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

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 18th year. WACA has expanded the program to some 50 Councils that host local AWQ 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 staff member of a Member Council and would like to participate in WACA's 2020 AWQ National Compeition, please see register via the Pledge Form. Please use these flyers to promote the Academic WorldQuest program to teachers, students, and sponsors: Teacher's Guide and Flyer. There is no maximum number of teams that are required for local AWQ competitions. 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. 

For Councils interested in launching an Academic WorldQuest™ program for high schools in your area, please read WACA's 2020 Operations Paper.

Click here to see participating Councils, dates, and winners (as available) for local 2018-2019 AWQ Competitions around the country. We will update for the 2019-2020 season as information becomes available.

AWQ Study Guide and Topics

The World Affairs Councils of America’s AWQ 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. 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. Typically, teams prepare in an after-school setting over the course of several months.

AWQ 2019-2020 Topics were 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 200 likeminded peers from around the United States.

2019-2020 AWQ Topics

  • U.S.-Russia Relations
  • Country in Focus: South Korea
  • Preventing Extremism in Fragile States
  • Oceans: The World's Garbage Dump
  • Great Decisions
    • Refugees and Global Migration
    • The Middle East: Regional Disorder
    • Nuclear Negotiations: Back to the Future?
    • The Rise of Populism in Europe
    • Decoding U.S.-China Trade
    • Cyber Conflict and Geopolitics
    • The United States and Mexico: Partnership Tested
    • State of the State Department and Diplomacy
  • 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

2019 AWQ National Competition Highlights

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