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Theme and Topics


2022 Theme: “Debate & Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences.”

Each year, National History Day selects a theme to guide student research.  The theme is intentionally broad, allowing students to choose topics from a variety of times and places from ancient history to the 20th century, and from local to global history topics.

Selecting a Topic

Narrowing Down an Area of Interest

Selecting a History Day topic involves gradually narrowing the field of research until the student has a specific event or story to tell.  An effective History Day project often explores a small story — an event, an invention, an individual’s contributions— in a way that helps the audience understand a larger history.

Topic Ideas:

  • Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns has created streaming playlist of Debate and Diplomacy-related topics in American history. 
  • The Encyclopedia of Arkansas has created a special Debate and Diplomacy in Arkansas History resource with topic ideas for students interested in local history.  The list includes “biographies of diplomats and ambassadors from Arkansas; various treaties, laws, and court cases; activists from the state; debates that have rocked Arkansas politics; and selected organizations whose work has centered upon debate and diplomacy.”
  • NHD Arkansas professors, teachers, and coordinators contributed to a massive list of General Topic Ideas ( on the theme of Debate and Diplomacy.  (Tip: Because the list is quite long, we recommend opening the document outline by selecting the menu icon on the left-hand side.)