World Affairs Council Outreach Aims at Nashville Schools

World Affairs Council Outreach Aims at Nashville Schools
July 23, 2015

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee World Affairs Council joined dozens of businesses and nonprofits that came together yesterday for the annual Pencil Foundation “Summit” to advance community support for Metro Nashville Public Schools. The half-day event provided education stakeholders an opportunity to hear remarks from Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and Tennessee Education Commissioner Dr. Candice McQueen and to participate in sessions focused on partnering opportunities and best practices.


State Education Commissioner Dr. Candice McQueen talked about progress made and challenges ahead in her keynote remarks to the Pencil Foundation Summit. (Photo: TN WAC)

The summit, hosted at JT Moore Middle Prep School, was organized by the Pencil Foundation which has connected community resources to Nashville classrooms for over 30 years. The Tennessee World Affairs Council as a member of Pencil Partners since 2012 has offered its Academic WorldQuest competition and visiting speaker programs to Nashville area schools. Council president Patrick Ryan, who attended the summit said, “The Pencil Foundation is a perfect bridge for Tennessee WAC to reach Nashville classrooms with the programs and resources we are committed to delivering in our region.” The World Affairs Council developed a relationship with Hillsboro High School among others as part of its Global Education Outreach focus. “At Hillsboro, the Nashville Schools Academy for international programs, we were fortunate to get connected to a great team that took advantage of what we had to offer,” Ryan said. “Now as a Pencil Partner we can reach more students with resources to increase understanding of global issues.”


Sarah Gaffney from CMT led a discussion on building business-classroom partnerships at the Pencil Foundation Summit. (Photo: TN WAC)

The Tennessee World Affairs Council which began in Cookeville has relaunched its programs and operations from Nashville this month to continue its global understanding education work from a base hosted at Belmont University. Ryan said, “The World Affairs Council system is almost 100 years old and included 96 independent, grassroots, nonpartisan groups but there had never been one in Tennessee until now.” He continued, “Our role has been to make available speakers, competitions, seminars, publications and other opportunities with the simple objective of bringing the world to Tennessee – across our communities but with emphasis on young people.”

Ryan described Academic WorldQuest, the Council’s flagship youth education program, as similar to a quiz bowl that pits four-student high school teams in a fun and rewarding competition. Students, encouraged by a teacher coach, review pre-defined topics and participate in warm up matches to prepare for the Tennessee Championship competition held at Belmont in February. The winner moves on to Washington to compete against teams from the other World Affairs Councils around America. Ryan said, “In addition to the national match of WorldQuest when we send a team to D.C. we take them to a variety of international affairs destinations – embassies, think tanks, organizations like the World Bank and to Capitol Hill to meet their Congressional representatives.” Nashville winners of the WorldQuest competition have included the Martin Luther King, Jr., Magnet HS and Montgomery Bell Academy. Teams from around the city and from around the state have competed.

Events AWQ Academic Worldquest 2012 TN Championship Match

The Academic WorldQuest global affairs challenge encourages students to learn about the world through a fun and rewarding competition. (Photo: TN WAC)

The programs to assist schools in building global understanding have also brought speakers to Nashville and other classrooms including foreign ambassadors like those from the Czech Republic and Kazakhstan and scholars like renowned historian Dr. Richard Bulliett from Columbia University. Students are also invited to the Council’s town hall meetings at Belmont. “We’re always pleased when exceptional teachers like Adrian Bahan at Hillsboro High lead groups of students to our evening seminars. Face to face interaction with global figures greatly enhances their classroom learning.” Ryan added, “That’s what we try to be all about.”

The Tennessee World Affairs Council was founded in 2007 with the vision to improve citizens’ understanding of global issues especially key challenges to America in the world and to give youth the tools to operate in an increasingly complex, globalized society. The Council is an independent, nonprofit educational charity and is a member of the World Affairs Councils of America – the largest grassroots, nonpartisan network of people dedicated to educating, inspiring and engaging Americans in international affairs and the critical global issues of our time.


The Tennessee World Affairs Council is a nonprofit (501c3), nonpartisan educational charity based in Nashville that works to build understanding of global issues in our communities. Learn more about the Council and find how you can join, donate and volunteer at:  — Join / Donate / Volunteer

Leave a Reply