

The Jury

The jury will consist of external experts from the fields of military ethics, philosophy, law, and history, offering a combination of field experience (the practitioner’s perspective) and the academia (the theoretical perspective). The chair of the jury will be Prof. Shannon E. French, who is the Inamori Professor in Ethics; Director of the Inamori Center; and Director of the CWRU master’s degree program in military ethics

The first prize consists of:

  • the opportunity to present on the thesis at Euro-ISME’s annual conference (Berlin, Germany, May 17-20, 2020);

  • reasonable travel and hotel costs to attend Euro-ISME’s annual conference, up to $2,000 USD*;

  • prize money of $500 USD;

  • the opportunity to publish the thesis; and

  • a commemorative award.

The second prize consists of:

  • the opportunity to present on the thesis at Euro-ISME’s annual conference (Berlin, Germany, May 17-20, 2020)*;

  • prize money of $250 USD; 

  • the opportunity to publish the thesis; and

  • a commemorative award.


* In the event that the first place winner cannot attend the 2020 Euro-ISME conference, the Inamori Center reserves the right to offer their travel funding to the second place winner. In which case, the first place winner will still receive their $500 in prize money.