The Camden Conference has chosen the winner of the annual Bill Taylor Award for the college/university level essay contest. University of Maine undergraduate student Santiago Tijerina of Old Town, has been awarded the prize for his essay, “Climate Justice – The Center of Geopolitical Debates in the Arctic.”

The topic of the essay was taken from the 2021 Camden Conference, The Geopolitics of the Arctic: A Region in Peril. The readers of the essay, members of the education committee, found Tijerina’s essay “strong and informative.” They also found his description of “changes in Indigenous peoples livelihoods brought about by changing climate conditions and outsider interventions” to be “good development for discussing the solutions proposed by Conference presenters and other cited organizational activists.”

A first-generation Colombian American, Tijerina has been interested in global issues for a long time. He participated in the Camden Conference for a number of years, first as a volunteer, then as a participant in our student programming through the University of Maine. He is an international affairs student in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Honors College and has been recently awarded a Killam Fellowship to study international economics in Canada this fall. He plans to attend the University of Alberta in Edmonton from August to December and take four international economics courses, all taught in French.

The Bill Taylor Award was created by its namesake in 2015 to promote student research. Taylor was a long-time Camden Conference supporter with a strong interest in education. The education programs of the Camden Conference are designed to promote knowledge, perspectives, and dialogue opportunities on world affairs with high school and college educators and their students. Several Maine high schools and colleges offer academic courses based on the annual conference topic. Twenty percent of the nearly 1,200 conference attendees are high school and college students who receive Camden Conference scholarship funding to defray their registration cost. The students who enter the essay contest do not have to be enrolled in a Camden Conference course, but they do have to attend the conference.

The conference congratulates the winner and thanks all the students who participated! The winning essays are posted on our website: For more information, visit, email, or call 236-1034.
The mission of the Camden Conference is to foster informed discourse on world issues.