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  • Writer's pictureMeghann Ormond

2019 Expatriate Archive Centre Thesis Award: 'What is an expatriate? Reality vs stereotypes'

Updated: Mar 11, 2019

Award objectives

The Expatriate Archive Centre (EAC) is keen to celebrate and reward talents who produce outstanding master’s theses that help to further understand the impact of expatriation on people’s lives. For this reason, starting in 2019, the EAC is initiating a Master’s Thesis Award.

The term ‘expatriate’ can be used to distinguish temporary migrants from more settled migrants. Yet the term ‘expatriate’ has long been heavily loaded with classist and racist connotations. Why is it, for example, that a Canadian retiree wintering in Mexico is routinely more readily described in common parlance as an ‘expat’ than a Filipina domestic worker on a temporary contract in Singapore, even though both are temporary migrants?

The EAC endeavours to shift and expand understandings of what an ‘expatriate’ is. The EAC gathers material that reflects the lived experiences of people with any nationality or socio-economic background who live temporarily in a country other than (what they understand is) their home country. The following list is not exhaustive, but it gives an idea of the different types of expatriates from which the EAC collects material:

• Business: employees of international or local businesses;

• Economic: workers in search of temporary work;

• Diplomatic: embassy and consular staff;

• Intergovernmental: employees of the UN and other international organisations;

• Academic: researchers or lecturers on an exchange programme or research assignment or international students;

• Non-profit/NGO: people working in non-governmental, non-profit, and charitable organisations;

• Religious: missionaries and workers in religious associations;

• Sport: athletes assigned to clubs and/or teaching/coaching;

• Cultural: artists, musicians, etc.;

• Military: on missions or stationed;

• Expatriate spouses, partners and children accompanying any of the above;

• Repatriates and returnees.

For this reason, the EAC has chosen as its inaugural EAC Thesis Award topic: “What is an expatriate? Reality vs stereotypes.” The EAC invites master’s students from around the world to engage with this question in their thesis projects and to submit their thesis for award consideration.

About the Expatriate Archive Centre (EAC)

Expatriates as a group tend to ‘fall through the cracks’ when it comes to being represented in official government archives, as well as in global migration studies. The EAC collects and preserves the life stories of expatriates worldwide for research purposes. Located in The Hague, the EAC is a unique, non-profit, independent archive based in the Netherlands, with global outreach. It curates and preserves unique source material documenting the experiences of expatriates of all nationalities and backgrounds, with the objective of giving the life stories of expatriates their rightful place in global migration studies.

The EAC’s collection may be of use to those who are researching social history, psychology, genealogy, the social and/or emotional impacts of expatriate life, the cultural or political changes of specific places or countries over the years, and much more. Its collection comprises diaries and journals, correspondence, articles and essays, photos and scrapbooks, blogs and websites, audio and video files, tickets and invitations, as well as other documents describing expatriate life. The material comes from over 130 family archives dating back to the late 19th century and in nearly 20 different languages, represents 14 different nationalities and encompasses experiences in over 80 countries.

For more information, please visit

Basic principles

· The EAC thesis competition is an annual event;

· The first-place winner of the EAC thesis award receives €500. In addition, the winning submission is promoted by the EAC and its initiative’s partner organisations;

· Each year the EAC and the chairperson of the jury will choose a specific topic for the competition. This topic will always relate to expatriation and its impact on people’s lives;

· There are five jury members: two permanent and three guest jurors. Guest jurors are experts on the chosen competition topic and are selected by the EAC and the chairperson of the jury.


· Thesis competition promotion starts every year in March;

· Application submission deadline is 30 September of each year;

· The EAC will administer and acknowledge receipt of each application;

· The first selection is made by a designated project assistant to ensure that all competition criteria are met;

· Qualifying applications are sent to the jury for evaluation by 15 October of each year;

· The jury submits the reviews to the EAC by 15 December of each year;

· The EAC announces the winner on 15 January of the next year, followed by the promotion of the first-place thesis.

Criteria for participation

· The thesis should relate to the year’s announced topic;

· The thesis is no more than one year old as at 30 September and is written in English;

· The thesis has been awarded a mark of 8/10 or more (or equivalent);

· The thesis assessment criteria are the responsibility of the master’s programmes themselves.

Application timeline and requirements

· The deadline for application submissions is 30 September of each year;

· All requested documents must be emailed to the EAC at;

· Candidates must submit the following documents in digital (PDF) format:

- an application form (see template here – [link forthcoming]);

- a written nomination (500 words max.) by the candidate’s master’s thesis supervisor, explicitly addressing how the master’s thesis meets the EAC Thesis Award requirements and assessment criteria;

- an executive summary written by the student (750 words max.) that includes how the thesis addresses the year’s competition topic, identifies the thesis’s potential scholarly contributions and practical applications, and highlights what sets the thesis apart from existing studies;

- the master’s thesis itself.

· The winner is announced on 15 January of the following year.


· The copyrights of the thesis and thesis executive summary remain with the authors of the thesis and the thesis executive summary;

· The involved organisations are permitted to feature the entered theses and summaries under the condition that the authors are mentioned. The involved organisations are not allowed to financially profit from the featuring of the theses;

· The authors of the top five thesis applications each year consent to the EAC keeping a (digital) copy of their thesis to be added to the EAC library;

· The author(s) of the thesis protects the involved organisations of all claims on violation of copyrights by third parties.


· An independent jury assesses the nominated theses and decides on the winner;

· The jury assesses the theses, executive summaries and supervisors’ nominations based on predefined criteria which are known beforehand to all participating students (see award assessment rubric below);

· There are five jury members: two permanent and three guest jurors. Guest jurors are experts on the chosen competition topic and are selected by the EAC and the permanent jury members;

· The jury has the right to not award the prizes if they judge the level and quality of the nominated theses in a specific year to be too low.


· The winner of the thesis award will receive €500, the executive summary of the thesis will be published online by the EAC and organisations involved in this project. These organisations include the International Metropolis Project, TheHagueOnLine, ACCESS,, and more are to come.

· The executive summaries of the first-, second- and third-place thesis applications will be published on the EAC website and promoted via social media channels.

Any other rules

· For all other cases not described in this document, the EAC and the jury chairperson will decide;

· There will not be any correspondence about decisions reached by the jury.

Award assessment rubric

See the EAC thesis prize webpage for further details.

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