World Historian Student Essay Competition

Congratulations to Sharon Besong of Jewels International School of Kinshasa, the winner of the 2024 World Historian Student Essay Competition for her essay, "World History: The Machine that Produces Our Future."


2024 World Historian Student Essay Competition Winner: Sharon Besong (Jewels International School of Kinshasa)

  • The WHA is pleased to announce that Sharon Besong of Jewels International School of Kinshasa is the winner of the 2024 World Historian Essay Competition for her outstanding essay, "World History: The Machine that Produces Our Future."  Congratulations, Sharon!

Application Instructions:

The World Historian Student Essay Competition is an international competition open to students enrolled in grades K–12 in public, private, and parochial schools, and those in home-study programs. Membership in the World History Association is not a requirement for submission. Past winners may not compete in the same category again.  Finalist essays will be checked against AI internet components and will be automatically disqualified should stock answers be detected.

The World History Association established this $500 prize to recognize young scholars. A one-year membership in the WHA will also be included with each prize.

Each competitor will submit an essay that addresses one of the following topics and discuss how it relates to you personally and to World History:  Your view of a family story related to a historical event or your personal family cultural background, or an issue of personal relevance or specific regional history/knowledge, such as "My ancestor walked with Abraham Lincoln from Illinois to fight in the Black Hawk War of 1832." 

The committee will judge papers according to the following criteria:

  1. clear thesis;
  2. elaboration on the thesis with specific, concrete, personal example(s);
  3. evidence of critical-thinking, such as synthesis and evaluation, when reflecting on the essay question;
  4. organization and fluency; and
  5. overall effectiveness of the student’s ability to communicate his or her personal connection with the study of world history—in other words, how well has the student described the experience of being changed by a better understanding of world history?

To view some of our past winning essays, please click on the links below.

2023 Paper Prize Winner

2019 Paper Prize Winner

2018 Paper Prize Winner

2017 Paper Prize Winner


Length & Format

Length: Submissions for the K–12 World Historian Award should be approximately 1,000 words.

Formatting: Number all pages except for the title page. All pages are to be double-spaced. Use 12-point Times New Roman Font. Margins are to be 1 inch left and right, and top and bottom.

Submissions must be composed in Microsoft Word.

The author’s identity is to appear nowhere on the paper.

A separate, unattached page should accompany the paper, identifying the author, title of paper, home address, telephone number, e-mail address, and name of school.

Papers that do not adhere to these guidelines will be disqualified.


Entries must be emailed or postmarked by the annual deadline of 1 May.

Winning papers will be announced during the summer.

The WHA reserves the right to publish in the World History Bulletin any essay (or portion thereof) submitted to the competition. It will do so solely at its discretion, but full acknowledgment of authorship will be given. If someone’s essay is published in whole or in part, the author will receive three (3) copies of the Bulletin.

E-mail submission

Send the following materials as separate attachments (formatted in MS Word) in the same e-mail, with the subject line World Historian Student Essay:

  • the paper, and
  • a page with identifying information (author, title of paper, home address, telephone number, e-mail address, and name of school).

E-mail to: Susan Smith <>.

Postal submission

Send five copies of the paper and five copies of the page with identifying information. In the lower left hand corner on the front of the envelope write: World Historian Student Essay.

Mail to:

Susan Smith
Maple Grove Senior High
9800 Fernbrook Lane N.
Maple Grove, MN 55369-9747


  • Susan Smith, chair
  • Paul Richgruber



  • Joshua Hangartner, La Jolla Country Day School (La Jolla, CA) "World History: A Vehicle for Understanding Ourselves"


  • Amanda Zhao, Pacific Ridge School (Carlsbad, CA) “History: An Ode to the Bricks of Progress”


  • Akram Elkouraichi, Yonkers Middle High School (Yonkers, NY) “The Realization of Impermanence: Ephemerality in World History as a Conceptual Framework”


  • Steven Chen, Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School (Vancouver, BC, Canada) “A Human Story: World History as an Optimist”


  • Juliana Boerema, Cary Christian School (Cary, North Carolina) “Brilliant Painting: How the Study of World History Changes Perspective”


  • Ahmad Aamir, Lahore Grammar School (Lahore, Pakistan) “Learning from History: Cooperation, Belief, Scholarship, & Words”


  • Vivian Liu, International School of Beijing (Beijing, China) “History: Bread of the World”


  • Vanessa Yan, Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School (Bradenton, Florida) “World History: The Great Macroscope”


  • Rachel Hughes, Webber Academy (Calgary, Canada), “Fostering a Universal Understanding of World History is the Key to a Brighter Tomorrow”


  • Campbell Munson, The Episcopal School of Dallas, “How History Has Affected My Worldview: Economies, Migration, Causality and Disease”


  • Jacob Cooper, North Oconee High School (Bogart, Georgia), “World History: The Basis for Self-Determination, Democracy, and Religion“


  • Luke J. Hamilton, Sword Academy (Bridgeport, Nebraska), “The Present: Living History”


  • David Kim, Wydown Middle School (St. Louis), “History: The Shadow of the World”


  • Elizabeth Mello, Dartmouth High School (Dartmouth, Massachusetts), “Out of Many Threads, One Cloth”

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