Greetings International History Olympiad Players, Families, and Coaches!

We’re now just two weeks away from the start of the 2016 International History Olympiad, and we hope that you are getting excited about all of your impending travels to Hawaii. As with all emails from us, please read through the following carefully, and most importantly, please be sure to submit your event selection forms over the next five days (i.e. by 11am New York City time on Saturday, July 9).

  1. Preliminary Survey (Shirt Sizes and Adults on the USS Missouri)

As of now, 90 students are registered for the Olympiad, but we have only received responses to the Preliminary Survey for 55. If you/your child/your student hasn’t yet filled this out, please do so as soon as possible via the link here. Note that you can ignore the question on the choice of U-Pick We-Write topic at this point, as it’s been decided (see below). But we still need the other two questions filled out for each participant.

  1. Payments

Nolwenn will be in touch shortly if you haven’t yet submitted the main payments for registration. Since we’re in India and have been having trouble logging in to our PayPal account outside the USA, we’re offering an official extension on all payments that are due in advance of the Olympiad (i.e. not including payments for Civilization, the Polynesian Cultural Center, payments for family members on the USS Missouri) until 11am Eastern USA (i.e. New York City) time on Saturday, July 9 (when the event selection forms are also due). Late fees will begin accruing if we don’t have payments by then.

  1. U Pick-We Write / U Pick-U Write

The final results for the U-Pick We-Write voting are as follows:

Winner – History of the Cold War (27 Votes)

History of Greek Mythology (16 Votes)

History of Religion (9 Votes)

History of Brazil (2 Votes)

History of Cinema (1 Vote)

Everyone, of course, is welcome to compete in the History of the Cold War Bee – 8:30am on July 20 for the preliminaries of that. If anyone wants to organize a Brazilian Film Festival during their free time, they are welcome to do that.

For U-Pick, U-Write, we have received proposals for a Russian History set and a History of Soccer (i.e. Football for non-North Americans) set. These are currently scheduled on the same day as the Polynesian Cultural Center tour – there is a slight chance that one or both of these may be moved to other slots in the schedule (probably during breakfast some day, since we’re running out of room elsewhere) if the writers of these sets prefer that. Stay tuned for updates.

  1. Updates and Clarifications on Other Events

All events are described in detail at

Having said that, please bear the following especially in mind:

-The Scramble topic will be announced at the Opening Meeting. Note that it will fall under the broad heading of History of Science (largely since there is no History of Science Bee this year).

-The Historical Simulation guide is online here if you still need to have a look at it. While the JV and Middle School divisions will compete in the simulation at the same time, we will in fact have medals for the Middle Schoolers separately who compete.

-The research project will focus on famous Hawaiians. No prior knowledge of is needed, though if you wish to have a quick look at the website in advance, you can sign up for a free 14 day trial, which can’t hurt.

-Some further details on the Great Trading Game have been added here. Note that students who competed last year will not be at a particular advantage, as we’ve adjusted some of the rules for this year to ensure a fair set of playing conditions.

  1. Very Important!

Remember that the Olympiad works very differently from any other competition. Just because you CAN compete in dozens of events does not mean you SHOULD! You are likely to do much better in events that you have spent sufficient time preparing for. We will have a library and practice rooms at the Olympiad as well.
Consider the following as an example: for the Classical Music History Bee, we have 100+ different questions on classical music alone! In many IHBB/NHBB events, you’ve had questions on Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, etc. But do you know anything about Rachmaninoff? Prokofiev? Borodin? Rostropovich? Cui? (and that’s just Russia!). If you study hard, you can certainly learn about dozens of different composers and their works between now and July 20, but use your time wisely and plan your Olympiad to your greatest strategic advantage. Don’t forget to save some time for getting to know new friends from around the world.

  1. Event Selection Forms / Updated Schedule

Remember, these are due by 11am Eastern USA (i.e. New York City) time on Saturday, July 9. You can go back and revise your selections before then, but if you do that, please refill the form out in full, not just the event(s) you are changing. Please only fill out the form for your division. If you do not know your division, look here to confirm.

Varsity Division Event Selection Form

Junior Varsity Division Event Selection Form

Middle School Division Event Selection Form

  1. ESTA (for students from outside the USA only)

You might need to fill out the ESTA to enter the US, if you don’t have a residence permit / visa / US citizenship.

You need to apply in advance for it here:

You will also need a printed copy of your return ticket to show the US customs officer.

