Master's Dissertation Prize 2020

Congratulations to Maximilian Hörtnagl (MSc Global Politics, Department of Government) and Lauren Head (MSc Women, Peace and Security, Department of Gender Studies) for their prize-winning dissertations!

The field for the 2020 Master's Dissertation Prize was strong and covering a range of topics within the field of Middle East Studies. We are pleased to award first prize to Hörtnagl's study on the deterrence effects of the International Criminal Courts in Darfur, Sudan. Second prize is awarded to Head’s analysis of the United Nations women, peace and security agenda via engagement with queer theory and a Middle East-focused perspective.

For Maximilian Hörtnagl's prizewinning work, the selection committee remarked: 'This is a highly original, accomplished dissertation on the Darfur investigation of the International Criminal Court (ICC). The judging panel were very impressed by the theoretical framing and systematic use of a mixed methods approach. The findings on the deterrence effect of the ICC have significant academic and policy implications.'

For Lauren Head's dissertation, they commented: 'This is an outstanding dissertation interrogating the United Nations women, peace and security (WPS) agenda from a non-Western (Middle East) perspective and queer theory. With a remarkable level of theoretical sophistication, it unpicks many of the unexamined assumptions of WPS policy and practice. The judging panel felt that the study breaks new ground in the study of violence in (post)conflict settings.'

Launched by the LSE Middle East Centre in 2018, this prize is awarded annually to the most innovative and significant LSE Master’s dissertation focussing on the MENA region.

For all enquiries, please contact Kendall Livingston, Projects Assistant:


Maximilian Hörtnagl | MSc Global Politics

1st Prize: 'Evaluating the International Criminal Court's Performance: An Empirical Study of the Court's Deterrence Effects in Darfur, Sudan'


Lauren Head | MSc Women, Peace and Security

2nd Prize: '(Re)Orienting Women, Peace and Security: Engaging Middle East Perspectives to Queer UNSCR 1325'



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