High school students are invited to put their global knowledge to the test in the annual Academic WorldQuest competition, a flagship program of the World Affairs Councils of America. The 2021 Kansas City–area tournament was held virtually on Thursday, March 4th at 3:00 p.m. CST. Registration for the Spring 2022 competition will be available Fall 2021.

Congratulations to Bishop Seabury Academy, whose team won the 2021 Academic WorldQuest. 

What is Academic WorldQuest?

Each year since 2006, the IRC has offered high school students the chance to showcase their knowledge of world affairs, geography, history, and world events. Area high schools may register one or more teams of four students plus a faculty sponsor, and multiple teams from the same school may share a sponsor. Participation is entirely cost-free for schools. The winning team will receive an expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the students and their sponsor to participate in the national Academic WorldQuest competition in late April.

Why should schools participate?

Academic WorldQuest offers numerous benefits for students and teachers, including:

  • Exploring global topics and issues that are compatible with and enhance the study of many existing curricula and AP courses
  • Preparing for future international studies and careers in the global economy
  • Interacting with area students and teachers who are interested in global affairs
  • Meeting representatives from area companies and universities and hear about future international opportunities
  • Winning valuable prizes, including gift certificates for many participants and an expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., for the winning team

There is no cost for schools to register! Schools may register one or more teams of four students plus a faculty sponsor, and multiple teams from the same school may share a sponsor. In addition, entire classes are welcome to use the study materials and explore competition topics together.

What do participants say about their experience?

“I had a great time, learning about many issues and countries in the world while meeting people who have personal involvement and investment in solving these issues. This experience intensified my passion for international relations.” – Kyle from Washburn Rural High School

“I thought it was interesting learning about different perspectives regarding subjects like Turkey and Great Decisions. I think it is important for students to learn and understand about other people different from them. I feel as Americans we live in a bubble.” – Ali from Washburn Rural High School

“Thanks to the IRC for putting on a fun and exciting competition! All of my students had a blast. We look forward to next year!” – Ms. Czarnecki from Bishop Seabury Academy

2021 Competition Information

The 2021 Academic WorldQuest competition for high school students will be held on Thursday, March 4th, using Zoom. Each area high school is invited to register one or more teams of four students plus one faculty sponsor; other students, faculty, parents, or friends are welcome to attend as spectators. Non-school teams (e.g. youth groups) are also acceptable as long as the members attend no more than two different high schools (including home schools).

We will begin with a presentation before ten rounds of ten questions each on the following topics:

  • Global Protests
  • Shifting Sands: The Arab Spring 10 Years On
  • International Labour Organization (ILO)
  • The U.S. Foreign Service in the 21st Century
  • Great Decisions 2020
  • Country in Focus: Uzbekistan
  • Exploring Peace in a World of Conflict
  • Fraying Alliances
  • Looking to a Post-Pandemic Economy
  • Current Events

Students and teachers from both hybrid and remote models will be able to participate – either by calling into the competition from one place using one screen, or by each joining from their own homes and devices and being grouped together remotely in pre-assigned Zoom breakout rooms.

Students work together to answer the questions, and the team with the most correct answers at the end of the competition are declared the winners. The winning team will represent our region at a national competition in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, April 17.

2021 Competition Materials

As they become available, we will post materials to help you prepare for the competition. We invite you to use these materials to help you prepare for the 2021 tournament:

Teachers, want to learn more about the competition and how it relates to your classroom goals? Click here to access the Teacher’s Guide to Academic WorldQuest.

A 7-week News & Views conversation group mini-series leading up to the competition, with experts there to help students study and think critically about different round topics. These conversations will be a prime way for student teams to prepare for the Kansas City-area virtual competition on Thursday, March 4.

The News & Views conversations will use the AWQ study guide above as a basis for discussion and focus on these seven topics:

  • Jan. 14th: Global Protests
  • Jan. 21st: The Arab Spring 10 Years On
  • Jan. 28th: International Labour Organization
  • Feb. 4th: The U.S. Foreign Service in the 21st Century

Click here to access more information and register for the AWQ News & Views mini-seres.

  • Feb. 11th: Exploring Peace in a World of Conflict
  • Feb. 18th: Fraying Alliances
  • Feb 25th: Looking to a Post-Pandemic Economy

2021 Competition Sponsors

Thank you for the generous support from our Sustaining Sponsor, the Overland Park Walmart Superstore, and to all of our other sponsors for their support of this event. For more information about sponsor packages, which support our programming and increase your visibility and impact, please contact Matthew Hughes.

Overland Park Walmart Supercenter
Overland Park Walmart SupercenterSustaining Sponsor
Commerce BankSupporting Sponsor
University of Kansas International AffairsAcademic Sponsor
Overland Park Walmart Neighborhood MarketSupporting Sponsor
Roeland Park Walmart SupercenterAcademic Sponsor

Past Winners

Congratulations to the following schools for their admirable performance in the Academic WorldQuest competition:

2021 · Bishop Seabury Academy

2020 · Bishop Seabury Academy

2019 · Shawnee Mission East High School

2018 · Blue Valley North High School

2017 · Washburn Rural High School

2016 · Shawnee Mission South High School

2015 · Rockhurst High School

2014 · Rockhurst High School

2013 · Shawnee Mission North High School

2012 · Shawnee Mission East High School

2011 · Shawnee Mission South High School

2010 · Olathe South High School

2009 · Shawnee Mission Center for International Studies

2008 · Shawnee Mission East High School

2007 · Shawnee Mission East High School

2006 · Rockhurst High School