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NIAF NCCA Christopher Columbus Essay Contest Now Open

(Washington, D.C. – November 13, 2020) The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is now accepting essays for the NIAF NCCA Christopher Columbus Essay Contest. Since 1996, NIAF has worked with the National Christopher Columbus Association (NCCA) to sponsor an annual national essay contest on a topic related to Christopher Columbus for high school students throughout the United States. The first-place winner will receive a $1,200 prize and an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C., to read his or her essay at NCCA’s annual Columbus Day Celebration.

“Our youth education programs are a core mission of NIAF providing opportunities for students to connect with their heritage, history and hone their research and communication skills, in preparation for future careers, “ said NIAF Chairman The Honorable Patricia de Stacy Harrison.

The Essay Contest’s topic this year is the following: Since Columbus’s first voyage 528 years ago, a variety of societal factors have influenced how Columbus’s voyages are interpreted through a contemporary lens. How did the voyages of Christopher Columbus express the general political, social and scientific outlook of the fifteenth century? Why is it important to remember these factors when reflecting on Christopher Columbus as a historical figure?

“We are very proud to continue our mission in educating the community at large and promoting Christopher Columbus’s pivotal role in our country’s history while actively engaging with so many students with from all backgrounds across the nation, ” said NIAF’s Scholarships and Grants Committee Co-chairs Linda R. Carlozzi and Dr. John P. Rosa

To be considered, submitted essays must have a word count between 800 and 1,200 words and will be judged for historical accuracy, adherence to topic, organization of materials, interest, originality, spelling, grammar, punctuation, and neatness. In addition to the required length, students must include the following elements in their essay: a title page with an original title, name, mailing address, e-mail address, phone number, school, grade, and word count; MLA formatted citations and bibliography; and three print/non-internet sources.

First, second and third-place national winners are selected after judging on a national level. To qualify for first place, the winner must be able to go to Washington, D.C., to read his or her winning essay at the Christopher Columbus Celebration. The first-place winner will receive a $1,200 prize in addition to paid lodging and transportation to Washington, D.C., in October for both the winner and one parent or guardian to attend the NCCA’s annual Columbus Day Celebration and read their essay. The second-place national winner receives $500, and the third-place winner receives $300.

All submissions must be sent via e-mail to by 11:59 p.m. on January 1, 2021. Students will be notified by 5 p.m. EST on June 15, 2021.

About NCCA
The National Christopher Columbus Association’s (NCCA) mission is to foster an environment for an open and academically sound dialogue on Christopher Columbus and the events and accomplishments that surround his name. Since 1989, NCCA has been responsible for the annual Columbus Day event in Washington, D.C., which began in 1912. The Association is governed by a board of directors elected by its general membership, with officers chosen annually by the board.

About NIAF
The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to preserving, promoting, and protecting the Italian American heritage and culture. NIAF is the nation’s premier Italian American organization serving as a bridge between the United States and Italy, strengthening mutual understanding through governmental, economic and cultural ties. Education is the core of our mission as the Foundation provides scholarships and grants to institutions and high achieving students to further their education in all fields and connect to their heritage. To learn more about the Foundation and become a member, please visit

For more information, visit or contact Julia Streisfeld, Director of Scholarships, Grants and Youth Engagement, at or 202-939-3114.


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