AWQ Competition History (2011-2020)

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 Malú to our flagship program and the Academic WorldQuest Endowment Fund. The national competition is attended by more than 250 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.

2020 Competition Information

**COVID-19 Update: The in-person Carlos and Malú Alvarez 2020 Academic WorldQuest National Competition, originally scheduled for April 24-25, was canceled and was not postponed or held virtually. This difficult decision came after carefully monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., the World Health Organization's declaration of a pandemic, hearing about local restrictions on high school student travel, and conversations within the Network. WACA congratulated the students and Councils on all their hard work throughout the 2019-2020 AWQ season.

Nancy Lindborg, President and CEO of the United States Institute of Peace, delivered a virtual keynote address to the Council Network and all Academic WorldQuest students and teachers on May 28, 2020: "COVID and Conflict, Pandemics and Peace: The Road Ahead." (Watch below.) In light of the current pandemic and the unfortunate but necessary cancelation of the Carlos and Malú Alvarez 2020 Academic WorldQuest National Competition, Nancy addressed the students and teachers along with the national audience. She explored the unprecedented threats the coronavirus poses to fragile states and the important opportunities the pandemic offers to help fragile states recover better. A question-and-answer session followed Nancy's remarks.

Click here to see a list of all participating Councils with information such as local competition dates and winning teams.

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 Competition Information

Winners and Prizes

First Place: Jasper High School – World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth
Pranav Pattatathunaduvil, Renee Li, Adithya Karthik, and Michelle Ma
An all-expenses-paid Study Tour to Doha, Qatar - joined by the 10 winners of the WACA 2019 Qatar Essay & Video Contest and two WACA representatives.

Second Place: duPont Manual High School – World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana
Aditya Mehta, Agharnan Gandhi, Andrew Smith, and Jackson Arnold

Third Place: Mount Academy – World Affairs Council of the Mid-Hudson Valley
Alec Koppschall, Karilyn Domer, Kent Thomson, and Heidi Keiderling

2019 AWQ First Place Team  2019 AWQ Second Place Team  2019 AWQ Third Place Team

Competition Details

A welcome reception was held on Friday, April 26, at the Qatar-America Institute. Photos available here.

2019 AWQ Reception    2019 AWQ Reception    2019 AWQ Reception

The Carlos and Malú Alvarez 2019 Academic WorldQuest National Competition was held on Saturday, April 27, at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, DC. Photos available here and here.

Council VIPs for the 2019 AWQ National Competition were:

Click here to see the questions and answers for this year's National Competition.

Thank you to our sponsors: The Embassy of the State of QatarThe Gambrinus CompanyThe United States Institute of PeaceJohnson+Sterling, the Foreign Policy AssociationSasakawa Peace Foundation USA, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, and NATO.    

2018-2019 AWQ Topics

  • Country in Focus: Qatar
  • How to Deal With North Korea
  • Global Refugee and Migration Crisis
  • #WeAreNATO - The Alliance at 70
  • Great Decisions
    • Waning of Pax Americana?
    • Russia's Foreign Policy
    • China's Geopolitics
    • Media and Foreign Policy
    • Turkey: Partner in Crisis
    • U.S. Global Engagement and the Military
    • South Africa's Fragile Democracy
    • Global Health Issues
  • Japan-U.S. Relations
  • Space Policy
  • World Trade Organization (WTO)
  • Bridging Divides to Build Peace
  • Current Events

2018 Competition Information 

Winners and Prizes

First place: Plano West Senior High School - World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth
Richard Guo, Sandipan Nath, Cindy Hao, and Christina Lu
Microsoft® Surface Book 2 HN4-00001 13.5" 2-In-1 Laptop

Watch the Dallas/Fort Worth NBC channel's story on the winning team!

Second place: Palm Desert High School - World Affairs Council of the Desert
Matthew Chang, Patricia Dan, Danielle Hjerpe, and Joshua Phillips
Dell XPS 13" 2-in-1 laptops

Third place: Indian Hill High School - World Affairs Council of Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky
Mark Kholodenko, Llyona Lallement, Radu Dragomirescu, and Asher Weinstein

Competition Details 

A welcome reception was held on Friday, April 27, at the United States Institute of Peace. Photos available here and here.

