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Young scholars from around the world demand: CEOs, enter the political arena!

Together with our partners, we created the CPR Essay Prize to give young people the opportunity to engage creatively with CPR and perhaps gain some fresh perspectives on how the concept could be developed in the future. We specifically invited submissions from around the world to see how the relationship between business and politics is viewed internationally. 

We received submissions from three continents, reflecting a wide range of perspectives and innovative ideas. As we delved into the essays, several compelling themes emerged. 

We would like to thank our corporate sponsors, Evonik and Erste Group, whose generous support made this competition possible. Their commitment to promoting CPR reflects a shared vision of responsible corporate citizenship. 

The deliberations of our panel of judges, comprising experts from academia and industry, brought interdisciplinary depth and rigor to the evaluation process.  

In a virtual ceremony, they announced Evianne van Dijk, an undergraduate student at Erasmus University Rotterdam, as the winner. She made a clear call: "Companies should use virtual platforms, apps and storytelling formats" to make their actions in a complex political environment understandable to their target groups. In this way, political education can be made interactive and entertaining through gamification. She received a prize of €1000. Elisabeth Doty of the Erb Institute at the University of Michigan complimented van Dijk's reflection on the dilemmas of CPR, while also highlighting the opportunities it presents.

Runner-up John Severini of Georgetown University predicted that, in the face of geopolitical fragmentation, companies will compete not only economically but also on political values. He described the ideal CEO as "a cross between Otto von Bismarck and Bill Gates". He was awarded €750 by Timo Meynhardt of HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Managemewho praised Severini's argument that digitalization is forcing CEOs to take a political stance. 

Third place went to Thimo Rohlfes from the University of Vienna. He advocated for the creation of dedicated CPR departments within companies, emphasizing: "The CEO of the future must support the company's reputation with liberal values." He received a €500 prize, presented by Lutz-Peter Hennies on behalf of juror Ludger Heidbrink (Kiel University). He praised Rohlfes' practical recommendations for companies, derived from a comprehensive theoretical CPR framework. 

We congratulate our three winners on their success and would like to thank everyone involved in this project! 

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