Omar Azfar Contest

Omar Azfar Contest

The Annual Omar Azfar Essay on Economics and Corruption Contest

Prize: $1,000
Deadline: May 17, 2022
Eligibility: John Jay College Undergraduate Students
What to submit: An essay not more than 3000 words on “Economics and Corruption” – broadly defined
Contest adviser: Professor Christian Parenti,

Picture of Omar Azfar, Ph.D.Omar Azfar, Ph.D., was an economist, scholar, and governance expert focusing on the economics of crime and corruption. He became an associate professor in the economics department at John Jay College in August 2006, soon becoming part of CUNY’s Graduate Center.  Omar completed his undergraduate degree at Oxford University in England, earning his Ph.D. in economics from Columbia University.  Prior to joining John Jay College, Omar was at the IRIS Center at the University of Maryland, researching and publishing in several areas of economics. In May 2007 Omar was diagnosed with bone cancer, passing away on January 21, 2009. 

Omar was a valued and trusted and colleague of so many of us, inside and outside of academia. Though his expertise lay in the economics of crime and corruption, he was a great lover of people and their potential for improving the world. With the support of Omar’s family, the economics department is pleased to continue the Annual Omar Azfar Award for Best Writing on Economics and Justice. The contest is open to all John Jay undergraduate students. The annual award of $1,000 will be earned by the student preparing the best paper on “Economics and Corruption” as determined by a committee designated by the Economics Department in consultation with Omar’s family.

For the purpose of this contest “Economics and Corruption” is broadly defined as unethical, immoral, or illegal practices that damage the economy and society. Examples include: bribery, self-dealing, embezzlement, cronyism, money laundering, financial crimes, abuse of workers, destructive environmental practices, denial of basic human rights, and abuse of authority in law enforcement. Papers should not exceed 3,000 words (approximately 15 pages in length) and are due May 17, 2022. See the full contest rules on the next page. Students are encouraged to submit versions of term papers from their courses at John Jay College; including papers from previous semesters. 

Rules of the Omar Azfar Essay on Economics and Corruption Contest 2020
  1. Manuscripts are due May 17, 2022.
  2. Successful papers will demonstrate how economics can be used to illuminate real world problems of corruption, broadly defined. 
  3. Eligibility for the $1,000.00 prize is restricted to current John Jay College undergraduate students. Submissions may be jointly authored with the prize shared pro rata. 
  4. Email your manuscript to Rita Taveras ( as an MS Word attachment. Please submit a brief bio of yourself with the manuscript. 
  5. Your manuscript should be approximately 3,000 words. Manuscripts should be double-spaced; blocks of quoted material should be single-spaced. The preferred font is Times New Roman 12 point. 
  6. Use APA or any other commonly accepted style for citations. Please note that the college policy on academic integrity and plagiarism applies to this contest. All manuscripts will be screened by or an equivalent plagiarism detection programs. * 
  7. If your manuscript is selected, you may be asked to edit your manuscript before publication. 
  8. The Review Committee of the Annual Omar Azfar Award, composed of three Professors in the Economics Department, reserves the right of final and exclusive approval of all manuscripts that will be selected both for the annual $1,000.00 prize and for later published compilations. The exercise of these rights is not reviewable or appealable within the Department, College, or University. ** 

Please send any questions to Professor Christian Parenti at

* Plagiarism is the act of presenting another person’s ideas, research or writings as your own. The following are some examples of plagiarism, but by no means is it an exhaustive list:

  • Copying another person’s actual words without the use of quotation marks and footnotes attributing the words to their source
  • Presenting another person’s ideas or theories in your own words without acknowledging the source
  • Using information that is not common knowledge without acknowledging the sources
  • Failing to acknowledge collaborators on homework and laboratory assignments
  • Internet plagiarism includes submitting downloaded term papers or parts of term papers, paraphrasing or copying information from the Internet without citing the source, and “cutting and pasting” from various sources without proper attribution.

From The John Jay College of Criminal Justice Undergraduate 2021-2022 Bulletin

** By entering the contest, each contestant agrees to grant to the John Jay College Foundation and authorized representatives of the Azfar family a non-exclusive, worldwide, perpetual, royalty-free license to copy, distribute, perform, display, and otherwise use the contestant's manuscript, in whole or in part, in any media, including but not limited to compiling the manuscript with other winning contest manuscripts and offering such compilation for sale.

Award-winning papers