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Competition for Academic WorldQuest national title canceled

A team of United World College students for a second year in a row won New Mexico Academic WorldQuest title and advanced to compete for the national title. The event in Washington, D.C., was canceled due to the coronavirus.

Second-year students Paul Ellsiepen of Germany, Alejandro Ortiz Lopez of Venezuela, Karoline Nedergaard of Denmark and Vidar Önnerfors of Sweden won the statewide college bowl-style quiz competition hosted by the Santa Fe Council on International Relations. The foursome received an all-expense paid trip to the U.S. capital for the April 24-25 competition. The winning team would’ve received a seven-day trip to Qatar in June.

“I was very happy, of course, but also quite relieved,” Vidar said about the team’s win. “The whole team and I had all really put in a lot of time in our studies, so advancing meant that there was greater use to be made of the information we had learned.”

“We wanted to compete again this year to score better in the national competition than we did last year, and this was the most crucial step to be able to do so,” he continued.

Vidar noted he believes the team has common goals.

“We all work hard to study the information we need to learn,” he said. “In terms of our dynamics, I think what makes our team work well is that we have certain members who are able to reason their way to many answers, while others have an incredible talent.”

In related matters, a UWC-USA team consisting of all second-years placed second in the competition at Santa Fe Community College. Members were Ekaterina Tsavalyuk, Russia; Ellis Ward, USA; Erica Lee, Hong Kong; and Lorezno Laquidara, Italy. Another team placed fifth. Members were Aristotle Marangu ’20, Daniel Hodde ’21, and John Hanson ‘21, all USA-Calif.; and Pierleone Even-Shoshan ’20, Belgium.

The World Affairs Councils of America sponsors the competition, which tests players’ knowledge of current international politics, geography, global economics, history and world cultures.

During last year’s competition, the UWC-USA team placed fourth out of 45 teams. The team garnered 88 points out of possible 100. Jasper High School from Plano, Texas, took the title with 94 points. 


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