NIAF NCCA Christopher Columbus Essay Contest Now Open

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is now accepting essays for the NIAF NCCA Christopher Columbus Essay Contest. Since 1996, the NIAF has worked with the National Christopher Columbus Association (NCCA) to sponsor an annual national essay contest on a subject related to Christopher Columbus for high school students across the United States. The first-place winner will receive a $1,200 prize and an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC, to read their essay at the NCCA’s annual Columbus Day celebration.

“The NIAF is honored to partner with the NCCA and support the National Essay Contest to educate the general public about the central role of Columbus in America’s history,” said NIAF President Robert Allegrini. “The Christopher Columbus Essay Contest is a wonderful opportunity to engage with the younger generation by encouraging students, regardless of their heritage, to reflect on the importance of preserving and promoting the legacy of Christopher Columbus.”

The NIAF would like to congratulate and recognize the winners of the 2022 contest: John Hill of Spring, Texas (first place), Marco Buglione of Irvington, NY (second place), Gianna Cruz Morgan Hill, California (third place).

The theme of the essay contest is: When we think about the legacy of Columbus, we tend to think about his impact in America. What were the effects of the discovery of America on Italy? How did the voyages of Christopher Columbus serve as a starting point for Italian-American relations?

Essay Submission Guidelines:

A word count between 800 and 1,200 words; The essay will be judged for historical accuracy, adherence to topic, organization of material, interest, originality, spelling, grammar, punctuation, and neatness; Students should include the following: a title page with an original title, name, mailing address, email address, phone number, school, year, and word count; Citations and bibliography in MLA format; Cite three print and/or non-internet sources

Essay Deadline: All submissions should be emailed to This email address is protected from spam. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by 11:59 p.m. ET on March 15, 2023. Students will be notified by 5 p.m. ET on June 15, 2023.

National first, second and third place winners are selected after being judged at the national level. To qualify for first place, the winner must be able to travel to Washington, DC to read their winning essay at the Columbus Celebration. The first place winner will receive a $1,200 prize plus paid for accommodation and transportation to Washington, D.C. in October for the winner and a parent or guardian to attend the annual Columbus Day celebration of the NCCA and read their essay. The second place national winner receives $500 and the third place winner receives $300.

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to the preservation, promotion, and protection of Italian American heritage and culture. NIAF is the nation’s premier Italian-American organization serving as a bridge between the United States and Italy, enhancing mutual understanding through governmental, economic, and cultural ties. Education is at the heart of our mission, as the Foundation offers scholarships and grants to the most successful institutions and students to pursue their studies in all fields and connect to their heritage. To learn more, visit

The mission of the National Christopher Columbus Association (NCCA) is to foster an environment conducive to open and academically sound dialogue about Christopher Columbus and the events and accomplishments surrounding his name. Since 1989, the 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 members, with officers selected annually by the advice. To learn more, visit

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