After finishing as the top team in PAAC's Hawaiʻi Regional Competition, Waiākea High School's Taarini Godbole, Abigail Jensen, Beatrice Kim-Lee, and Clair Kildahl traveled to Washington, D.C. to compete with teams from across the country in the Carlos and Malú Alvarez Academic WorldQuest National Competition 2023, hosted by the World Affairs Councils of America (WACA)!
This fast-paced team competition tests students’ knowledge of current international politics, geography, global economics, history, and world cultures.
"It feels so great to have won the state competition, especially since this is my senior year of high school. The opportunity to travel to D.C., visit national monuments, and meet students from across the country makes this experience even better."
Some 50 World Affairs Councils hold local Academic WorldQuest competitions for high school students in their communities. Since 2003, winning teams have traveled to Washington, D.C., every April to vie for the national championship. The 2023 competition was hosted on Saturday, April 29, 2023 and included 78 teams from across the country.
Upon arriving in Washington, D.C., all competing teams were invited to attend a welcome reception hosted by WACA. It was an opportunity to celebrate the hard work students put into preparing for this competition and for students from around the country to connect with each other.
"This competition gave me the opportunity to meet new people from schools across the country, challenge myself to understand current events and global conflicts, and explore new places in DC."
The National Competition covered TEN categories:
- (1) Securing the Future of the World's Wildlife
- (2) The Arctic Council: Frozen Cooperation
- (3) Atrocity Prevention and Accountability
- (4) Combating Global Food Insecurity
- (5) Economic Sanctions - A Double-Edged Sword
- (6) Great Decisions
- (7) Country in Focus: Ethiopia
- (8) The Future of Supply Chains
- (9) Battle of the Century: Autocracy vs. Democracy
- (10) Current Events
Following the competition, WACA hosted an awards ceremony recognizing the top-finishing teams. This year the top finishers all hailed from Texas.
Exploring Washington, D.C.
Before and after the competition, the Hawaiʻi team was able to relax and take in some of DC's classic attractions. Among their stops were the National Mall, the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, and the US Capitol. They also visited Georgetown, and were able to meet two Waiākea alumni who are currently studying at Georgetown University. Once the reunion wrapped up, the team took a quick stroll through the National Art Gallery and the Museum of Natural History. Having worked up an appetite, they finished their day with some shopping and dining out near their hotel.
Students from the Hawaii team visiting sites around Washington DC.
"This competition and national trip opened my eyes to so many new places and things, and I am so grateful to the Takitani Foundation for allowing us the opportunity to travel to the national competition. It was amazing to spend time in DC, visiting the monuments and museums that I had only ever seen on TV."
Special thanks: Airfare and hotel accommodations were generously sponsored by the Mamoru and Aiko Takitani Foundation.
The Pacific & Asian Affairs Council (PAAC) is an independent, international education 501(c)3 nonprofit with a mission to promote understanding and empower engagement on global and international issues with special attention to Hawaii’s role in the Asia-Pacific region.
PAAC is preparing the next generation of leaders for an increasingly interconnected world, and promoting citizen diplomacy one handshake at a time. We are building bridges, inspiring young leaders, and developing global citizens.