Adolescents/Youth (13-19 years)
The World Affairs Challenge (WAC) is an ideas competition that is held annually for middle and high school students. Students organize into teams under the guidance of a sponsoring teacher and work on solutions to a global challenge that WAC posits each year.
The WAC competition includes three main components: an Online Quiz, a Formal Presentation, and a Collaborative Question session. The Online Quiz is completed prior to or during the day of competition by each of the participating students. For the Formal Presentation, teams of approximately 8 students select and study some aspect of the challenge topic over a period of months, and develop a presentation that is delivered to a panel of volunteer judges on the day of the WAC event. After Formal Presentations are complete, students are assigned to new teams with students from other schools whom they have likely not met, and are presented with a prepared global issue (the "Collaborative Question") to digest; teams must discuss the issue, decide on a solution, and present their chosen course of action to a group of volunteer judges that same day. Both teams and individual scores are assigned in each of the categories and results are tabulated on the day of the competition. The competition day ends with an awards session recognizing the best presentations and individual scores.
Teachers regularly report on the positive impact participating in the WAC has had on their students. Key outcomes of the WAC events as measured by surveys include: 100% of teachers surveyed either agreed or strongly agreed that the WAC experience increased their student's knowledge and understanding of complexities and interdependence of world events and issues, connections between sustainability and global issues and world and human geography. All of the teachers indicated that their students learned to research, collaborate, and gain confidence by presenting to new audience while gaining a greater awareness as a global citizen as a direct result of their participation in the WAC program. More than 90% of students rated teamwork, global awareness, and what they learned as a 4 or 5 on a scale of 1-5 rating category (93.9%, 93.9%, and 90.0% respectively). These ratings reinforce the teachers' view and the value of the event with regard to learning.