Academic WorldQuest
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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 2020 Kansas City–area tournament was held after school on Wednesday, February 19, at UMKC's Pierson Auditorium.

Congratulations to Bishop Seabury Academy,
whose student team will represent the Kansas City area
at the 2020 national tournament in Washington, D.C., in late April.

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. Each area high school may enter one team of four students plus a faculty 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

While only four students from a given school may participate in the competition, 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

2020 Competition Information

The 2020 Academic WorldQuest competition for high school students will be held on Wednesday, February 19, from 4-8 p.m. at UMKC's Pierson Auditorium. 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 dinner and a presentation before ten rounds of ten questions each on the following topics:

  • U.S.-Russia Relations
  • Country in Focus: South Korea
  • Preventing Extremism in Fragile States
  • Oceans: The World's Garbage Dump
  • Great Decisions
  • Brexit and the EU
  • China's Belt & Road Initiative
  • Germany: 30 Years After the Fall of the Berlin Wall
  • Qatar and the Future of the Gulf Cooperation Council
  • Current Events

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 25.

2020 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 2020 tournament:

Past Winners

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

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