The World Affairs Council of Philadelphia aims to bring timely, thoughtful, and engaging programs that tackle some of the worlds 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 view the recording of our High School Welcome Back Program which we held on Zoom with our high school faculty members on Thursday, September 17. 

Questions? Please reach out to Kristin Hutchinson at, or Eric Bumbaca at

Upcoming 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. 

Our fist speaker program on the topic of Food Insecurity is scheduled for Wednesday, September 30th

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

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.

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. 

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.

Past Programs

Welcome Back Program for High Schools

Please join us for our virtual Welcome Back Program! This session will be dedicated to introducing the Council's signature simulation programs for the upcoming academic year, as well as information regarding our upcoming program offerings - including our NEW Education Speaker Series, Debate Series, and iThrive Simulations partnership!


Click this link to view the recording from this event.

7/13/20- 7/17/20 - Summer Global Leadership Seminar

Election 2020: U.S. Foreign Policy and America's Role in the World

July 13-17, 2020
Virtual Program

The 2020 Summer Global Leadership Seminar, entitled Election 2020: U.S. Foreign Policy and America's Role in the World is a week-long summer institute open to all rising high school sophomores, juniors and seniors.  This year’s seminar will seek to advance students’ understanding of several critical global challenges facing the winner of the 2020 U.S. presidential election.

Join the Council as a Member High School

Membership provides high school students and educators from the Greater Philadelphia area - and beyond - unparalleled access to influential leaders and policymakers in the global arena as well our comprehensive suite of global education programming.

Summer Global Leadership Seminar Recap

Click to view expert speaker videos and student final presentations from the 2020 Summer Global Leadership Seminar!

Photos from Council Education Programs

Check out photos from the Council's 2019-2020 Educational Programs and Speaker Events!