  1. Unaccompanied Minors

If you have arranged with the airline your child is flying that your child is an unaccompanied minor, please email Nolwenn at to let her know/confirm about this. The airline will need to know who will be waiting for the child when they arrive, and we need to let you/the airline know that.

  1. What to Bring

-We are staying at a university, not at a hotel, so please bring a large towel (you’ll get a small one), toiletries, an alarm clock, a hairdryer if you need it, and other such items.

-There are laundry facilities on site, but we highly recommend bringing enough clothes for the whole stay. It will be hot, but if you are not from the USA and used to air conditioning, don’t forget to bring pants and long-sleeved shirts / pullovers / sweatshirts, as you might feel cold because of the AC. On the other hand, bringing sunscreen and perhaps a hat if you find that wearing one keeps you cool is a good idea, particularly when we go to Pearl Harbor.

-Bring some cash as well (we recommend $100-$200 in cash depending on if you want extra $ for small items / souvenirs, and up to $100 more if you will buy an Ukulele.)

-If you are not from the USA, plan to bring an adapter so that you can use all your electronics. Remember that the USA runs on 110 volts with two thin metal prong plugs.

-You might want to bring some small souvenirs from your country to give to your new friends, though this is not required.

-Bring comfortable walking shoes – you can expect to do a good amount of walking (though far less than last year, as most events and the sleeping rooms are in one building)

-A decent pair of binoculars if you can if you are doing the bird watching walk

  1. HMH Release form

The International History Olympiad is sponsored by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which has provided logistical and financial support of the event. They have requested that everyone attending fill out the release form (email if you need to request a copy), and then email it back to us (if you don’t have access to a scanner, just be sure to bring a copy to Hawaii) so that they can use pictures of the Olympiad on their website and elsewhere. If you have a strong objection to this, then it’s okay not to fill it out, but it would be very helpful to us if you could do so. Please email filled out forms to: (we will use this email address for inquiries during the Olympiad, but not until July 17).

  1. Change in Affiliation

Please let me know asap if you want to change your affiliation (i.e. the state/country/territory/commonwealth you are playing for). You can check your affiliation on the list of students. Note that you can also play for the country or state you were born in, even if you don’t hold its citizenship or live/attend school there. You can also play for a country if you are in the process of becoming a citizen of that country, even if that hasn’t been finalized.

  1. Events where spectators are allowed

Spectators are allowed at all of the quiz-bowl style events, the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, and at most other events, but not at any exam, written competition, or computer-based competition (i.e. Civilization or the competition). Seating may be limited in some cases, though.

  1. Adults and other family members at Pearl Harbor / Polynesian Cultural Center / USS Missouri

Adults and other family members are welcome to come to the Polynesian Cultural Center – the fee is the same as per student (this includes transportation back and forth). For Pearl Harbor, we are looking into the best way for parents and family members to attend, but they may need to get extra tickets. For the USS Missouri, we should be able to confirm in the next few days if those who expressed interest in the overnight stay are able to. Family members who are interested in attending the closing ceremonies on the USS Missouri and/or Pearl Harbor are responsible for getting there on their own, however, though we can help arrange cabs / Ubers.

  1. Events Open to Participation from Parents / Other Family Members

The following events are open to participation from Parents and Other Family Members who are attending the Olympiad. You do not need to stay at the University of Hawaii to compete in these. The Battery Exam and Open Tournament will have sign ups at the Olympiad for those interested in competing, along with some small prizes.

All Ceremonies

Battery Exam

Birding Walk

Board Games

Election Talk

Exchange Student Talk

Hula Lessons

Open Tournament (i.e. History Bee)

Opening Reception

Pearl Harbor Visit

Polynesian Cultural Center


  1. Things we’re looking into over the next few days (today’s a holiday in the USA) so we don’t have answers for you yet, but you can expect an update on in General Email #4 which will go out later this week.

-The parking situation at the University of Hawaii

-Whether participants / staff / family members will have gym access at the University

-The availability of food outside of dining hall hours at the University

-Where exactly to report on July 17 when you arrive at the University

-The location of the Opening Ceremonies.

-The health and medical form we will need filled out for each student.

-What the Olympiad Press Corps is and how it will work

-The exact timing of the U-Pick U-Write Bees

-Whether adults who requested it will be able to stay on the USS Missouri (it’s looking likely, but we need to confirm this)


If you have any further questions about anything either in general or specific just to you / your child / your student, please don’t hesitate to contact us at any point. Thanks for reading through!