awq news and views promotional image

As part of the IRC’s News & Views Discussion Group, the AWQ mini-series will bring local high school students and their teachers into the international conversation. For each edition, based around seven of the categories included in the upcoming Academic WorldQuest trivia competition, an expert discussion leader will lead all participants – students, IRC members, and members of the public, to study and think critically about each international topic.

The Academic WorldQuest competition, a flagship youth education program of the World Affairs Councils of America and a 16-year tradition at the IRC, is designed to test and improve high school students’ knowledge of international affairs. This year’s round topics chosen for our News & Views mini-series can be found below:

  • Global Protests
  • The Arab Spring: 10 Years On
  • International Labour Organization
  • The U.S. Foreign Service in the 21st Century
  • Exploring Peace in a World of Conflict
  • Fraying Alliances
  • Looking to a Post-Pandemic Economy

Designed both to stimulate the community member discussion and to help student teams study for their upcoming competition, all are welcome!

Click here to view the study guide for the 2021 Academic WorldQuest competition


Global Protests • Thursday, January 14 • 5:30-6:30 p.m, CT

Janette Jasperson, International Education Coordinator at Johnson County Community College, will lead a discussion about these global protests, their impact, and what the future may hold as disorder continues on a global scale.

The Arab Spring: 10 Years On • Thursday, January 21 • 5:30-6:30 p.m. CT

We will look at the impact of social media, the response of governments, where we stand in 2021, and what the future holds for nations involved in the Arab Spring. Dr. Michael Makara, Associate Professor of Comparative Politics and International Relations, will be leading the discussion.

International Labour Organization • Thursday, January 28 • 5:30-6:30 p.m. CT

Jay Sjerven, Senior Editor, Markets at Sosland Publishing, will facilitate a discussion around the work of the ILO, the positive impact being made during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the challenges facing the organization in the modern world.

U.S. Foreign Service in the 21st Century • Thursday, February 4 • 5:30-6:30 p.m. CT

Where does the U.S. Foreign Service stand in 2021? How has the pandemic impacted the work? Career Foreign Service Officer, Ted Craig, will address the questions, and many others, as we continue our AWQ News & Views series.

Exploring Peace in a World of Conflict • Thursday, February 11 • 5:30-6:30 p.m. CT

As we continue to prevail through a society of consistent conflict, we must ask the question, “what does a peaceful world look like?” and “How do we get there?”. Ann-Louise Colgan, Director of Public Education at the United States Institute of Peace, will facilitate a discussion around these questions.

Fraying Alliances • Thursday, February 18 • 5:30-6:30 p.m. CT

Dr. Karenbeth Zacharias, director of the Lawrence D. Starr Center for Peace and Justice and an assistant professor of History at the University of Saint Mary, will facilitate a discussion about the uncertainty afflicting East Asia; the changing dynamics in the Middle East; the steady collapse of Transatlantic relations; and the rise of strongman politics.

Looking to a Post-Pandemic Economy • Thursday, February 25 • 5:30-6:30 p.m. CT

With positive results in vaccine trials, it is now worth asking the question, “what does the economy look like post-pandemic?” . Dr. Lowell Jacobsen, Elizabeth Harvey Rhodes Professor of International Business at Baker University, will pose this question, while moderating a discussion about the future of the world’s 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