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Theme Information

Each year, National History Day® frames students’ research within a historical theme. The 2021-2022 theme is Debate & Diplomacy in History: Successes, Failures, Consequences. Your topic may focus on any geographic area, historical period, event, group, or individual, but it must relate back to the annual theme. Understanding the historical significance and context of your topic will help you draw a connection to the theme. Use the resources below to learn more about this year’s theme.

2022 NHD Theme Book

2022 NHD Theme Narrative

2022 Theme Graphic Organizer (NHD)

NHD Theme Page

Request for access to MHD Slideshow Theme Presentation

Theme logo for National History Day contest


What makes a "good" topic?

  • Narrow
  • Significant
  • "In History"
  • Sources
  • Theme Connection
  • Interest

You won't be able to tell your audience everything about your topic. A narrow topic is specific enough to be presented within the limits of your Michigan History Day project. The worksheet below may help you find the best topic for your project.

Rightsizing Your Topic

Additional Resources

The Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center in Massachusetts has created a  selection of primary sources on diplomacy in Israel and the Middle East based on this year’s theme. They are graciously making resources available for free for any students or teachers working on a History Day project. You can access the resources at

2022 Michigan Topics

Topic: Treaties
Description: Between 1795 and 1864, many treaties were signed between Euro-Americans and Indigenous peoples. During this period, letters were sent back and forth between the government and the tribes involved. What ideas were being communicated through these letters? What do the words chosen by the translators indicate about attitudes towards one another? Where there any shortcomings in the communication between Euro-Americans and Indigenous people? If so, what was the impact of these shortcomings? There are a lot of directions you could go with this topic!
Resources: The Archives of Michigan has at least one such letter between government and the tribes. Additional resources may be found through the National Archives, CMU’s Clarke Historical Library and Tribal Archives (like the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Department of Repatriation, Archives and Records).

Oral History

Topic: Using Oral History for your MHD Project
Description: Most Michigan History Day projects will be enhanced by interviewing an expert in the field or someone who experienced the event. Learn to ask questions and interact with community members.
Resources: Senior citizens, librarians, archivist, museum workers, and even parents may know some interesting details about your topic. Visit to learn more.

Thank you to the following contributors!
Jim Cameron, Michigan Oral History Association
Amanda Weinert, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians