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Centre for Army Leadership

Essay Competition 2024

About the competition

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The deadline has now passed. Results will be announced in due course.

The Centre for Army Leadership and The National Army Museum are proud to announce the theme of the 2024 CAL-NAM Essay Prize competition:

Unsung Army Leaders

From famous battlefield commanders to junior cadets, anyone can be a leader. Who are those leaders who have been overlooked, misunderstood, or forgotten? What was their contribution to leadership, whether in action or through their ideas? What made them stand out? And why should we remember them today?

We would like authors to think creatively about what it means to be a leader and to consider all ranks and roles, including reservists, cadets, nurses, coaches, padres, and anybody who contributes to life in the Army. We welcome essays that explore the history of Unsung Leaders in connection to Britain’s armies, including the Indian Army and other land forces serving under the Crown. Authors are encouraged to look back through history and to consider any Unsung Army Leader since the British Civil Wars.

Be creative and unique! We want challenging, fresh thinking. We look for new perspectives and innovative ideas.

Prize Giving Event - 13 June 2024

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Winners will be presented with their certificate at a ceremony at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst on Thursday, 13 June 2024.

Winners may be offered the opportunity to publish their work as an article in the NAM Muster magazine, as a CAL Research Paper or a CAL Leadership Insight.   

CAL-NAM Essay Prize 2024 – Senior Category

  • This category is open to young writers above the age of 22.  
  • Essays should be no longer than 3,000 words, excluding notes and bibliography.  
  • Essays that exceed the word limit will not be accepted.      

CAL-NAM Essay Prize 2024 - Junior Category

  • This category is open to young writers between the age of 16 and 21.  
  • Essays must not be longer than 2,000 words, excluding notes and bibliography.  
  • Essays that exceed the word limit will not be accepted.  

Deadline: Friday, 22 March 2024 at 23:59 (BST). Late entries will not be accepted. 

See our FAQ page for the competition.

2023 winners

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The theme for 2023 was ‘Leadership and Emotional Intelligence’

The competition was open to military, reservists, and civilians based in the UK and abroad. It included a junior category for young writers between the age of 16 and 21. The call for submissions specifically asked for original and innovative perspectives that could support the continuous development of British Army Leadership and that could bring insights from other sectors and disciplines.

The response surpassed the most optimistic expectations of the organisers, with more than a hundred essays received from around the world.

The Centre for Army Leadership (CAL) and the National Army Museum (NAM) proudly announce the winners of the Leadership Essay Prize 2023.

Senior Category

  • Winner - Major Alex Paske, Courageous Conversations: An Essential Leadership Tool. A former elite athlete and a commissioned officer, Major Paske is currently employed within the Army Diversity and Inclusion Team.
  • Runner Up - Andrew Fox, Leadership and Emotional Intelligence: The How to the What and the Why. Andrew is a retired Army officer and currently Senior Lecturer in Communications and Applied Behavioural Science at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

Junior Category

  • Winner - Joshua Ralph, Emotional Intelligence within Leadership. Joshua is in his second year studying Economics at the University of Southampton. He is in the Southampton University Officers' Training Corps and is a first-year Officer Cadet.
  • Runner Up - Thomas Boyd, What Modern Leaders can Learn from Lieutenant General Hal Moore’s Human Leadership: Emotional Intelligence and Leadership by Example. Thomas is 17 years old and studying History, Philosophy and Business for his A Levels at King's College Taunton. He is in the Royal Marines Cadets.

Read the 2023 winning essays

Leadership Essays 2023

Competition prize giving at the National Army Museum