Info for High Schools

Academic WorldQuest™, a flagship WACA program entering its 18th year in 2020, is a fun, friendly, and powerful way for high school students to learn about international affairs. Nearly 5,000 students compete in AWQ contests organized by 50 World Affairs Councils hosts in their states. Prepare yourselves for the increasingly interconnected and complex world of the 21st century and show what you know!

Info for Council Hosts | Info for Sponsors | AWQ Endowment


Preparing the next generation of leaders, scholars, and decision-makers to thrive in a rapidly changing world - where our national interests are intertwined with the global community - is one of the greatest challenges facing our country. It requires a renewed enthusiasm for global studies in our high schools. Too many American students today fall behind their counterparts from other countries in their knowledge and understanding of world history, geography, and current international events.

The mission of Academic WorldQuest is to close the gap.

Program Structure

A World Affairs Council in your area will provide key dates and information to high school teachers and students for local Academic WorldQuest programs. Teams consist of four students plus alternates who are passionate about current international politics, geography, global economics, history, and world cultures. Typically, teams prepare in an after-school setting over the course of several months. You can read instructions and rules in our Operations Paper here.

2019 Academic WorldQuest Agenda

Friday, April 26

Time: 12:00 - 3:00 pm

Time: 4:00 - 6:00 pm

Transportation: DC Metro, Uber/Lyft, Taxis

Light refreshments will be served

Saturday, April 27

Time: 9:00 am - 1:30 pm

Transportation: Buses will pick up at approximately 8:30 am from the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel

There will be no buses from USIP back to the hotel after the competition is over.

Any teams that have not registered by this point may do so at the beginning of the competition.

**Lunch will be served. The lunch is only intended for students (including alternates) and chaperones. If there is lunch leftover, other guests may eat as well. We will have a few dietary restriction      options but cannot accommodate all diets. If you have unique restrictions, it may be a good idea to bring some snacks.


Sign Up for the 2019 AWQ National Competition

If you are a staff member of a Member Council and would like to participate in WACA's 2019 AWQ National Compeition, please see the Pledge Form here to sign up. It's due on November 9, 2018. If you are a high school student or a member of the public, please find your local Council here to get involved! Click here to see participating Councils, dates, and winners (as available) for local AWQ Competitions around the country.

AWQ Study Guide and Topics

The World Affairs Councils of America’s AWQ 2018-2019 Official Study Guide is the primary resource to help students and teachers prepare for the topics covered in the timed question-and-answer AWQ competitions hosted by local Councils. Councils may adapt these topics to align with their local programming initiatives.

AWQ 2018-2019 Topics were announced in mid-September. The AWQ Study Guide is also an essential resource for the Carlos and Malú Alvarez Academic WorldQuest National Competition, hosted by WACA every April in Washington, DC.

Winning teams are invited to represent their high school, city, and local Council at the national AWQ championship weekend, which includes the competition, unique programming planned to enhance the global education experience, and an opportunity to meet and engage with more than 200 like-minded peers from around the United States.

2018-2019 Topics

  • Country in Focus: Qatar
  • How to Deal with North Korea
  • Global Refugee and Migration Crisis
  • #WeAreNATO – The Alliance at 70
  • Great Decisions
  • Japan-U.S. Relations
  • Space Policy
  • World Trade Organization (WTO)
  • Bridging Divides to Build Peace
  • Current Events
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