Academic WorldQuest Competition 2024

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Regional Competition

On March 2, 2024, the Pacific and Asian Affairs Council (PAAC) hosted the 21st Hawaii Regional Academic WorldQuest Competition, a global trivia competition where students tested their knowledge of current global affairs. This year’s competition was hosted at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and over 140 high school students from public, private, and charter schools on O‘ahu, Maui, and the Big Island competed virtually and in-person. Students competed in teams of four to answer 60 multiple choice questions. 

Kamaka Dias, host of the “Keep it Aloha” podcast, and Kolby Moser, founder of ARIA Studios, emceed the event while José Barzola, Conflict and Peace Specialist at University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, and Krystle Corpuz, PAAC Alum and Senior Manager and Natural Resource Management Specialist for RTI’s International Development Group, served as judges. 

In preparation for the competition, students were provided with an official study guide from the World Affairs Council of America (WACA).  Students also had the opportunity to attend virtual coaching sessions with community experts. 

The “Kealakehe Justin Brown Fan Club” team from Kealakehe High School’s won first place with team members, Azalea Thorp, Anna Payesko, Lucy Cameron (team captain), and Andries Ferreira, winning a trip to Washington, D.C. to participate in the National Competition. 

Second place winners were Isabella Leonardo, Bodhi Mylett, Jayden Tran and Ivan Tse from  Kalani High School and the third place winners were Celina Chen, Kaia Fujinaka, Abigail Jensen and Beatrice Kim-Lee from Waiākea High School. Another team from Kealakehe High School, Maui High School, and ʻIolani School were awarded country prizes. 

Many students found the competition experience valuable because they were able to strengthen their team-building skills by connecting with students from different islands as well as increase their awareness on global affairs.

This year’s regional competition categories included: (1) The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO): Alliance and Collective Defense in a Changing World (2) Demographic Dividends – Population Shift in Africa (3) The Global South (4) Sports and Diplomacy (5) Women’s Contributions to Track II Diplomacy 6) Navigating AI: The Global Workforce

Here is one of the hardest questions from Round 2 of our regional competition. Do you know the correct answer? 

The Women’s League of Burma was formed in exile in which country?

(A) Singapore (B) Malaysia (C) India (D) Thailand

Source Article: "Building Peace in the Shadow of War: Women-to-Women Diplomacy as Alternative Peacebuilding Practice in Myanmar."

Check out what some our students said as their takeaways from the competition:

“It expanded my understanding of different problems that are current or are arising throughout the world."

“Competing and having fun with my friends as this is our senior year and we wanted to do as much as possible.”

“The most valuable part of participating in this competition would have to be learning how to study large quantities of information.”

“I think the most valuable part of the competition was feeling the energy and enthusiasm of all the teams!”

Our regional competition was generously sponsored by the Atherton Family Foundation, Kosasa Foundation & McInerny Foundation, and co-sponsored by the Conflict and Peace Specialist & Better Tomorrow Speaker Series at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

National Competition

A month and a half after claiming their victory at our regional competition, Azalea, Anna, Lucy and Andries flew off Washington, D.C. with their advisor, Mr. Justin Brown, to represent Hawaii at the National Academic WorldQuest Competition. The national competition was held on April 20, 2024 at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP).
Not only did Kealakehe High School compete against other teams from across the US, they also got to learn from keynote speakers who work directly on the issues highlighted in the categories of the study guide. This year’s keynote speakers were Leanne Howard (NSC, NATO Special Advisor), JP Feldmayer (NSC Nato and European Affairs Director) and Dr. Joseph Sany (USIP VP Africa Center).
The team also had the opportunity to go sightseeing during their trip. They visited sites such as the National Museum for American Diplomacy, Kennedy Center, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial, and Jefferson Memorial. They all had fun and felt honored to have the opportunity to compete nationally.  

PAAC is excited to announce that we will have Academic WorldQuest coaches again next year. Be sure to keep an eye out for more information. We hope students will be able to join especially since this year’s winning team attended coaching sessions frequently. 
“The coaching sessions were the most valuable for me because that is where I learned the most about the topics. It was cool to meet the coaches, too!” - PAAC Student
We are delighted to have seen so many smiles this year from all our students, teachers, coaches, judges and supporters. Thank you all so much for making this Academic WorldQuest Competition season a success! We look forward to an even more exciting competition in 2025!