WASHINGTON (June 29, 2009)–Fifteen teams of the brightest geography students from around the globe will meet in Mexico City July 11-16, 2009, to take part in the ninth National Geographic World Championship. The presenting sponsor of the international contest, organized by the National Geographic Society, is Telmex Foundation, with supporting sponsorship from the Mexican Academy of Sciences, CONACYT, JW Marriott Mexico City and Televisa Foundation.
Each team will comprise three students who excelled in their national geography competition. The teams will meet to answer questions on physical, cultural and economic geography in two levels of competition. Current world champion Mexico will defend its title against teams from Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The students will arrive in Mexico City on July 11. The teams will take a written test on July 12 and explore some of the historic areas of Mexico City; the following day, they will battle each other in a challenging hands-on activity in the morning and visit the ancient city of Teotihuacan that afternoon. On July 14 they will explore Chapultepec Park, one of the largest urban parks in the world, and the nearby museums. The three teams with the highest scores from the written test and geography activity will meet at the National Museum of Anthropology and History for the championship finals on July 15. They will answer questions in a game-show format, moderated by Alex Trebek, host of the popular U.S. television quiz show “Jeopardy!”.
The National Geographic World Championship takes place every two years. The first contest, held in London in 1993, was won by the United States, which beat teams from the United Kingdom and Russia. The Australians, competing against four other teams, won the 1995 competition at Epcot at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla. The third championship, held in 1997 in Washington, D.C., was won by Canada, which bested teams from eight other regions. The fourth competition, held in Toronto, in 1999, was won by the United States, which also won the 2001 contest in Vancouver, the 2003 contest at Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay, Fla., and the 2005 contest in Budapest, Hungary. The 2007 competition at SeaWorld, San Diego, was won by Mexico.
“Promoting knowledge of our world, its cultures and the environment is at the heart of the mission of the National Geographic Society,” said John Fahey, Society president and CEO. “The National Geographic World Championship provides a forum for top geography students from all corners of the globe to compete and to determine which team is the international geography champion. By participating in their region’s competition and advancing to the international level, each student learns so much about our planet and becomes a better global citizen for the experience.”
Arturo Elías Ayub, CEO of Telmex Foundation, said, “At Telmex Foundation we are convinced that the best tool to fight poverty, to ensure a more just society and to guarantee a better future for Mexico’s youth is education. Therefore, we are proud to support this ninth National Geographic World Championship, because it motivates the young participants to learn more about and expand their vision of the marvelous world that surrounds us and to appreciate its wealth and diversity. The team members also will have the priceless experience of establishing relationships with other cultures, from which, undoubtedly, we all have many things to learn.”
The National Geographic Society developed the National Geographic Bee in 1989 and the National Geographic World Championship in 1993 in response to concern about the lack of geographic knowledge among young people in the United States. And the problem is not yet resolved: The National Geographic-Roper Public Affairs 2006 Geographic Literacy Study showed that Americans aged 18 to 24 still have limited understanding of the world within and beyond their country’s borders. Even after Hurricane Katrina, one-third could not locate Louisiana and almost half could not locate Mississippi on a U.S. map. Only four out of 10 were able to find Iraq on a map of the Middle East.
More information about the National Geographic World Championship is available at www.nationalgeographic.com/worldchampionship.
About National Geographic
The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” the Society works to inspire people to care about the planet. It reaches more than 360 million people worldwide each month through its official journal, National Geographic, and four other magazines; National Geographic Channel; television documentaries; radio programs; films; books; DVDs; maps; and interactive media. National Geographic has funded more than 9,000 scientific research projects and supports an education program promoting geographic literacy. For more information, visit nationalgeographic.com.
About Telmex Foundation
In 1996 Telmex Foundation initiated activities to help solve problems that affect social development in Mexico and to support victims of natural disasters in Mexico and other Latin American countries. In order to carry out this mission, Telmex Foundation works in seven core areas: Education, Health, Nutrition, Justice, Culture, Human Development and Support in Natural Disasters.
With permanent programs designed and focused on these core guidelines, Telmex Foundation confirms each day its commitment to building a Mexico that offers better living standards to its people and allows its inhabitants to build a better future for themselves, their families and their communities, for the benefit of the country.
NOTE: Up-to-date information about the competition will be posted in the National Geographic online press room at nationalgeographic.com/pressroom.
Photographs can be downloaded throughout the week of July 11-16 at FTP site: http://ftp.nationalgeographic.com/pressroom/ngwc/
User name: press
National Geographic Society
(202) 857-7662; (202) 731-6040 (after July 10)
National Geographic Society
(202) 857-7659; (202) 380-7276 (after July 10)