The World Affairs Council of Philadelphia aims to bring timely, thoughtful, and engaging programs that tackle some of the world's most pressing issues to high school students throughout the Philadelphia region. The Council offers a suite of programs, such as the International Student Summit, Global Economic Forum, Model Senate, Academic WorldQuest, and the Summer Global Leadership Seminar.  Each program is designed to directly engage students with some of the most challenging issues in our world and pushes students to collaborate and debate innovative policies to remedy these issues.

*Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Council is offering its 2020-2021 academic year programming virtually! For more detailed information regarding program logistics and content, we invite you to attend an upcoming Informational Session.  

Questions? Please reach out to Kristin Hutchinson at khutchinson@wacphila.org, or Eric Bumbaca at ebumbaca@wacphila.org.

Upcoming Programs

iThrive Sim Programming (NEW)

The Council, in partnership with iThrive Games Foundation, will offer iThrive Sim Programming: a series of innovative, virtual simulations that are facilitated through a web-based, device agnostic platform.

The first of these simulations is Lives in Balance: a six-participant role-play where students serve as U.S. government officials who must decide when and how to reopen the economies of four Southwestern states during a global pandemic. They contend with conflicting information from multiple sources including experts in infectious disease and commerce, and the voice of the people. The information changes quickly and forces students to advocate their positions, negotiate, and compromise to take care of both their constituents and the nation. 

Additional iThrive simulation opportunities will be available to teachers and students throughout the academic year.

Debate Series (NEW)

Borrowing off both the success of the Council’s first ever virtual Summer Global Leadership Seminar for high school students and the Council’s Great Debates legacy podium speaker series, the Council has offered a new virtual debate series for member high schools. In response to a timely debate prompt, students will be divided and assigned to one of two groups (affirmative or negative) and hone their research, writing, strategic thinking, and public speaking skills in the form of a virtual debate with their peers.

For the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year, The Council will provide a debate self-facilitation guide for teachers, on the topic, "Ensuring Equity and Efficiency in Addressing Climate Change: Public Sector vs. Private Sector." This guide includes topic-specific resources and a sample agenda for teachers to use when facilitating a debate program with their students. 

* Preparation level: Medium, students should anticipate reading a short set of pre-vetted resources from the perspective of their assigned debate group prior to participating in the virtual debate

2021 Summer Global Leadership Seminar - Global Governance, Citizen Activism, and Constitution Building

The 2021 Summer Global Leadership Seminar, entitled Global Governance, Citizen Activism, and Constitution Building, is a week-long summer institute open to all rising high school sophomores, juniors and seniors.  This year’s seminar seeks to advance students’ understanding of government form, function, and accountability through interactive expert speaker workshops, lessons and daily activities. The Seminar concludes with a culminating project in which student groups develop a constitution and governing framework for a fictitious model state. 

Past Programs

Education Speaker Series (NEW)

The Council is excited to announce a new Education Speaker Series tailored directly to high school student audiences. This Series, scheduled for the last Wednesday of every month, will bring academics, policymakers and policy practitioners directly to your students through an immersive, virtual speaker platform. Students will have an opportunity to hear directly from influential thinkers, and will have the opportunity to engage directly in a Q&A session with those speakers. Access to these speakers is complimentary with a High School Membership. 

Watch the recording of this Education Speaker Series program, Women's History Month: A Focus on Women in Leadership on our YouTube channel here!

2021 Global Economic Forum

The 2021 Global Economic Forum (GEF) will explore the intricacies of the climate emergency, including a solutions-oriented approach to combating the global issue. The program will simulate an international competition for funding, with students presenting innovative solutions to core climate issues. Specifically, students will work to understand the fundamental causes of climate change, develop actionable policy proposals, and advocate for their preferred plan. A panel of judges will hear arguments from each team, and ultimately determine a winning proposal. More information regarding this program will be released in the coming weeks.

Debate Series (NEW)

Borrowing off both the success of the Council’s first ever virtual Summer Global Leadership Seminar for high school students and the Council’s Great Debates legacy podium speaker series, we will be offering a new virtual debate series for member high schools. In response to a timely debate prompt, students will be divided and assigned to one of two groups (affirmative or negative) and hone their research, writing, strategic thinking, and public speaking skills in the form of a virtual debate with their peers. The Council will provide accompanying topic and group-specific resources for students to review prior to the virtual debate.  A panel of judges will utilize a detailed rubric to choose a winning side and students will have the opportunity to earn individual awards based on their debate participation and performance.

