Info for Councils

Academic WorldQuest™ is a fun, friendly, and powerful team-based knowledge competition designed for high school students keen to learn about international affairs. This flagship program involves both locally sponsored AWQ contests as well as the AWQ championship in the nation's capital. Students, with teacher guidance, need to be prepared for the increasingly interconnected and complex world of the 21st century and Academic WorldQuest lets them show what they know!

Info for High Schools | Info for Sponsors | AWQ Endowment

The 2020-2021 AWQ Study Guide has been updated!

The Carlos and Malú Alvarez 2021 Academic WorldQuest National Competition is scheduled for April 17. Please check back regularly for announcements, updates, and resources.

2021 New Guideline!
Due to the AWQ National Competition being virtual in 2021 and endeavoring to be as inclusive as possible, each Council may bring up to three (3) teams to the National Competition - whether you have a local competition or not. Even if your Council joins another Council's competition remotely, each Council may bring up to three (3) teams to WACA's virtual National Competition in April. We look forward to your participation! If you have questions about this, please email Laura Duncan at
Originating as a global trivia contest created by the World Affairs Council of Charlotte, Academic WorldQuest has been developed by the World Affairs Councils of America as a flagship youth education program, now in its 19th year. WACA has expanded the program to some 50 Councils that host local competitions annually that engage nearly 5,000 high school students nationwide. The program culminates in the Carlos and Malú Alvarez Academic WorldQuest National Competition each spring in Washington, DC.

Prepare yourselves for the increasingly interconnected and complex world of the 21st century and show what you know!


Preparing the next generation of leaders, scholars, and decision-makers to thrive in a complex and 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.


If you are a Council staff member, Please see the 2021 AWQ Study GuideOperations Paper, Teachers Guide, and Flyer for useful information about launching an Academic WorldQuest™ program for the 2020-2021 AWQ season. There is no minimum or maximum number of teams that are required for local AWQ competitions, and WACA encourages Councils to engage as many regional high schools as possible. Teams must consist of four high school students 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. 

Find a list of all participating Councils, local competition dates, and links for more details here!

AWQ Study Guide and Topics

The World Affairs Councils of America’s 2020-2021 AWQ Study Guide is the primary resource to help students and teachers prepare for the topics covered in timed question-and-answer AWQ competitions hosted by local Councils. WACA will distribute local competition questions with all Council AWQ contacts. Councils may adapt the topics (and questions) to align with their local programming initiatives. However, using WACA's designated topics and questions will allow your local team to be more competitive at the National Competition in April. Typically, teams prepare in an after-school setting over the course of several months.

AWQ 2020-2021 Topics will be announced in mid-September. The AWQ Official 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 250 likeminded peers from around the United States. All participating Councils must fill out a National Competition Registration Form with the winning team's information immediately following the completion of its local AWQ competition.

2020-2021 AWQ 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 DecisionsCountry in Focus: Uzbekistan Exploring Peace in a World of Conflict
    • Climate Change and the Global Order
    • India and Pakistan
    • Rea Sea Security
    • Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking
    • U.S. Relations with the Northern Triangle
    • China’s Road into Latin America
    • The Philippines and the U.S.
    • Artificial Intelligence and Data
  • Country in Focus: Uzbekistan
  • Exploring Peace in a World of Conflict
  • Fraying Alliances
  • Looking to a Post-Pandemic Economy
  • Current Events

2019 AWQ National Competition Highlights


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