Global Education

World's Challenge Challenge

It starts with one idea, one discussion. Who knows where your ideas may lead?

The World's Challenge Challenge invites student teams to propose an innovative solution to a major global issue. Thanks to the Lee Global Education Awards, the team with the best proposal will win $10,000 to make their solution a reality and will represent UAlberta at the Global Finals at Western University, with a chance of winning an additional $30,000.

The World's Challenge Challenge is an exciting way to engage in discussions about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the complex global problems that they seek to overcome. It challenges the university community to be a source of new ideas and inspiration and brings together active global citizens who seek to make a positive and tangible impact on the world.

The Right Honorable David Johnston, former Governor-General of Canada

“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.” – The Right Honorable David Johnston, Former Governor General of Canada, 2012. 

UAlberta Team: Syeda, Raeha and Ronja, at World

"Meeting World’s Challenge Challenge participants from around the globe and learning of their innovative solutions to important world issues were incredibly inspiring and strengthened our desire to aid diabetic refugees with our project." - UAlberta WCC 2018 team.



"Our experience with World's Challenge Challenge has been an amazing catalyst for our aim of creating environmentally-friendly feminine hygiene products. With a focus on UN Sustainable Development goals 5 (Gender Equality) and 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), we hope to make a global impact."
                                   - UAlberta WCC 2019 team, Hempact.

UAlberta Competition Prizes

  • 1st Place: $10,000 and a trip to Western University (including airfare, hotel, and meals) to participate in the Global Finals.
  • 2nd Place and 3rd Place: Education Abroad Individual Award (valued at up to $3,750) for each team member to be used towards an international learning experience

International Competition Prizes

  • 1st Place: $30,000 CDN
  • 2nd Place: $15,000 CDN
  • 3rd Place: $7,500 CDN

Who can participate?

This competition is open to all University of Alberta students: undergraduate and graduate, from any faculty, full and part-time. We encourage your team to bring together individuals from diverse backgrounds or areas of study. Teams of two to four members are accepted, ideally from different disciplines.

How does it work?

Each team must submit a statement of interest, briefly outlining the problem and their proposed solution. Teams will receive feedback on their statement of interest and have time to further refine their idea before submitting a more detailed proposal in early December. A maximum of 21 teams will be selected to present their proposals during a semifinals competition in February. From there, a maximum of 9 teams will move on to the final UAlberta competition in March. The winning UAlberta team will present their idea at the Global Finals in London, Ontario in June. 

Where do I start?

World's Challenge Challenge Information Session

The University of Alberta International offers an information session for groups interested in submitting a proposal for the World's Challenge Challenge.

Information Session: View the presentation.

  • Research a global problem that you are passionate about. 

    Consider: why does this problem exist? What are its root causes? What are others doing about it? Where are the gaps? What can you (and your team) uniquely offer?

  • Secure a team of two to four UAlberta students. 

    Though it is not a requirement, we recommend your team be made up of students from different Faculties/Departments to ensure a diverse knowledge-base.

  • Make use of campus and community resources to help define your problem and refine your solution.

    Who, on-campus or in the community, is already studying or working on this problem? Connect with them to learn more about their work.

  • Attend WCC the information session and workshop! 

    We encourage teams to attend the information session and the workshop put on specifically for WCC participants. The workshop is offered free of charge and will guide your group through a design-thinking process that will ultimately enhance your proposal and presentation. A schedule for the orientation, workshop, and other events can be found below. 

  • Review the scoring rubric to see what participating teams will be judged on

  • Draft and submit a statement of interest
  • Submit a proposal by Sunday, January 5, 2020

    Complete the project proposal form and submit by January 5, 2020.  

    What happens if my team is selected?

    If you are selected to participate in the semi-finals, you will be asked to give a 5-minute presentation to an expert panel of judges. A 3-5 minute question and answer period will follow. Teams will have an opportunity to practice their presentations in front of WCC organizers before the semi-final round.

    Timeline & Important Dates

    October 22, 2019
    Information Session
    7:00 – 9:00 pm
    Telus 134
    Missed this session? View the presentation  

    November 27, 2019
    Optional Workshop:  Solution Ideation
    David Janzen, Senior Business Advisor, TEC Edmonton

    January 5, 2020 
    Project Proposals Due 
    11:59 pm (Mountain Time – MST)

    Project proposal form

    January 14, 2020
    Notification sent to semi-finalists

    January 16, 2020 
    Mandatory Workshop: Good Development Practice
    6:00 – 9:00 pm
    Telus 134

    Registration information will be sent to all teams selected for the semi-finals.

    February 11, 2020
    Practice Presentation Session
    Time and location:  TBC

    February 25, 2020
    WCC Semi-Final Presentations
    Time and Location:  TBC

    March 16, 2020
    WCC Finals
    Time and Location:  TBC

    Need more information? 

    Contact University of Alberta International at 

    Need inspiration?

    Additional resources

    Congratulations Team UAlberta!

    UAlbertaCongratulations to Nicole Sanchez, Anka Chan and Mariam Humayun, winners of the University of Alberta’s local competition. They will represent the University of Alberta at the Global Finals at Western University on Thursday, June 6, 2019.

    Their project, Hempact, is a student-led, social entrepreneurship project through Enactus University of Alberta. Hempact aims to create a more sustainable future by repurposing hemp fiber, often seen as a waste material by Alberta farmers, into biodegradable and comfortable feminine hygiene products. They also plan to raise awareness and educate youth about feminine hygiene.

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