The World Affairs Challenge is an academic program that challenges middle and high school students to think about their relationship to the rest of the world, while taking part in a fun, day-long tournament. Sponsored by the Center for Teaching International Relations, the tournament builds teamwork, leadership, research, critical thinking, public speaking and problem solving skills, while strengthening students’ understanding of global affairs.
Students who participate in the Challenge are largely from the Denver area, though teams from Bayfield, Pueblo, Steamboat Springs, Colorado Springs, and other rural school districts also attend. This year, CTIR expects the combined attendance at the tournament to be about 300 students.
As part of the tournament, students research and prepare a creative presentation on a global issue or challenge, including their recommendations for addressing the challenge. On tournament day, students give their presentation before a panel of judges comprised of community members and leaders. Presentations often take the form of skits, talk shows, mock news broadcasts, or other formats in which students use music, costumes, and art to explain their chosen issue and its importance. The students will focus their presentations on concrete challenges that fall under a main theme still to be announced. This theme allows students to research and present on a wide range of topics. In addition to a Formal Presentation, students participate in the Collaborative Question, a problem-solving simulation, based on a real-world crisis, with students from other schools. Prior to the tournament day, students also take a quiz on global events and geography
The World Affairs Challenge especially seeks to engage students from under-served schools in learning about global affairs. Over 1/3 of registered teams past events came from the national AVID program, designed to assist students from low-income and minority families prepare for and attend college. CTIR is working with the Denver Council on Foreign Relations and the World Affairs Council of Colorado Springs and others to offer team scholarships to offset the costs of participating to as many schools as possible. Scholarships are available on a limited basis with demonstrated financial need.
“There is little more inspiring than watching several hundred teenagers try to solve the world’s problem in a day….” Read an article describing the World Affairs Challenge printed in ICOSA magazine.
For more detailed information about the 2014 challenge, please visit the World Affairs Challenge website.