The Carlos and Malú Alvarez 2018 Academic WorldQuest National Competition was held on Saturday, April 28, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

Council VIPs for the 2018 AWQ National Competition were:

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+Sterling, the Foreign Policy Association, and Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA.

2017-2018 AWQ Topics

  • NAFTA
  • ASEAN at 50
  • India's Bid for Global Power
  • Combating Climate Change
  • Cybersecurity
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Great Decisions
    • The Future of Europe
    • Trade and Politics
    • Conflict in the South China Sea
    • Saudi Arabia in Transition
    • U.S. Foreign Policy and Petroleum
    • Latin America's Political Pendulum
    • Prospects for Afghanistan and Pakistan
    • Nuclear Security
  • The Peacebuilding Toolkit
  • America's Diplomats
  • Current Events

2017 Competition Information

Winners and Prizes

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

Competition Details

A welcome reception on Friday, April 28, was held at the United States Institute of Peace. Photos 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.

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

Council VIPs for the 2017 AWQ National Competition were:

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+SterlingCouncil on International Educational Exchange (CIEE)Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center, and Association of Professional School of International Affairs.

2016-2017 AWQ Topics

  • Global Megacities 
  • Great Decisions
    • Middle East Alliances
    • The Rise of ISIS
    • The Future of Kurdistan
    • Migration
    • The Koreas
    • The United Nations
    • Climate Change
    • Cuba and the U.S.
  • Peace and Conflict in Today's World
  • Current Events
  • European Union 
  • Countering Violent Extremism
  • Turkey
  • Combatting Infectious Disease
  • China
  • Women in Technology

2016 Competition Information

Winners and Prizes

First Place: Keystone School - World Affairs Council of San Antonio
Christopher Zhu, Emily Ye, Katie Mansfield, and Nabil Kapasi
$3,000 Scholarship for each student towards CIEE Summer Study Abroad Program

Second Place: Saint Edward's School - World Affairs Council of Palm Beach
Fawaz Naeem, Katie Alerte, Kishore Chundi, and Zachary Alerte
$2,000 Scholarship for each student towards CIEE Summer Study Abroad Program

Third Place: Plano West Senior High School - World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth
Ankit Reddy, Inan Sinha, Noah Schochet, and Varsha Menon

Competition Details

A welcome reception on Friday, April 22, was held at the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center with remarks from H.E. Hunaina Sultan Ahmed Al Mughairy, Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman to the U.S. 

The Carlos and Malú Alvarez 2016 Academic WorldQuest National Competition was held on Saturday, April 23, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

Council VIPs for the 2016 AWQ National Competition were:

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+SterlingCouncil on International Educational Exchange (CIEE)Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center, and Association of Professional School of International Affairs.

2015-2016 AWQ Topics

  • NATO
  • Privacy in the Digital Age
  • International Trade and Finance
  • Current Events
  • Asia Matters for America
  • The Arctic
  • Food Security
  • Organization of American States
  • Great Decisions
    • Russia and the Near Abroad
    • Privacy in the Digital Age
    • Sectarianism in the Middle East
    • India Changes Course
    • U.S. Policy Toward Africa
    • Syria's Refugee Crisis
    • Human Trafficking in the 21st Century
    • Brazil's Metamorphosis
  • Sultanate of Oman

2015 Competition Information

Winners and Prizes

First Place: duPont Manual High School - World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana
Madan Subheeswar, Matthew Raj, Niveita Khandkar, and Shravan Ravishankar
$2,500 Scholarship for each student towards CIEE Summer Study Abroad Program

Second Place: Keystone School - World Affairs Council of San Antonio
Christopher Zhu, Emily Ye, Katie Mansfield, and Nabil Kapasi
$1,000 Scholarship for each student towards CIEE Summer Study Abroad Program

Third Place: Shepton High School - World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth
Ankit Reddy, Inan Sinha, Noah Schochet, and Sharon Jiang

Competition Details

A welcome reception on Friday, April 24, was held at the EU Ambassador's Residence with remarks from H.E. David O'Sullivan, Ambassador of the European Union to the U.S. 

