About the Prize


The Brian M. Keenan Prize will be presented on the merit of an undergraduate paper of at least two-thousand and not more than five-thousand words, on the philosophy of history, law, or social and political philosophy. Special consideration will be given to papers engaging with liberalism as a set of historical practices or conditions.

The award is limited to students who are attending or have recently attended Canadian universities in undergraduate programs. Every year, papers will be accepted from February 1st through May 31st. Applicants must be enrolled in, or recently graduated from, a Canadian Undergraduate program at the time of submission in order to be considered. Applicants cannot be enrolled in a postgraduate program at the time of application.

Applicants must agree to be named publicly on this website as a recipient of the award, agree to have their paper published on this website in the recipients section, and supply an appropriate photograph which will accompany the winner’s paper.

Only one submission per candidate per year is allowed.


The merit of all papers received will be considered by the members of the board on the basis of:

  • clarity of thought

  • insight into the relevance of the surrounding philosophical dialogue

  • appreciation and understanding of philosophy’s tradition

  • and an awareness of the implications of the presented position for possibility of philosophy itself.

Each member of the board of directors will select three papers as a favoured candidates for a short list of five papers. The board will convene to defend their selections and determine, by committee, the final five candidates. These five papers will be presented to Professor Keenan for adjudication and selection of the most compelling and engaging paper. The author of this paper will receive a letter of commendation from the board and professor Keenan, an award certificate, and the monetary prize.

All submissions are adjudicated anonymously. Although submitted with the required personal contact information attached, a third secretarial party is appointed by the board at the close of the application period to randomly assign a numerical value to a paper and censor any names therein. A name is only revealed by crossreference to the numbered paper once it has been selected by Brian Keenan as the prizewinner.


The Brian M. Keenan Prize is committed to public accountability and transparency with any and all aspects of its operation. This includes, but is not limited to the management of monetary funds, issues of privacy and the process of selection.

Monetary Management: Donations and Spending

Awarded to the author of the selected paper, the monetary portion of the prize, in the amount of $1,500 CAD each year, is contributed by the members of the board in equal parts. The award is issued to its recipient as unrestricted cash in Canadian currency. All additional donations will go toward the establishment and growth of an endowment fund with the Winnipeg Foundation. The interest accumulated by this fund is intended to replace the annual disbursement contributed by the board. Until this interest reaches the amount of the board-donated prize, it will be reinvested in to the endowment.

No donations toward the endowment are used for any administrative costs. No monies are at any time handled by any member of the board except when being transferred as cash donations to be deposited toward the endowment fund.

All donations are made out to the Winnipeg Foundation referencing the Brian M. Keenan Prize as the recipient. Tax receipts are available for any donation made over $1 CAD. For more information on the Winnipeg Foundation and their policies, please visit The Winnipeg Foundation online.

Annually, a detailed report of spending will be published of the balance between donations and endowment fund, interest and administrative costs paid for by the board. The intent of every policy outlined here is to be, at core, entirely transparent of any and all costs incurred and dispensed by the Brian M. Keenan Prize.

Privacy : Recipient and Donor Privacy

By submitting a paper for consideration of the Brian M. Keenan Prize the author grants permission for it to be published and readily available to access from the ‘Recipients’ section of this website should it be chosen the winner. Award recipient’s papers hosted on The Dr. Brian M. Keenan Prize website will be provided for access under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 2.5 Canada License; which permits copy, distribution or adaption of the work by second parties provided it is not attributed by the borrower or licensor in such a way that suggests that the author endorses that adapted work.

As a Donor you are granting permission for the publication of your name and the amount donated to be made public in the “Donors” section of this website unless otherwise indicated as an anonymous donation.

No accounting information is either held or processed by the Brian M. Keenan Prize directly, all accounting information (i.e. credit card numbers, bank account information, etc.) is directly processed through the Winnipeg Foundation.