Student Competitions and Conferences

Please check out the following forums, competitions, video and essay contests and more. Most of these opportunities are free to apply/enter for U.S. high school students (and some are open to middle school and undergraduates). See listed websites for more details. For additional resources just for students, please click here.

 

Elementary School

ACTFL Video Contest

K - 20 students across the country, are encouraged to submit videos on how language learning has been important in their lives. The videos will be judged for originality and creativity by a celebrity panel of judges and cash and product prizes will be awarded to the students who produce the winning videos. The contest theme is 'Discover Languages..Discover the World!'. The submission deadline is December 20.

Learn More.

Christopher Columbus Awards

A community based science and technology competition for middle school students provides hands-on experience with real-world problems. Deadline: February 6.

Learn more.

GEMUN — Global Elementary Model United Nations

Global Elementary Model United Nations, or GEMUN, is an exciting opportunity for Dallas/Fort Worth elementary and middle school students to role-play as the assemblies of the United Nations. GEMUN is an excellent hands-on approach to learning in a global context. By role-playing delegates to the United Nations, young people from varied backgrounds learn about other countries, cultures and international relationships, while developing a global perspective on real issues confronting the world community today, and acquiring many transferable skills. During the school year, elementary and middle school students and their sponsors receive help through workshops and printed materials. This preparation will culminate in a two-day Model United Nations session.

Learn more.

Geography Awareness Week

Geography Awareness Week will be hosted by the National Geographic Society from November 17-23, 2013. More information about entering the poster contest is here:

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Middle School

2012 National STEM Video Game Challenge

For middle and high school students - almost $200K in cash and prizes. Deadline: March 12.

Learn more.

ACTFL Video Contest

K - 20 students across the country, are encouraged to submit videos on how language learning has been important in their lives. The videos will be judged for originality and creativity by a celebrity panel of judges and cash and product prizes will be awarded to the students who produce the winning videos. The contest theme is 'Discover Languages..Discover the World!'. The submission deadline is December 20.

Learn more.

Bill of Rights Institute Contests

The Bill of Rights Institute offers students ways to engage in deeper study of American history and political ideas. The Being an American Essay Contest challenges high school students to reflect on the civic values important to good citizenship. Click here to find out how to participate.

Christopher Columbus Awards

A community based science and technology competition for middle school students provides hands-on experience with real-world problems. Deadline: February 6.

Learn more.

Doors to Diplomacy

The Department of State and the Global SchoolNet Foundation announce the "Doors to Diplomacy" award competition, recognizing the student-created Global SchoolNet Web projects that best teach others about the importance of international affairs and diplomacy. To qualify, middle school and high school students will work in small teams with teacher-coaches. There are four components to the Doors to Diplomacy challenge: a collaborative web project, a project narrative, the peer review process, and awards. Every team that enters a project will receive a special "Doors to Diplomacy" certificate recognizing their achievement. Each student member of the two winning teams — one American and one international — will also receive a $2,000 scholarship, and the winning coaches' schools will each receive a $500 cash award.

Learn more.

GEMUN — Global Elementary Model United Nations

Global Elementary Model United Nations, or GEMUN, is an exciting opportunity for Dallas/Fort Worth elementary and middle school students to role-play as the assemblies of the United Nations. GEMUN is an excellent hands-on approach to learning in a global context. By role-playing delegates to the United Nations, young people from varied backgrounds learn about other countries, cultures and international relationships, while developing a global perspective on real issues confronting the world community today, and acquiring many transferable skills. During the school year, elementary and middle school students and their sponsors receive help through workshops and printed materials. This preparation will culminate in a two-day Model United Nations session.

Learn more.

Global Junior Challenge

The Global Junior Challenge is a world-wide competition launched by the City of Rome to award prizes to the best projects using new technologies for education training purposes of youth up to the age of 29. Their webpage has a service to find new partners for your project.

Learn more.

National World War II Museum Essay and Arts Contests

The National World War II Museum of New Orleans offers opportunities for both middle school and high school students to get involved. For the art contest, students from grades 5-8 are asked to create artwork based on annual topics featuring realistic depictions or an abstract representation that are rooted in World War II history. For the essay contest, high school students are asked to write 1,000 word essays on annual topics that relate to World War II and today. For more information and contest rules, please click here. Both contests feature cash and other prizes for the winners and have first-come, first-serve entry limits. Topics will be announced on the National World War II Museum website.

