Academic WorldQuest | High School


The 2021 Anne Smedinghoff Academic WorldQuest Global Affairs Challenge

Academic WorldQuest – High School

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 usually held in person at Belmont University. For the 2021 Championship Match and the practice round the competitions will be virtual events. TNWAC will collaborate with several other Councils.

The top-ranked Tennessee WAC finisher in the competition will be designated the TNWAC champions. However all of the TOP THREE TNWAC TEAMS will advance to the National Championship of WorldQuest hosted by the World Affairs Councils of America national office in Washington, DC in April 2021. The National Championship match will be a virtual event this year.

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 2020-2021

  • Registration for the 2021 Academic WorldQuest competition is now open. Register here.
  • This year there is NO CHARGE for registration.
  • 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 week’s 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.
  • TNWAC AWQ practices and competition for 2021 will be done virtually, via the collaboration platform and and other online resources. Detailed instructions on using these tools will be provided to registered teams in advance of each event.
  • The Practice Match will be held on Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 1pm CT. Deadline to register is Monday, February 1, 2021 at 12:00pm CT. Registration is done via pledge form (below).
  • The TNWAC Championship Match will be held Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 1pm CT.  Deadline to pledge a team is Monday, March 1, 2021 at 12:00pm CT. Registration is done via pledge form (below).

For both the Practice Match and the Championship Match students do not need to be present with one another. We will make provisions for students to participate as a team but from separate locations.

TNWAC Championship Match. Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 1pm CT

Held as part of a regional competition including WACs from New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Illinois and New York. (TNWACs top three teams will advance.) The program will include:

  • Pre-Match Tabling. Students can virtually visit tables hosted by colleges and other organizations 30 minutes before the match start.
  • Half-time Speaker. An innovation this year is for a speaker to deliver remarks to the teams during the match half-time break. Our friends at the Maine WAC have arranged for Dr. Karim Haggag, co-managing editor of the Cairo Review of Global Affairs, Professor of Practice in Global Affairs, and the Director of the Middle East Studies Center at the American University in Cairo. [Bio]

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 Championship Match will be a virtual event.

Prizes. TNWAC will announce prizes for the TNWAC Championship Match (regional collaboration) and the National Championship Match.


  • Team registration is NOW OPEN. Use this FORM to register teams to participate. One registration per team. There are no restrictions on number of teams per school. Our aim is to involve as many students as possible in AWQ.
  • TNWAC will follow up with Teachers/Coaches to provide support, answer questions, and whether the team will participate in both the practice and championship events.
  • Deadline to register for the practice match is Monday, February 1, 2021 at 12:00pm CT. Registration is done via pledge form (below).
  • Deadline to pledge a team for the Championship match is Monday, March 1, 2021 at 12:00pm CT. Registration is done via pledge form (below).

Academic WorldQuest 2021-2021 Topics

  1. Global Protests
  2. Shifting Sands: The Arab Spring 10 Years On
  3. International Labour Organization (ILO)
  4. The U.S. Foreign Service in the 21st Century
  5. Great Decisions
  6. Country in Focus: Uzbekistan
  7. Exploring Peace in a World of Conflict
  8. Fraying Alliances
  9. Looking to a Post-Pandemic Economy
  10. Current Events

Study Guide

Here is the Study Guide that 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 < >


Belmont University Center for International Business

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.