Thank you for your interest in the 2020 Berkley Award! Please note that this year’s award program is on hiatus, and we will not be reviewing applications.

Application information for the 2021 Berkley Award will be available in mid-2021, and we encourage you to check back then.

About the Eliot S. Berkley Award

Each year, in memory of our founder and longtime executive director, Eliot S. Berkley, the International Relations Council presents this award to an exceptional high-school junior or senior who has demonstrated superior academic interest and competence in international studies. The award includes a $500 scholarship.

The 2019 recipient of the Berkley Award was Lyle Griggs, a junior at Bishop Seabury Academy in Lawrence, Kansas, and an annual participant in the IRC’s Academic WorldQuest competition for high-schoolers. In his essay identifying what he believes to be the single most important international problem of our time, Lyle wrote:

“Throughout history, humanity has often been faced with internal and external threats; war, famine, disease, and drought have destabilized or destroyed many individual nations. But in the 20th century, two existential threats to humanity emerged: nuclear proliferation and climate change. The first dominated global imaginations during the Cold War era, when the legitimate possibility and universal fear of a sudden nuclear apocalypse were always fresh in the public consciousness. The second […], lacking shock value and instantaneity, has never provoked the same terror. Climate change, however, is the sole inevitable existential threat to humanity, and thus should be identified as the most important international problem of our time.”

Who Can Apply?

Currently enrolled juniors or seniors at Kansas City–area high schools

How to Apply?

Complete applications include three parts: an informational form, an essay of 1,000 to 1,200 words, and one letter of recommendation. Only complete applications will be considered.

  1. Submit an informational form (linked here when the application is live).
  2. Write an essay of between 1,000 and 1,200 words, with sources appropriately cited, on a topic to be chosen by the IRC and published at a later date. Send your essay to with the subject, “Berkley Award.”
  3. Submit one letter of recommendation from an individual not related to you to demonstrate your superior academic interest and competence in international studies. The letter should be emailed as a PDF to with the subject, “Berkley Award Recommendation: [Applicant’s Name].”

To help us save paper, we ask that no hard copies of materials be submitted.

Deadline and Notification

Please note that no scholarship will be awarded for 2020. However, deadlines and additional information for the new round will be posted in mid-2021, and we encourage you to apply then! The recipient will be invited to attend the IRC’s Global Honors Evening in November 2021.

Any Questions?

Feel free to contact Matthew Hughes with any questions at or 816-423-2632.

Past Berkley Award Winners

2019 · Lyle Griggs, Bishop Seabury Academy (Lawrence)

2018 · John Lubianetsky, The Barstow School

2017 · Hilary Griggs, Bishop Seabury Academy (Lawrence)

2016 · Marcus Leong, Olathe Northwest High School

Runner-up: Nathalie Kiersznowski, Pembroke Hill High School

2015 · Stefan Petrovic, Lawrence High School

Runner-up: Zachary Klamann, Rockhurst High School

2014 · Therin Showalter, Kearney High School

Runner-up: Kathleen Harding, Olathe Northwest High School

2013 · Claire Thomas, Shawnee Mission South High School

Runner-up: Whitney Horn, Olathe North High School

2012 · Felix Albl, Lansing High School

Runner-up: Ashley Hung, Shawnee Mission South High School

2010 · Sam Reichman, Shawnee Mission South High School

Runner-up: Marquitta Hall, Lincoln College Preparatory Academy

2009 · Shawn Gunn, Blue Springs High School

Runner-up: Chelsey Clark, Plate County R-3 High School

2008 · Edward “Ted” Hart, Rockhurst High School

Runner-up: Libby Maese, Shawnee Mission Center for International Studies

2007 · Mark Thomas: Shawnee Mission Center for International Studies

2006 · Anthony Badami, Rockhurst High School

Runner-up: Steffi Krull, Blue Valley High School

2005 · Rachel Voss, Shawnee Mission Center for International Studies

Runner-up: Kathleen Rice, Lee’s Summit West High School

2004 · Courtney Robbins, Lee’s Summit North High School

Runner-up: Andrew Green, Oak Park High School

2003 · Jason Humphrey, Shawnee Mission North High School

Runner-up: Valerie Tarbutton, Olathe East High School

2002 · Lilia Toson, Winnetonka High School

2001 · Matt Knuth, Park Hill South High School

2000 · Anna Hold, Shawnee Mission West High School