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National Peace Essay Contest

United States Institute of Peace


Up to $2,500

awards available




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The National Peace Essay Contest is open to students who are in grades nine through twelve. You must be attending a public, private or parochial school or participate in a high school correspondence program in any of the fifty states, the District of Columbia, or the U.S. Territories. Selection is based on an essay submission addressing the following topic: "Explore a topic that touches upon this important history and sheds light on how vital it is for America to have a robust professional corps focused on diplomacy, development and peace in the national interest. In your essay, you will select a country or region in which the U.S. Foreign Service has been involved in at any point since 1924 and describe — in 1,500 words or less — how the Foreign Service was successful or unsuccessful in advancing American foreign policy goals, including promoting peace, in this country/region and propose ways in which it might continue to improve those goals in the coming years." The winner of the contest receives a $2,500 cash prize, an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. to meet U.S. Department of State and USIP leadership, and a full-tuition paid voyage with Semester at Sea upon the student’s enrollment at an accredited university. The runner-up receives a $1,250 cash prize and a full scholarship to participate in the International Diplomacy Program of the National Student Leadership Conference.

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