World's Challenge Challenge

2018/2019 World's Challenge Challenge Winners

World's Challenge Challenge winners holding prizes

Congratulations to "Western Engineers in Action" team members Jackson Chin, Andrew Bebnowski and Karn Kalra, winners of the 2018/2019 World's Challenge Challenge. 

2017/2018 World's Challenge Challenge Winners

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 competed in the World's Challenge Challenge Global Final, which took place June 3-7, 2018 at Western.   

About the Challenge

Western University has held the World’s Challenge Challenge over the past five 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 World's Challenge Challenge Global Final, for a top team prize of $30,000.

Inspiration for the Event

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, Former 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, Former 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.”    

Past Winning Teams

2017 Winning Teams

2016 Winning Teams

2015 Winning Teams

2014 Winning Teams

2013 Winning Teams

How does it work? 

Students will form diverse teams of three, think of a problem that the world is facing and present their solutions to a panel of judges. The first prize is 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 World's Challenge Challenge Global Final, which will be hosted at Western in June, 2019.

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 invited to present in January. Those selected to move on will present to a panel of academic and community leaders in front of a campus audience on February 7, 2019.

Teams will be given a score based on a variety of criteria, including how their idea supports one of the UN Sustainable Goals, the impact and feasibility of their solution and their presentation style. A complete rubric will be supplied prior to the competition. See the scoring rubric
For inspiration, see our IDEA list.
Additional presentation resources can be found on the World's Challenge Challenge Global Final 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 teams 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 World’s Challenge Challenge Global Final, taking place at Western in June 2019, 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?


Application Deadline:
January 21, 2019

After you submit your application
Prepare and practice your presentation

January 31, 2019 - 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

February 7, 2019 - Finals
4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Location: Conron Hall, University College

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