Some heavy-hitting global issues – from elephant-poaching to plastic pollution — will take the spotlight when 10 student teams from six countries converge on Western University this week.
The stakes are high for the students as they vie for a share of $45,000 in prize money. The stakes are even higher for the planet in this international, Western-led competition that offers a novel approach to solving significant global problems.
The inaugural World’s Challenge Challenge at Western is a three-day event that brings together student teams that have already won competitions at their own universities. Finalists will have an opportunity to share information with some leading minds from around the world, participate in academic events and experience Canadian hospitality.
On Wednesday, each team will have seven minutes to bring their powers of persuasion to a panel of judges: Heidi Balsillie, philanthropist and founder of the Fairmount Foundation; Janet De Silva, President & CEO, Toronto Region Board of Trade and former Dean of Ivey Asia; Anne van Leeuwen, Consul-General of The Netherlands in Toronto, Canada; and Twee Brown, Vice-President, Marketing and Public Relations, Adamas Group.
“We’re proud to be a university that celebrates the ways international collaboration can change our futures for the better,” said Julie McMullin, Western Vice Provost (International). “Big challenges need bold solutions and we’re looking forward to hearing how some of the world’s brightest young minds propose we tackle the issues.”
Topics include: vertical farming to address food security in urban centres; closing the gap in world digital literacy; using biotechnology to remediate electronic waste; plastic pollution; and technology to prevent the poaching of rhinos and elephants in Africa.
Teams come from the University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong), Radboud University (Netherlands); University at Buffalo (US); Monash University (Australia); University of Otago (New Zealand); and from Canada: the University of Alberta, Dalhousie University; University of Waterloo; Western University; and University of British Columbia. First-place finishers will share $30,000 and the second-place team will win $15,000.
WHAT: World’s Challenge Challenge, global final competition, featuring pitches on world issues from student teams from six countries
WHEN: The three-day event culminates in presentations before a panel of judges on Wed., May 31 from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
WHERE: McKellar Room, UCC 290, Western University (open free to media and the public)
World’s Challenge Challenge Contact: Lise Laporte, Senior Director, Western International, 519-661-2111 ext. 85489 on mobile at 519-464-3537 , firstname.lastname@example.org
MEDIA CONTACTS: Kris Dundas, Communications Officer, Western International, 519-661-2111 x81064, on mobile at 519-615-9625 and email@example.com or Debora Van Brenk, Media Relations Officer, Western University, 519-661-2111 x85165, on mobile at 519-318-0657 and firstname.lastname@example.org
ABOUT WESTERN: Western University delivers an academic experience second to none. Since 1878, The Western Experience has combined academic excellence with life-long opportunities for intellectual, social and cultural growth in order to better serve our communities. Our research excellence expands knowledge and drives discovery with real-world application. Western attracts individuals with a broad worldview, seeking to study, influence and lead in the international community.