The Carlos and Malú Alvarez 2015 Academic WorldQuest National Competition was held on Saturday, April 25, at the Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center in Washington, DC.

Council VIPs for the 2015 AWQ National Competition were:

Click here to see the questions and answers for this year's National Competition.

Thank you to our sponsors: The Gambrinus CompanyNATOJohnson+SterlingInvestment Company Institute Education Foundation, Carlson Family FoundationCouncil on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), European Union Delegation to the U.S., and Foreign Affairs.

2014-2015 AWQ Topics

  • Russia/Eurasia
  • Youth, Jobs, and Social Unrest
  • Food and Water
  • Asia and the New Global Economy
  • Great Decisions
    • Defense Technology
    • Israel and the U.S.
    • Turkey's Challenges
    • Islamic Awakening
    • Energy Independence
    • Food and Climate
    • China's Foreign Policy
    • U.S. Trade Policy
  • Millenium Development Goals: 2015 and Beyond
  • Human Trafficking
  • Africa Rising
  • Future of Energy
  • Current Events

2014 Competition Information

Winners and Prizes

First Place: Plano West Senior High School - World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth
Catherine Zhang, Jeffrey Chang, Sidharth Kapur, and Qjanqian Yang
12-month online subscription to Rosetta Stone Language Learning

Second Place: Keystone School - World Affairs Council of San Antonio
Christopher Zhu, Emily Ye, Katie Mansfield, and Nabil Kapasi
6-month online subscription to Rosetta Stone Language Learning

Third Place: Georgetown Day School - World Affairs Council of DC
Amenah El Sharif, Hala Mattar, Mari Khaled Ezzat, and Zeina Gohar

Competition Details

A welcome reception on Friday, April 25, was held at the Embassy of the Republic of Singapore with remarks from Ambassador Ashok Kumar Mirpuri, Ambassador of the Republic of Singapore to the U.S., and Tania Koh, First Secretary.

The 2014 Academic WorldQuest National Competition was held on Saturday, April 26, at the Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center in Washington, DC.

Council VIPs for the 2014 AWQ National Competition were:

Click here to see the questions and answers for this year's National Competition.

Thank you to our sponsors: Rosetta Stone, Embassy of the Republic of Singapore, OneForeign Affairs, Bill and Judy Wheelock, and Michael Phillip.

2013-2014 AWQ Topics

  • Cybersecurity
  • U.S. Energy Policy
  • Global Environmental Issues
  • Global Economic Realignment
  • Middle East
  • U.S. Education
  • UN Millenium Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger
  • Global Health
  • Geography
  • Current Events

2013 Competition Information

Winners and Prizes

First Place: Plano West Senior High School - World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth
Carlos Molina, Jeffrey Chang, Jonathan Huang, and Samuel Chang
Subscription to Gallup's WorldView tool

Second Place: Community School of Naples - Naples Council on World Affairs
Jose Sandoval, Kara Bressler, Mark McElwaine, and Max Bressler
Subscription to Gallup's WorldView tool

Third Place: Maggie L. Walker Governor's School - Richmond World Affairs Council
Christine Gao, Christopher Benos, John Metz, and Kevin Yuan

Competition Details

A welcome reception on Friday, April 26, was held at Georgetown University with a panel discussion on "From Graduation to DC: Paths to a Career in Foreign Policy" featuring Kelsey Hartigan, Nuclear Threat Initiative, Adam Johnson, U.S. Department of State, and Jackie Quiñones, House Foreign Affairs Committee Staff.

The 2013 Academic WorldQuest National Competition was held on Saturday, April 27, at the Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center in Washington, DC.

