Luminari Award

Now Accepting Applications for the Luminari Award Essay Contest! Deadline for entries is February 15, 2024.

Are you a high school student in the Pittsburgh area with an interest in diplomacy, cultural awareness, global affairs, government relations or community service, then we encourage you to apply for the Luminari Award today. Our merit-based award is open to all students in 7th – 11th grades who want to hone their writing skills while competing for a scholarship to our annual diplomacy program. Winners of the competition are named Luminari Award Scholars and are invited to attend the I Want to be an Ambassador! summer camp in Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., June 11-19, 2024.

Two winners will be selected from the essay submissions. Each winner will receive a merit-based scholarship valued at $1,200 for an all expense paid admission to Luminari’s exciting I Want to be an Ambassador! camp in summer 2024. This camp is a unique opportunity to travel to Washington D.C. where you will engage first-hand with ambassadors and foreign diplomats. Before departing, you will prepare, here in Pittsburgh, with specialized leaders and educators who will teach you the skills necessary to master the art of diplomacy.

One award winner will be selected from nominees who complete the Luminari Award Student Application and mail or email it by February 15, 2024. The second winner will be a student enrolled in their school’s ESL (English as a second language) program.

All students may enter the award on their own by submitting their applications and essays directly to us in an easy 1-2-3 process:

  1. Write a one-page essay describing your interest in diplomacy and the ways in which you will benefit from the I Want to be an Ambassador! camp in your daily life.
  2. Fill out the APPLICATION FORM – [Download PDF] and have your parent or legal guardian sign it as well.
  3. Return the completed essay and application form to luminari@luminari.org or mail to: Luminari, P.O. Box 81603, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15217 no later than February 15, 2024.

The winner will be announced in early March. We eagerly anticipate reading your essays, and we look forward to welcoming our Luminari Award Scholar to our exciting camp in June. Good luck!

  • This scholarship is non-transferable and only can be redeemed for admission to the 2024 I Want to be an Ambassador! camp.  No substitutions, exchanges or cash prizes will be awarded.

The Luminari Award is our annual scholarship competition that takes place between October and January. Please contact lumininari@luminari.org for more information or to apply.

2023 Luminari Award Merit Scholars

Nolvin Buezo Gutierrez (ESL), Avonworth School District
Arshia Zaidi, North Allegheny School District

2022 Luminari Award Merit Scholars

Mitantsiky Rakotozafy (ESL), Mt. Lebanon School District
Benjamin Quint, North Allegheny School District

2020/21 Luminari Award Merit Scholars

Vanya Fuller (ESL), Bethel Park School District
Anna Oestreich, Norwin School District

2019 Luminari Award Merit Scholars

Hend Hamada (ESL), Fox Chapel Area School District
Cara Leonardi, Moon Area School District

2018 Luminari Award Merit Scholars

Fakhar Almlook Munaf Mohammed (ESL), Carlynton School District
Owen Chaffin, Home School student, Bethel Park School District

2017 Luminari Award Merit Scholars

Jesus Chacin (ESL), Avonworth School District
Kailee Monaghan, Canon-McMillan School District

2016 Luminari Award Merit Scholars

Hao Nguyen (ESL), Sto-Rox School District
Emily Smith, Propel Schools

 2015 Luminari Award Merit Scholars

Vladyslav Makarenko (ESL), Mt. Lebanon School District
Rohit Nandakumar, Fox Chapel Area School District

2014 Luminari Award Merit Scholars

Jacob Clark, West Jefferson Hills School District
Zyaire Fisher, Propel Schools
Kaylee Gross, Chartiers Valley School District
David Han, Fox Chapel Area School District
Sydney Reyes, Riverview School District

2013 Luminari Award Merit Scholars

Sophie Belch, Riverview School District
Nathan Bindseil, Central Catholic, Diocese of Pittsburgh
Abigail Eberts, Moon Area School District
Shannon Kim, Fox Chapel Area School District
Troy Miles, Propel Schools

2012 Luminari Award Merit Scholars

Rohan Chalasani, Fox Chapel Area School District
Nicolas May, Chartiers Valley School District
Malaysia Meador, Propel Schools
Brandon Quinn, Central Catholic, Diocese of Pittsburgh