World's Challenge ChallengeWestern University

Western competition

Western's World's Challenge Challenge Winners 2019/2020

Sari not Sorry team members 

Congratulations to “Teyab for Change” team members Amalka De Silva, Samah Osman and Dwayne Francis, winners of the 2019/2020 World's Challenge Challenge

The Challenge

Western University has held the World’s Challenge Challenge over the past six years, with approximately 20 teams competing annually and presenting their unique ideas to a panel of academic and community leaders. Winning team members each receive $1,000 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 then-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 two to four members, think of a problem that the world is facing and present their solutions to a panel of judges. The first prize is $1000 per team member. The winning team will also have the opportunity to compete for the top team prize of $30,000 in the World's Challenge Challenge Global Final.

What's involved?

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 two to four 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 members will each receive $1,000 each AND the opportunity to represent Western at the Global Final where teams can win $30,000. 

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?

NEW Workshop Series

In partnership with Propel Entrepreneurship, we are pleased to offer 3 workshops to help teams prepare for the competition. If you are interested in joining the Challenge, this workshop is for you! You will gain more information about the competition, as well as review the Business Model Canvas, a tool that can help you develop your idea. You will also have the opportunity to meet other students and join a team.

This is your chance to develop entrepreneurial skills while having a social impact.

Register now


Full Application Deadline:
January 13, 2020

After you submit your application
Prepare and practice your presentation 

Attend Workshop 1 (optional)
Wednesday, November 13, 3-4 pm in UCC147B

Attend Workshop 2 (optional)
Thurs, Jan 9, 4-5 pm in UCC147B
Register now

Attend Workshop 3 (optional)
Late January. Date TBD

January 30, 2020 - First Round of Presentations
International and Graduate Affairs Building, 4-7 pm

Student teams selected to participate will present in front of a panel of Western faculty and staff.

February 6, 2020 - Finals
Conron Hall, University College, 4-7 pm
The finals will be judged by a panel of Western academic and community leaders. 

June 8-12, 2020 - Please note this has been cancelled. 
Winning team competes at the Global Final

Western International thanks our supporters for their generosity:

Brescia University College

King's University College

CES logo 

Need More Information?

Please contact:

Western International
Ph: 519-661-2111 x89309