Competition History

The Carlos and MalĂș Alvarez Academic WorldQuest National Competition Details

The Carlos and Malú Alvarez Academic WorldQuest National Competition honors the tremendous dedication and philanthropic support of WACA National Board member Carlos Alvarez and his wife to our flagship program and the Academic WorldQuest Endowment Fund.

The national competition is attended by more than 225 of the nation's most promising high school students, along with their parents, teachers, and chaperones. The 5-hour AWQ competition is a unique opportunity for many students to visit the nation's capital for the first time.

2017 Competition Winners

First Place: Plano West Senior High School - World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth
Christina Lu, Richard Guo, Cindy Hao, and Sandipan Nath
$3,000 Scholarship for each student towards  CIEE Summer Study Abroad Program

Second Place: Millburn High School - International Center of the Capital Region
Danny Rosen, Isaac Kamber, Victoria Mak, and Katherine Tai
$2,000 Scholarship for each student towards  CIEE Summer Study Abroad Program

Third Place: duPont Manual High School - World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana
Mark Raj, Agharnan Gandhi, Abilash Thout, and Aditya Mehta

Click here to see the questions and answers for this year's national competition.

Thank you to our sponsors: The Gambrinus CompanyThe United States Institute of PeaceJohnson+SterlingCIEESultan Qaboos Cultural Center, and APSIA.

The Carlos and Malú Alvarez Academic WorldQuest 2017 National Competition would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of students, teachers, parents, chaperones, and all World Affairs Council staff and volunteers across the country. Thank you for helping to make the competition a great success!

Welcoming Reception and Guest Speaker

Thank you to the United States Institute of Peace for hosting this year's welcome reception and to USIP President Nancy Lindborg who made welcoming remarks entitled "Peacebuilding in Practice," at the reception.

Reception photos by the United States Institute of Peace available here (Album 1 and Album 2).

Check out Guest Speaker Omar El Aawar's well-received presentation entitled "My Story." El Aawar is the founder of INSPIRING ARABS and an AWQ 2015 Alum.

National Competition

The Carlos and Malú Alvarez 2017 Academic WorldQuest National Competition was held on Saturday, April 29 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

This year's National Competition featured a welcome reception at the U.S. Institute of Peace on Friday, April 28, from 4:30-6:00 PM. Students had a unique opportunity to engage with Institute staff and learn more about USIP's important work around the world. USIP also sponsored the "Peace and Conflict in Today's World" category of the competition.

The Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE) is sponsoring the 2017 Academic WorldQuest National Competition. CIEE is the world leader in study abroad and international exchange programs. They have 23 locations worldwide, and 3 different High School Summer Abroad Programs that students participate in every year. CIEE's High School Summer Abroad Programs are truly once-in-a-lifetime experiences that are specifically created for high school students who love to travel and broaden their horizons.

As part of its sponsorship, CIEE will provide scholarships for High School Summer Abroad Programs to students in the top two placing teams at the National Competition. Students may utilize these scholarships in Summer 2017 or Summer 2018.

AWQ 2017 Champion Team: $3,000 Scholarship/student

Second-Place Team: $2,000 Scholarship/student

Council VIPs for the AWQ National Competition are:

  • Emcee: Joyce Davis, World Affairs Council of Harrisburg
  • Judge: Rich Crepage, World Affairs Council of NW Ohio
  • Judge: Leslie Palmer, World Affairs Council of San Antonio
  • Judge: Pat Ryan, Tennessee World Affairs Council


2016-2017 Topics

  • Global Megacities 
  • Great Decisions
  • Peace and Conflict in Today's World (USIP)
  • Current Events
  • European Union 
  • Countering Violent Extremism
  • Turkey
  • Combatting Infectious Disease
  • China
  • Women in Technology

The Academic WorldQuest Endowment Campaign 

Academic WorldQuest, a flagship program of the World Affairs Councils of America that engages more than 4,000 high school students annually across the U.S. to test their knowledge of global issues and foreign policy, has received a $500,000 contribution from a generous supporter. Carlos Alvarez of San Antonio, Texas, a businessman and philanthropist who serves on the WACA National Board of Directors, made the donation as part of the nonprofit organization’s campaign to endow the Academic WorldQuest national competition. He is making the gift with his wife, Malú – the gift would be the largest to date for any World Affairs Councils of America fundraising initiative.

“Mr. and Mrs. Alvarez’s generosity is an inspiring affirmation of the purpose of Academic WorldQuest – to offer young people a fun and interactive way to learn about critical challenges facing the U.S. and the world – and their gift will enable WACA to sustain and expand the Academic WorldQuest national competition while enhancing support for educational programs provided by 96 local nonprofit World Affairs Councils,” says Bill Clifford, WACA President and CEO. “They truly understand the value of educating and engaging the public, and especially students, in international affairs and we are incredibly grateful for their commitment. Read More

Great Decisions

Please Note: The Great Decisions 2016 Briefing Book is required study material for the National Competition. However, the Briefing Book will NOT be required reading for local competitions. In order to prepare for local competitions, students should study the online resources outlined in the Study Guide.  

Council Information 

To confirm your Council's participation in the 2016-2017 Academic WorldQuest, please submit this Pledge Form by October 12, 2016. Local competition questions have been shared with all Council AWQ contacts. 

Please use these flyers to promote the Academic WorldQuest program to teachers, students, and sponsors: Teacher Guide and Flyer. To learn more information about hosting your own local AWQ competition, please read WACA's 2017 Operations Paper.

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