Divisions: Varsity, Junior Varsity, Middle School
Competition Type
: Individual, Research Paper and Oral Defense

For the 2020 International History Olympiad, we are introducing a new event whereby students will do their own research, the Symposium. The Symposium will have three components and replaces the Research Competition held at past Olympiads. First, students will write a 3000-4000 word research paper on a topic of their choice, as long as it is within the broader theme of the History of the Caribbean. The research paper must be entirely original, though it is permitted for students to submit a relevant paper that they have previously written as part of their academic studies in school or as a homeschooled student. Papers must be formatted to include proper footnotes and a bibliography and should include a wide variety of sources. Any evidence of plagiarism will lead to immediate disqualification.

Students’ papers will be due on June 20, 2020, and will then be read by Olympiad staff. The top students will then be subject to an oral examination by their readers. Those who pass the oral examination will take part in the Symposium with historians, teachers, and academics (who will have read students’ papers in advance) in San Juan on July 19 before boarding the ship. The Symposium will consist of a final defense of the paper followed by lunch with the professional historians and instructors in Old San Juan. The top three students in each age division, as selected by the readers and examiners will win the gold, silver, and bronze medals.

Note: You are welcome to use whichever citation format you prefer, although you must cite sources. Footnotes are preferred over endnotes, if you are using footnotes. You are also welcome to use MLA format (whereby, you would just indicate the author’s name [and work if citing more than one source by the same author] in parentheses, followed by the relevant page number). For all papers, a bibliography must be included, and a wide variety of sources (especially primary sources and interviews) is encouraged.

This event is new for 2020