International WeekWestern International

World's Challenge Challenge

Richelle Bird (Right) and Robyn Masters (Left), PhD Students from School and Child Psychology, Faculty of Education, and Medical student Michelle Quaye (Centre), were winners of Western's 2017 World’s Challenge Challenge. They will compete in the second annual International World's Challenge Challenge June 3-7, 2018 at Western. 

Visit the World's Challenge Challenge International site to see our past participating partners, videos and photos of the 2017 Global Final.

About the Event

Western University has held the World’s Challenge Challenge over the past four years during International Week. More than 30 teams compete annually by presenting their unique ideas to a panel of academic and community leaders. The winning team members each receive $1,000 to help fund an international learning experience AND have the opportunity to compete in the International World's Challenge Challenge, for a top team prize of $30,000.

The inspiration for the World's Challenge Challenge came together as we planned for Western's first International Week in 2013. How could we engage students in thinking more about global issues and taking productive steps towards finding solutions? We looked to several sources of inspiration for the answer. The first being The Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor-General of Canada (2010-2017), who wrote the following in 2012:

“It is perhaps the defining question of our time: How to tackle the complex, interrelated challenges of the 21st century in a coherent and effective way? The answer, I am convinced, lies in what I call the diplomacy of knowledge, defined as our ability and willingness to work together and share our learning across disciplines and borders. When people achieve the right mixture of creativity, communication and co-operation, remarkable things can happen.”

Original Column from The Right Honorable David Johnston, Governor-General of Canada

We also looked to our own University President, Amit Chakma, whose international experience has shaped his academic and administrative career. In a 2012 Convocation speech at the University of Waterloo, President Chakma said:

“If you embrace a global vision, your talents and creative minds hold the potential and the power to solve [enormous world challenges] and improve the human condition right across our global village.”    

How does it work? 

Students will form diverse teams of three and think of a problem that the world is facing and present their solutions to a panel of judges. The first prize will be a $1000 scholarship per team member to be used on Western-sanctioned international learning opportunity (study abroad, community engaged learning opportunity, exchange, international field courses, Alternative Spring Break, internships, field research, or other University-led experiences). The winning team will also have the opportunity to compete in the International World's Challenge hosted at Western in June, 2018.

What's Involved?

Complete an application online with some basic information about your team, topic and proposed solution. Then develop a 5-7 minute presentation that explains your solution to a global problem or issue of your choice with a 3-5 minute question and answer period to follow.

Teams will be asked to present in early November. Those selected to move on will present to a panel of academic and community leaders in front of a campus audience on November 14, 2017, during International Week.

Please review the SCORING RUBRIC to see what is expected of participating teams.

For inspiration, see our IDEA list.

Additional resources can be found on the International World's Challenge Challenge website.

Who can participate?

This competition is open to: undergraduate and graduate students at Western University and Affiliated University Colleges (Brescia, Huron, King's). Participating students may be full-time or part-time, and applications are welcome from every faculty. We encourage your team to bring together individuals from diverse backgrounds or areas of study. Only teams of three students will be accepted.

Why join the Challenge?

The World's Challenge Challenge is an exciting way to engage in discussion and debate about world issues, and to bring your own ideas to the table. Plus, the winning team will receive $1,000 each to participate in an international learning opportunity - broadening their international experience.

The winning team will also move on to compete in the International World’s Challenge Challenge in June 2018 (here at Western), for an opportunity to win a top prize $30,000 ($10,000 per team member).

Western strives to bring together individuals with a broad world view, seeking to study, influence and lead in the international community. It starts with one idea, one discussion. Who knows where it may lead?

2016 Winning Teams

2015 Winning Teams

2014 Winning Teams

2013 Winning Teams


Application Deadline:
The Application Deadline has not been set for 2018 but is usually early to mid-October. Please check back regularly for updates.

Late October to Early November
Prepare and practice your presentation

Early November - First Round of Presentations
Student teams selected to participate will present in front of a panel of Western faculty and staff.
4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m. (timing may be revised based on applicant numbers)
Location: Western International, 2nd floor, International and Graduate Affairs Building

November 13, 2018 - Finals
4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Location: International and Graduate Affairs Building Atrium

The finals will be judged by a panel of Western academic and community leaders. 

Western International thanks Brescia University College, Huron University College, and King's University College for helping to support this annual campus competition.

Need More Information?

Please contact

Western International
Ph: 519-661-2111 x89309