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Annual Theme

Debate & Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences

Each year, National History Day® (NHD) frames students’ research within a historical theme. The theme is chosen for broad application to world, national, or state history and its relevance to ancient history or to the more recent past. Throughout the 2021–2022 academic year, National History Day students will explore the theme of Debate & Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences. Some topics might be stories of debate and diplomacy, while others might cover debate with little diplomatic effort or diplomacy without debate. Students must investigate to determine whether one or both of those themes are present in their narrative.

Ken Burns, award-winning documentary filmmaker gives a preview into the 2021-2022 theme!


The theme video gives your students a fascinating introduction to this year’s theme.

This webinar hosted by NHD will answer your questions about the theme. 

Learn more in-depth about the theme and get topic ideas.

The theme narrative will summarize the issues involved in the theme this year

Help students understand the theme by using this helpful tool in your classroom.

This slideshow created by NHD and the National Museum of American Diplomacy can help students better understand the theme.

In this webinar you can learn from The National Museum of American Diplomacy about the theme and get lots of topic ideas.

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