Romanian American National Heritage Awards

5th edition, 2021

The Romanian American National Heritage Award is an annual competition for youth with Romanian heritage or background. Applicants of non-Romanian descent may qualify, as long as their work and experience relate to Romania or the Romanian community in the US. 

Presented by the American Romanian Cultural Society, Alianta, and Romanian United Fund, with the endorsement of the Embassy of Romania to the United States.

The jury representing the three organizations involved based their decision on the national and international impact of the volunteering activity described, the candidate's academic achievements and leadership potential, and tracked record, as well as their future vision for the benefit of the Romanian community, locally and beyond.

Congratulations to the Winners of This Year's Edition

  • Platinum, National -¬†¬†Andreea Haidau¬†(Wheeling High School, IL)
  • Platinum, West Coast¬†-¬†Victor Ene¬†(Sunset High School,¬†OR)
  • Platinum, East¬†Coast¬†-¬†Daniel Niculescu¬†(Cranbrook Schools, MI)
  • Gold, West Coast ¬†-¬†Larisa S√Ęmbotin (Skyline High School,¬†WA),¬†Alex Iliescu¬†(Interlake High School, WA),¬†Tamara Toma¬†(Homestead High School, CA),¬†Ilinca FlńÉcńÉu¬†(Leland High School, CA)¬†
  • Gold, East Coast¬† -¬†Stefan Julian Corda»ô¬†(¬†Trumbull High School, CT)
  • Silver, Central¬†¬†-¬†Andreas Miclea (Northside College Preparatory High School, IL),¬†Fevzy¬†Ghiuve-Osman (Walter Payton College Preparatory High School, IL),¬†Gruia Radu¬†(New Trier Township High-School, IL),¬†David Burcńɬ†(Sconzo Early College High School, TX)¬†


Mission and Purpose

The award recognizes exceptional contributions to the cohesion of the Romanian community and the preservation of its heritage, language, culture, and traditions.


Recognition and Awards

All eligible participants will receive the official recognition of the Romanian Embassy in the United States and the top winners will receive scholarships of up to $500 dollars each. 

The award has helped the recipients distinguish themselves in their admission process to top colleges and institutions, such as Dartmouth College, Wesleyan Univ, Pitzer College, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine, Whitman College, Purdue Univ, UW Honors, and many others. 



June 30 - Submission of Applications Opens

September 30 - Submission of Applications Closes

October 15 - Winners Announced 

November 18 - Award Ceremony at the Alianța Gala in Washington DC



Please submit your application HERE


Eligibility for participation

‚Äč‚ÄčAge and residence:¬†For the 2021 edition, participants must be enrolled in High School in the United States for the 2020-2021 academic year.¬†

Academic:¬†Minimum unweighted High School GPA of 3.0 ‚Äď or equivalent, running average for the last school year.

Teamwork: Both individuals and teams can participate in the competition. Participation in teams is encouraged. To encourage leadership and simplify the evaluation process, the maximum team size is 5.

There are no Romanian or US citizenship requirements. There are no fees required, this competition is entirely free to participate for eligible students.

‚ÄčEligibility for national participants
The top 5 winners of the regional competitions advance to the national competition


Evaluation criteria

The following criteria will be used in the evaluation process (not all criteria are required, but they will strengthen your application): 

1) Community work and leadership
The number of volunteering hours and their visible outcome and results will be a strong factor in the evaluation. Where applicable and possible, volunteering and community work in Romania (e.g. groundbreaking projects with children, youth and seniors from underprivileged social backgrounds, or religious and ethnic minorities) will receive the jury's highest consideration. Please highlight this aspect in your application. 

Please provide a detailed description of your working experience, highlighting the ways in which your activity and leadership initiatives impacted the targeted community,  strengthening its civic spirit and sense of unity, bringing awareness to the role of the Romanian language and traditions in shaping the Romanian American identity and legacy in the US. The description should be either in Romanian or in English, and should not exceed 650 words. 

2) Essay 
Please submit an essay that will describe how your community work influenced your own personal growth and brought awarness to your bicultural and bilingual identity in the US. We strongly encourage applicants to model their essay from their college application essays, following a similar structure and attention to detail. The essay shall have no less than 200 words and no more than 650 words.

3) Recommendations from local community leaders
Your essay and recommendations will play an important role in the evaluation process. A formal letter is not required, a name and contact info (email and/or phone number) will be sufficient. The contest organizers will reach out to confirm the recommendations.


Romanian Heritage Connection

Applicants of any cultural background may qualify, as long as they are able to prove their interest, work experience, and connection to Romania. 
Examples of such proof:

  • Passing an officially recognized Romanian language test ‚Äď where available
  • An essay in Romanian¬†
  • Volunteer work in Romania

* For past editions, winners and photos, please visit Romanian American Heritage Award page. 



American Romanian Cultural Society


Romanian United Fund

With the support of the Romanian Embassy in Washington D.C. 

Community Partners:¬†Romanian Cultural Institute USA/New York,¬†Rom√Ęnul Corp,¬†HORA-Heritage Organization of Romanian Americans in Minnesota.

RUF - Romanian United Foundation


RUF is a 100% pass-through fundraising platform. We help diaspora & local nonprofits in Romania access the funding, tools, training, and support they need to become more effective. We do this by connecting NGOs, donors & volunteers from all over the world