Learn more.

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

Registration is now open for this national contest encouraging students in grade 7 - 12 to create projects on social change.

Learn more

High School

ACTFL Video Contest

K - 20 students across the country, are encouraged to submit videos on how language learning has been important in their lives. The videos will be judged for originality and creativity by a celebrity panel of judges and cash and product prizes will be awarded to the students who produce the winning videos. The contest theme is 'Discover Languages..Discover the World!'. The submission deadline is December 20.

Learn more.

American Foreign Service Association High School Essay Contest

This contest, in its tenth year, is part of the AFSA's goal to help you and other young Americans better understand how the men and women of the Foreign Service serve and defend our critical national interests around the globe, possibly leading many participants to consider international careers in service to our country. Participants are asked to write a 750-1000 word essay on a specific topic; Challenges Facing the American Foreign Service in the 21st Century was the 2010 topic. Please check out the website below for rules, guidelines, deadlines and the upcoming 2014 topic. You could win $2,500 and $500 for your school plus a paid trip to Washington, D.C. for you and your parents and a chance to meet America's top diplomats!

Learn more.

Bill of Rights Institute Contests

The Bill of Rights Institute offers students ways to engage in deeper study of American history and political ideas. The Being an American Essay Contest challenges high school students to reflect on the civic values important to good citizenship. To find out how to participate, Click here. Additionally, the Constitutional Academy is a selective program which allows students to spend a week in Washington D.C. This trip is designed to facilitate discussion of American history and politics through the guidance of councilors and professors from local universities. Click here to learn more.

Doors to Diplomacy

The Department of State and the Global SchoolNet Foundation announce the "Doors to Diplomacy" award competition, recognizing the student-created Global SchoolNet Web projects that best teach others about the importance of international affairs and diplomacy. To qualify, middle school and high school students will work in small teams with teacher-coaches. There are four components to the Doors to Diplomacy challenge: a collaborative web project, a project narrative, the peer review process, and awards. Every team that enters a project will receive a special "Doors to Diplomacy" certificate recognizing their achievement. Each student member of the two winning teams — one American and one international — will also receive a $2,000 scholarship, and the winning coaches' schools will each receive a $500 cash award.

Learn more

Exchanges Connect Annual Video Contest

This video contest, brought to you by the Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, asks students ages 14 or older worldwide to share their perspective using video submissions. As part of the ExchangesConnect international social network site, the four grand prize winners are eligible to receive an all-expense-paid international exchange program. Also, more prizes like Flip Video™ camcorders are awarded throughout the contest. Click here for more information, topics for the next contest, and general rules.

Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas' Economic Essay Contest

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas' Economics Essay Contest challenges students to step outside the box and see economics in the world around them. Students must choose a narrative that illustrates an economic concept and explain it thoroughly to an audience who is not familiar with the lesson. This contest is open to 11th and 12th grade students throughout Texas, northern Louisiana and southern New Mexico and features cash prizes in the form of savings bonds for finalists. The contest’s topic for 2014 is to be announced. For examples of last year’s topic, entry form, and procedure, please click here.

Globe Aware's Youth Scholarship Fund

Globe Aware's Youth Scholarship Fund exists to serve disadvantaged youths who would otherwise have difficulty experiencing our wider world. Recipients have the opportunity to engage in a Globe Aware Program and learn about International Affairs & Development over the course of their summer, culminating with direct exposure through one of Globe Aware's international programs.

Learn more.

International Essay Contest: Making a Difference

The Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs hosts a yearly essay contest for both students and teachers. Prior topics include the importance of sustainability and contemporary ethical dilemmas. For an example of topics and rules, click here.

Learn more.

National Geographic Student Expeditions Scholarship Program

The National Geographic Student Expeditions Scholarship Program provides financial support for students seeking educational summer experiences abroad who could otherwise not afford them.

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National Peace Essay Contest

The U.S. Institute of Peace is holding a national essay contest on the topic of Security Sector Reform, Political Transition, and Sustainable Peace. Contest deadline is February 3rd, 2014. Follow the link for more information and submission guidelines.