Council VIPs for the 2013 AWQ National Competition were:

  • Judge: Bill Clifford, WACA (previously WorldBoston)
  • Judge: Rich Crepage, WACA National Board Member

Click here to see the questions and answers for this year's National Competition.

Thank you to our sponsors: Exxon Mobil, Merrill Lynch, New Mind EducationU.S. Department of State, Weber Shandwick, Gallup, Foreign Policy, and Woodrow Wilson international Center for Scholars.

2012-2013 AWQ Topics

  • U.S. Education: Competing Globally
  • U.S. Economic Competitiveness
  • U.S. Energy Policy
  • Middle East
  • Afghanistan/Pakistan
  • China
  • UN Millenium Goals: Environmental Sustainability
  • Geography
  • Current Events
  • Cuban Missile Crisis: 50th Anniversary

2012 Competition Information

Winners and Prizes

First Place: Plano West Senior High School - World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth
Angela Meng, Manideep Ravi, Patricia Chen, and Taylor A'Latorre
Lenovo ThinkPad Edge 420 laptop

Second Place: Keystone School - World Affairs Council of San Antonio
Daniel Quintero, Drew, Schaffer, Eric Duan, and Garrett Hinck
Lenovo A1 IdeaPad tablet

Third Place: Walpole High School - WorldBoston
John Kelsey, Jungbin Lim, Kevin Delaney, and Ross Bubly
Lenovo A1 IdeaPad tablet

Fourth Place: Desert Christian Academy - World Affairs Council of the Desert
Christie Matthews, Georgie Matthews, Hunter Huria, and William Nelson
Lenovo A1 IdeaPad tablet

Competition Details

A welcome reception on Friday, April 20, was held at the Embassy of the People's Republic of China with remarks from Ambassador Zhang Yesui, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the U.S.

The 2012 Academic WorldQuest National Competition was held on Saturday, April 21, at the Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center in Washington, DC.

Council VIPs for the 2012 AWQ National Competition were:

Click here to see the questions and answers for this year's National Competition.

Thank you to our sponsors: Exxon MobilNATO, and Lenovo. 

2011-2012 AWQ Topics

  • U.S. Education: Competing Globally
  • U.S. Energy Policy
  • U.S. Economic Competitiveness
  • Middle East
  • Afghanistan/Pakistan
  • China
  • NATO
  • UN Millenium Goals: Child Health
  • Azerbaijan
  • Current Events

2011 Competition Information

Competition Details

A welcome reception on Friday, April 29, was held at European Union Delegation to the U.S.

The 2011 Academic WorldQuest National Competition was held on Saturday, April 30, at the Georgetown University Hotel and Conference Center in Washington, DC. Following the competition, a panel discussion was held on "Europe: Lessons for Managing Global Change" featuring Fran Burwell, The Atlantic Council, Myles Geiran, Embassy of Ireland, David Bailey, Exxon Mobil, and Jonathan Parish, NATO.

Council VIPs for the 2011 AWQ National Competition were:

Click here to see the questions and answers for this year's National Competition.

Thank you to our sponsors: Exxon Mobil and NATO

2010-2011 AWQ Topics

  • Energy
  • World Religions
  • Great Decisions
    • The Special Envoy in American Foreign Policy
    • Halting Atrocities in Kenya
    • Transnational Crime: Globalization's Shadowy Stepchild
    • China Looks at the World: The World Looks at China
    • The Global Financial Crisis and Its Effects
    • Europe's 'Far East': The Uncertain Frontier
    • The U.S. and the Persian Gulf
    • Enhancing Security Through Peacebuilding
  • Freedom of the Press
  • Milennium Goals: Gender Equality
  • Global Governance/International Organizations
  • Europe
  • Global Health
  • Ireland
  • Current Events 
Contact Us

1010 Vermont Avenue NW, Suite 516
Washington, DC 20005
Phone 202-833-4557 | Email

Stay Informed

Subscribe to the weekly email newsletter to receive updates on the issues that matter most.
Privacy Policy

© 2022 World Affairs Councils of America
Privacy Policy