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This year’s High School

Essay Winner Thomas

Keller traveled to Wash-

ington, D.C., to meet with

Secretary of State John

Kerry. (Department of

State/James Pan)



AFSA National High School Essay Contest

, now in its 18th year, is one of the association’s most enduring and

successful outreach tools. The contest invites high school students whose parents are not in the Foreign Service

to think critically about the key role diplomacy plays in the world.

The winner,

Thomas Keller

of the Episcopal School of Dallas, Texas, wrote

about the power of microfinance to combat crime in Honduras.

AFSA collaborates with Semester at Sea and the National Student Leadership Conference on this initiative and,

in 2015, added the U.S. Institute of Peace as a partner. Over the years, more than 6,000 high school students

have been exposed to the Foreign Service and its mission through this contest. Past winners have come from

such diverse places as Missoula, Montana; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Clayton, New York; and Lincoln,

Nebraska. Winning essay topics have included security along the U.S.-Canadian border, promotion of human

rights in China, democratization in Burma and inclusive development in South Sudan.