Academic WorldQuest Global Affairs Challenge Update

Pledge your school’s participation today!

The 2022 Anne Smedinghoff

Academic WorldQuest

HS Global Affairs Challenge

The Tennessee World Affairs Council (TNWAC) Anne Smedinghoff Academic WorldQuest (AWQ) is the flagship youth education program of the Tennessee World Affairs Council and the national network of World Affairs Councils of America (WACA). High school students from across Tennessee are invited to play. TNWAC has also welcomed teams from other states who do not have a nearby AWQ program available.

The TNWAC AWQ program is named in honor of Anne Smedinghoff, a United States Foreign Service Officer posted at the U.S. Embassy, Kabul Afghanistan. She was killed in the line of duty in 2013 by a car bomb while an American team was delivering books to an Afghan school. Learn more about Anne Smedinghoff HERE.

WorldQuest is a team game testing high school students’ knowledge of international affairs. In the game, four-person teams compete by answering multiple-choice questions divided into ten engaging thematic categories (below). Academic WorldQuest is unique to the World Affairs Council system.

The Tennessee World Affairs Council organizes a TNWAC Championship Match and a practice match each AWQ season. The competitions are held in person at Belmont University. If public health considerations do not permit in-person competition, other arrangements will be made. However, as of November 1, 2021 TNWAC plans to hold the championship match in person, with appropriate safety measure in place.

The top-ranked Tennessee WAC finisher in the competition will be designated the TNWAC champions and will represent TNWAC at the National Championship match in Washington, D.C., April 29-30, 2022 at the United States Institute of Peace.

The Tennessee World Affairs Council will provide an escort for the team visit to Washington and will schedule visits to international affairs institutions and organizations. In the past these have included foreign embassies, think tanks, NGOs and Capitol Hill visits with Congressional representatives.

WorldQuest is a flagship program of the World Affairs Council’s education outreach efforts and is integrated with other elements such as the “What in the World?” Weekly Quiz — which sharpens students’ knowledge of current global events and the “Global Scholars Diploma” program.

Plans for 2021-2022


  • PLEASE PLEDGE a school/team NOW. This non-binding enrollment allows us to plan for the competition and to share WorldQuest information directly with schools and teams. You do not need to have formed teams in order to pledge your school/team. LINK HERE
  • DECEMBER 5, 2021 (1:00pm CT) — PRACTICE MATCH (optional) via Zoom. 
  • JANUARY 15-JANUARY 31, 2022 – LATE REGISTRATION FOR CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH (WorldQuest T-shirts will not be available for these teams until after the Feb 6 match.)
  • JANUARY 23, 2022 – PRACTICE MATCH (optional) via Zoom
  • APRIL 28-29, 2022 Tennessee Championship Team to Washington, DC for visits to international institutions.
  • APRIL 29-30, 2022 Academic WorldQuest National Championship Reception (Friday) and Match (Saturday), hosted at the United States Institute of Peace


  • Teams can prepare for the competition by reviewing the AWQ Study Guide. Questions for nine topics are drawn directly from the Study Guide. The Current Events category questions are drawn from the TNWAC “What in the World? Weekly Quiz” from the SIX weeks of quizzes preceding each event. The quiz is published every Monday and students can subscribe to the Quiz by joining the TNWAC newsletter list on the home page, and at this LINK.
  • Students are encouraged to review the TNWAC Global Scholar Certificate Program and use their participation in WorldQuest as credit toward completion.

Carlos and Malú Alvarez National Championship Match. The World Affairs Councils of America will host a national match among many of the 90+ WACs from around the country.

The national competition is attended by 200-250 of the nation’s most promising high school students each year, along with their parents, teachers, and chaperones. The 4-hour AWQ competition is a unique opportunity for students to visit the nation’s capital, perhaps for the first time. A weekend of substantive programming is included to enhance the experience.

Prizes. TNWAC will announce prizes for the TNWAC Championship Match and WACA will announce prizes for the National Championship Match.

Academic WorldQuest 2022 Topics

  1. Where Climate and Migration Meet
  2. Afghanistan: End of the 20-Year U.S.-Led Intervention
  3. A Human-Centered Agenda for the Future of Work
  4. CDC and the Global Health Agenda
  5. Technology and Democracy: Threat or Promise?
  6. Great Decisions *
  7. 21st Century Money: Dollars to Digital Currencies
  8. Working for Peace Through Legacies of War: The Case of Vietnam
  9. Insecurity in China’s Neighborhood
  10. Current Events

* TNWAC Practice and Championship matches will NOT include the Great Decisions category. A second Current Events topic round will be substituted. (The Great Decisions category is based on a magazine available for sale. The winning TNWAC championship team will receive copies of the magazine to prepare for the National Championship match.)

Study Guide

The AWQ Study Guide provides the topics and reference materials used in the TNWAC practice match and championship match, except for the “Current Events” questions. Current events questions are drawn from the “What in the World? Weekly Quiz.” Get the quiz by signing up for the TNWAC newsletter list on our home page.

For more information on TNWAC’s Anne Smedinghoff Academic WorldQuest (AWQ) program contact Catherine Kelly, Education Outreach Coordinator at < > and Patrick Ryan at < >


THE MISSION of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Tennessee World Affairs Council is to promote international awareness, understanding and connections to enhance the region’s global stature and to prepare Tennesseans to thrive in our increasingly complex and connected world.

THE VISION of  the Tennessee World Affairs Council is a well-informed community that thinks critically about the world and the impact of global events.