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National World War II Museum Essay and Arts Contests

The National World War II Museum of New Orleans offers opportunities for both middle school and high school students to get involved. For the art contest, students from grades 5-8 are asked to create artwork based on annual topics featuring realistic depictions or an abstract representation that are rooted in World War II history. For the essay contest, high school students are asked to write 1,000 word essays on annual topics that relate to World War II and today. Both contests feature cash and other prizes for the winners and have first-come, first-serve entry limits. Topics will be announced in the National World War II Museum website. Learn more

NCTE Achievement Awards in Writing Program

Achievement Awards in Writing is a school-based writing program established in 1957 to encourage high school students in their writing and to recognize publicly some of the best student writers in the nation. The National Council of Teachers of English recognize students cited as excellent writers by judges. Only students who are JUNIORS in the academic year 2013-2014 may be nominated for 2014 awards. Deadline for nomination is February 13. 2013.

Learn more.

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards: Registration is now open for this national contest encouraging students in grade 7 - 12 to create projects on social change. Deadline for contest is February 4, 2013.

Learn more

STEM National Video Game Challenge

Inspired by the Educate to Innovate campaign, this initiative of President Obama seeks to engage student’s innate interests in playing and designing video games.

Learn more.

UNAUSA National High School Essay Contest

Each year, the United Nations Association of the United States of America publishes a topic and question of particular importance to the international community. Open to all U.S. high school students, this contest asks students to conduct research and write a response to the question, based not only on the information they have found, but also on their own views and opinions. Three finalists will receive monetary scholarships with the top winner receiving a trip to UN Headquarters in New York to be awarded their prize at the UNA-USA's Member Day.: For the current essay topic and application, please click here.

YES Abroad Program Scholarship

The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Abroad Program offers scholarships to American high school students to spend a semester or an academic year abroad. Past destinations include Bosnia & Herzegovina, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mali, Morocco, Oman, Thailand, and Turkey. Applications for the 2014-15 program will be available in late summer of 2013.

Learn more.

College

ACTFL Video Contest

K - 20 students across the country, are encouraged to submit videos on how language learning has been important in their lives. The videos will be judged for originality and creativity by a celebrity panel of judges and cash and product prizes will be awarded to the students who produce the winning videos. Future contest topics and guidelines can be found on the ACTFL’s website, here

Learn more

American Councils for International Education

American Councils administers a variety of cultural exchange, study abroad, and research programs on behalf of both public and private funders. Participation in these programs is through an open, merit-based competition, and facilitates mutual understanding between the United States and Eurasia, Southeast Europe, and South Asia.

Learn more

Exchanges Connect Annual Video Contest

This video contest, brought to you by the Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, asks students ages 14 or older worldwide to share their perspective using video submissions. As part of the ExchangesConnect international social network site, the four grand prize winners are eligible to receive an all-expense-paid international exchange program. Also, more prizes like Flip Video™ camcorders are awarded throughout the contest. For more information, topics for the next contest, and general rules click here.

Exchanges, Training and Study Abroad

American Councils administers a variety of cultural exchange, study abroad, and research programs on behalf of both public and private funders. Participation in these programs is through an open, merit-based competition, and facilitates mutual understanding between the United States and Eurasia, Southeast Europe, and South Asia.

Learn more

International Cultural Diplomacy: Young Leaders Forums

The International Cultural Diplomacy (ICD) Young Leaders Forums are international networks of like-minded individuals with an active interest in developing and supporting intercultural relations. The first Young Leaders Forum was developed almost a decade ago and ICD have since developed and launched a variety of different bilateral and multilateral Forums that focus on a diverse range of relationships across the world. ICD has developed these Forums to provide a platform for the next generation of leaders to explore the potential of organized cultural exchange in the international environment and to use the networks they become part of to organize their own leadership initiatives. Further information about the next Weeklong Seminar can be found here. Further information about the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy can be found at the ICD website.

International Essay Contest: Making a Difference

The Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs hosts a yearly essay contest for both students and teachers. Prior topics include sustainability and contemporary ethical dilemmas. For an example of topics and rules, click here

National Geographic Photo Contest- for 18 and older

Do you have a winning shot? Send in your best photos—in categories like Animals/Wildlife, Travel, and Weather—for a chance to win a National Geographic Expeditions to the Galápagos and have your photo published in National Geographic Traveler magazine.

Learn more.

STEM National Video Game Challenge

Inspired by the Educate to Innovate campaign, this initiative of President Obama seeks to engage student’s innate interests in playing and designing video games.

Learn more.

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