* Platforms Offered: Zoom;
* Duration: 2 hours;
* Program Offerings: three times: October, February, April;
* Preparation level: Medium, students should anticipate reading a short set of pre-vetted resources from the perspective of their assigned debate group prior to participating in the virtual debate

Education Speaker Series (NEW)

The Council is excited to announce a new Education Speaker Series tailored directly to high school student audiences. This Series, scheduled for the last Wednesday of every month, will bring academics, policymakers and policy practitioners directly to your students through an immersive, virtual speaker platform. Students will have an opportunity to hear directly from influential thinkers, and will have the opportunity to engage directly in a Q&A session with those speakers. Access to these speakers is complimentary with a High School Membership. 

Watch the recording of this Education Speaker Series program, Peacebuilding, Nonviolent Movements, and Reconciliation Today, on our YouTube channel here

Spring/Summer 2021 Membership Information Session

Registration is now open for Spring/Summer 2021 High School Memberships! All faculty advisers and teachers from prospective and newly-registered member high schools are welcome to join the Council's Education Team for information about the Council's variety of virtual program offerings for the remainder of the 2020-2021 academic year. In addition, the Education Team will review the NEW program offerings for this academic year, including our new Debate Series, Speaker Series, and partnership with iThrive Games.Following a brief presentation, faculty will have the opportunity to meet with other faculty advisers and administrators, ask any questions that may arise, or offer comments about the year's academic programming.

Watch the recording of the info session here!

2020 International Student Summit

Mirroring the Council’s legacy educational simulation programming based on traditional global issues forums, the 2020 International Student Summit titled Restarting the Global Economy Post COVID-19, will be a virtual simulation conference that centers around efforts to restart and reshape the global economy post pandemic. Simulating a gathering of the world’s seven most advanced economies, as well as five of the world’s fastest growing economies, student participants will be tasked with charting an equitable and sustainable future for the global economic system. 

Education Speaker Series (NEW)

The Council is excited to announce a new Education Speaker Series tailored directly to high school student audiences. This Series, scheduled for the last Wednesday of every month, will bring academics, policymakers and policy practitioners directly to your students through an immersive, virtual speaker platform. Students will have an opportunity to hear directly from influential thinkers, and will have the opportunity to engage directly in a Q&A session with those speakers. Access to these speakers is complimentary with a High School Membership. 

Watch the recording of this Education Speaker Series program, International Education in the Age of COVID-19 and Beyond on our YouTube channel here! 

Education Speaker Series (NEW)

The Council is excited to announce a new Education Speaker Series tailored directly to high school student audiences. This Series, scheduled for the last Wednesday of every month, will bring academics, policymakers and policy practitioners directly to your students through an immersive, virtual speaker platform. Students will have an opportunity to hear directly from influential thinkers, and will have the opportunity to engage directly in a Q&A session with those speakers. Access to these speakers is complimentary with a High School Membership. 

Our second speaker program on the topic of U.S. Foreign Policy and the 2020 Presidential Election addressed questions such as: How do President Trump and former Vice President Biden view the world and what are the similarities and differences to their approaches? What would be their top foreign policy priorities? Which countries, alliances, and world leaders would likely rank highest as a friend or foe? And what does this mean for the future of U.S. foreign policy? 

Watch the recording of the October Speaker Series program on our YouTube channel here!

Debate Series (NEW)

Borrowing off both the success of the Council’s first ever virtual Summer Global Leadership Seminar for high school students and the Council’s Great Debates legacy podium speaker series, we will be offering a new virtual debate series for member high schools. In response to a timely debate prompt, students will be divided and assigned to one of two groups (affirmative or negative) and hone their research, writing, strategic thinking, and public speaking skills in the form of a virtual debate with their peers. The Council will provide accompanying topic and group-specific resources for students to review prior to the virtual debate.  A panel of judges will utilize a detailed rubric to choose a winning side and students will have the opportunity to earn individual awards based on their debate participation and performance.

* Platforms Offered: TBD;
* Duration: 2 hours;
* Program Offerings: three times: October, February, April;
* Preparation level: Medium, students should anticipate reading a short set of pre-vetted resources from the perspective of their assigned debate group prior to participating in the virtual debate

Education Speaker Series (NEW)

The Council is excited to announce a new Education Speaker Series tailored directly to high school student audiences. This Series, scheduled for the last Wednesday of every month, will bring academics, policymakers and policy practitioners directly to your students through an immersive, virtual speaker platform. Students will have an opportunity to hear directly from influential thinkers, and will have the opportunity to engage directly in a Q&A session with those speakers. Access to these speakers is complimentary with a High School Membership. 

Our first speaker program focused on the topic of Examining Food Insecurity in Philadelphia. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the crisis, as evidenced by decreased household incomes, increased demand at local food banks, and increased food prices as a result to COVID related complications on both the supply and demand. At this program, students heard from an expert who had extensive knowledge and understanding of food security issues, and was on the front lines in responding to crisis with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Watch the recording of the September Speaker Series program on our YouTube channel here!