Profile in Courage Essay Contest


Scholarship Value: $10,000
Awards Available: 8

In Profiles in Courage, John F. Kennedy recounted the stories of eight U.S. senators who risked their careers to do what was right for the nation. These leaders demonstrated political courage by taking a stand for the public good in spite of pressure by interest groups, their political party, or even their constituents. The Profile in Courage Essay Contest challenges students to write an original and creative essay that demonstrates an understanding of political courage as described by John F. Kennedy in Profiles in Courage.

The maximum word count is 1,000 with a minimum of 700, not including citations and bibliography. Use at least five varied sources such as government documents, letters, newspaper articles, books, and/or personal interviews.

Contest Topic

Describe and analyze an act of political courage by a U.S. elected official who served during or after 1917, the year John F. Kennedy was born. Include an analysis of the obstacles, risks, and consequences associated with the act. The essay may concern an issue at the local, state, national, or international level.

Contest Policies

All entries must must include a completed registration form and be submitted by 11:59pm (EST) on January 14, 2022 to be eligible for judging. The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation is not responsible for lost, late, misdirected, damaged, illegible, or incomplete submissions.

Decisions of the Profile in Courage Award Committee are final. Winners will be notified by email and via telephone by April 30. All participants will receive a letter notifying them of the winners along with a Certificate of Participation by the end of May.

By entering, you agree that your essay will become the property of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and will not be returned. The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation reserves the right to print and display the essays and photographs of the contest winners.

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