Call for Nominations: Michael Baptista Essay Prizes 2015


The Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean (CERLAC) is calling for nominations for the 2015 Michael Baptista Essay Prizes.

The Michael Baptista Essay Prizes recognize annually, at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, an outstanding scholarly essay of relevance to the area of Latin American and Caribbean Studies at York University from a humanities, social science, business or legal perspective.

The friends of Michael Baptista and the Royal Bank of Canada, where he was a senior vice-president until his untimely death, fund the prizes to celebrate his spirit and success, the importance to him of his Guyanese roots, his outstanding achievements at the Royal Bank and his drive & love of learning.

If you are a York faculty member who graded an exceptionally accomplished piece of student work (at the graduate or the undergraduate level) of relevance to these regions this past academic year, we encourage you to nominate the essay in question.

The prize includes a monetary component of $500 per awardee.  Winning essays will be featured on CERLAC’s website.

The essays may be from a full or half course during the 2014-2015 academic year, or a summer 2014 course. Major research papers at the graduate level may also be nominated. Submissions should be no longer than 35 double-spaced pages (exclusive of bibliography). Deadline extensions are available in instances where significant re-writing is required to shorten the work to within that limit.

Request a nomination form from CERLAC at or download the Baptista Prize Nomination form.

Submit the nominated paper and accompanying form to CERLAC no later than June 15, 2015. Both can be submitted electronically via e-mail to Hard copies are not required, but can be sent to: CERLAC, 8th Floor, Office 825, York Research Tower.

PLEASE NOTE: ONLY FACULTY MEMBERS CAN NOMINATE A PAPER. Students may not self-nominate. Nonetheless, we encourage students who have received top grades and high praise on their papers to bring the existence of this prize to the attention of their instructors, so that they might nominate the paper if they so choose. A student may have only one essay entered into the competition in any given year (if more than one is nominated, the student will be asked to choose which is to be entered into the competition). Faculty members may nominate no more than one paper per level of study (max. two overall) in any given year. For the purposes of this award, an “undergraduate student” is a student enrolled in an undergraduate program who has received no prior post-secondary degree.

The papers submitted will be reviewed by two to three faculty readers with research interests in Latin America and the Caribbean. Both the prize winners and the nominating faculty members will be advised of the decision approximately by the end of October 2015.

For more information about the essay prize, visit the CERLAC website.

Past Baptista prize-winning essays: can also be found on the CERLAC website.

For questions, contact CERLAC at 416-736-5237 or