University students from around the globe vie for top prize at World’s Challenge Challenge

Karn Kalra, Jackson Chin and Andrew Bebnowski won Western World’s Challenge Challenge qualifier in February with their idea for building bridges to link isolated communities in rural Bolivia. They compete this week in the World's Challenge Challenge Global Final at Western.

Students from some of the world’s best universities are investigating global issues like easier access to safer surgeries, building sustainable communities, improving elderly health and saving the world from the overuse of plastics and their findings will be shared this week at Western University.

Twenty student teams representing nine different countries are competing in the Global Final of the World’s Challenge Challenge June 3-6 at Western University.

Over the past few months, extraordinary students from participating partner universities – working in diverse and inclusive teams of three – have been innovating and incubating new ideas to address a global issue. Teams then presented their unique solution to a panel of academic and community leaders at their own institutions. The top team from each World’s Challenge Challenge partner earned a trip to London to compete in the Global Final, which is being held on Thursday, June 6.

Leading up to the global final competition, which will be livestreamed, teams (including one from Western) have the opportunity to network with some of the best and brightest students from around the world, to participate in academic events, to generate further discussion around global issues and to experience a taste of Canadian hospitality.

The stakes are high for the students as they vie for a share of $52,500 in prize money. But the stakes are even higher for the planet in this international, Western-led competition as the hope is that exciting new ideas will be presented to solve significant global problems.

“We are excited to host the third annual Global Final of the World’s Challenge Challenge, welcoming teams from partner universities across Canada and around the world,” says Julie McMullin, Vice-Provost and Associate Vice-President (International) at Western. “We believe in the power of bringing bright minds together to tackle our world’s biggest challenges – and we’ve seen over the past few years that novel ideas can flourish by creating this outstanding network of global leaders.”

Participating universities include:
Bond University (Australia)
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Dalhousie University (Canada)
Hirosaki University (Japan)
McMaster University (Canada)
Queen’s University (Canada)
Radboud University (The Netherlands)
University of Alberta (Canada)
University of Auckland (New Zealand)
University of British Columbia (Canada)
University at Buffalo (United States)
University of Calgary (Canada)
University of Lausanne (Switzerland)
University of Liverpool (United Kingdom)
University of Minnesota (United States)
University of Otago (New Zealand)
University of St. Andrews (United Kingdom)
University of Tulsa (United States)
University of Waterloo (Canada)
Western University (Canada)

First-place finishers will share $30,000 and the second-place team will win $15,000. The third-place team takes home $7,500. The intention for prize money is to help further develop the proposed solution and support implementation.

WHAT: World’s Challenge Challenge, global final competition, featuring pitches on world issues from student teams from eight countries

WHEN: The week-long event culminates in presentations before a panel of judges on Thursday, June 6 from 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.

WHERE: McKellar Room, University Community Centre (UCC 290), Western University

Media are invited to attend the event, which is free and open to the general public.

For more on the week-long event, please visit

Follow the events and experiences during International World’s Challenge Challenge using the hashtag #WorldsChallenge

The livestream of the Global Final competition will be found here:

MEDIA CONTACTS: Kris Dundas, Communications & Marketing Manager, Western International, 519-661-2111, ext. 81064, 519-615-9625 (mobile), or Jeff Renaud, Senior Media Relations Officer, Western University, 519-661-2111, ext. 85165, 519-520-7281 (mobile),

Western 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.