National High School Essay Contest

AFSA Announces the Winner of the 2020 High School Essay Contest

The American Foreign Service Association’s national high school essay contest completed its twenty-second year with nearly 440 submissions from 36 states.

Three randomized rounds of judging produced this year’s winner, Jonas Lorincz, a junior from Marriotts Ridge High School in Marriottsville, Maryland. In his essay, “Verification, Mediation, and Peacebuilding: The Many Roles of the U.S. Foreign Service in Kosovo,” Mr. Lorincz focuses on the importance of interagency cooperation in mediating the crisis in Kosovo—primarily looking into how diplomats and other civilian agencies engaged in peacebuilding throughout the conflict. Jonas will travel to Washington to meet with a member of the Department of State’s leadership, gain a full tuition to an educational voyage with Semester at Sea and be celebrated at a reception at United States Institute of Peace, a co-sponsor of the contest.

Claire Burke was this year’s runner-up. She is a junior at Mill Valley High School in Shawnee, Kansas. Claire will be attending the international diplomacy program of the National Student Leadership Conference next summer.

There were eight honorable mentions:

  • Grace Cifuentes – Concord, California
  • Grace Lannigan – Easton, Connecticut
  • Seryung Park – Tenafly, New Jersey
  • Vynateya Purimetla – Troy, Michigan
  • David Richman – Norfolk, Virginia
  • Madeleine Shaw – Bloomington, Indiana
  • Sara Smith – Fargo, North Dakota
  • Jack Viscuso – Northport, New York

Congratulations! We thank all students and teachers who took the time to research and become globally engaged citizens who care about diplomacy, development, and peacebuilding.

If you are not graduating this year, please consider submitting another essay for next year’s contest. The new prompt will be published in fall 2020.

PRIVACY POLICY:

AFSA collects your information for this contest and for AFSA partners. You may be signed up to receive updates or information from AFSA and our partners. You will receive confirmation from AFSA that your submission has been received and a notification if you are the winner or an honorable mention in May. You may also receive a message from our sponsor regarding their program offerings.

PLEASE NOTE:

Students whose parents are not in the Foreign Service are eligible to participate if they are in grades nine through twelve in any of the fifty states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. territories, or if they are U.S. citizens attending high school overseas. Students may be attending a public, private, or parochial school. Entries from home-schooled students are also accepted. Previous first-place winners and immediate relatives of directors or staff of the AFSA and Semester at Sea are not eligible to participate. Previous honorable mention recipients are eligible to enter. $2,500 to the writer of the winning essay, in addition to an all-expense paid trip to the nation’s capital from anywhere in the U.S. for the winner and his or her parents, and an all-expense paid educational voyage courtesy of Semester at Sea.

The winner's school also receives a donation of 10 copies of AFSA's Inside a U.S. Embassy: Diplomacy at Work

 

The Fund for American Diplomacy is AFSA's 501(c)(3) charitable organization that supports AFSA’s outreach goals. AFSA National High School Essay contest is AFSA’s main outreach initiative to high school students. We appreciate your willingness to contribute. Rest assured that your contribution will be put to good use. Donations to the FAD are fully tax deductible.