June 7, 2023

UMW Student Wins Naval Academy Essay Award

University of Mary Washington senior Christian Perkins won the Naval Academy Foreign Affairs essay competition, presented at the organization’s 55th annual conference that took place in Annapolis, Maryland in April.   Senior Christian Perkins The essay, “Conflict and Water Scarcity,” was recognized out of more than 150 delegates’ papers representing universities from around the world. This is the seventh time that a political science or international affairs major from UMW has won the competition, and UMW is the first university worldwide to achieve this distinction, according to Jack Kramer, chair of the Department of Political Science and International Relations. “The Naval Academy Foreign Affairs Conference brings together many of the ‘best and brightest’ students to examine pressing contemporaneous issues in international relations,” said Kramer. “For Christian to win the highly competitive essay contest is a singularly prestigious honor both for Christian himself and the UMW academic community.” Reflecting the conference’s theme of sustainability in a resource-restrained world, Perkins’ essay explores how water scarcity exacerbates conflict in states and regions experiencing extreme drought. “I began looking at this issue of water scarcity and realized it was a growing global problem,” said Perkins. “It has received relatively little attention until recently.” The senior looked to experts on water scarcity, including Thomas Homer Dixon, for information to support his research. He also explored data from the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the United States Agency for International Development. “Water scarcity is not particularly likely to cause wars,” said Perkins. “But it will worsen existing internal conflicts. A country is going to have a harder time suppressing a revolution if its people are dying of thirst.” The political science major will graduate this May with experience as a media intern for the U.S. Senate Democratic Caucus and plans to pursue a career in education, law enforcement or government work.