WASHINGTON (July 23, 2013)—Eighteen teams of the brightest geography students from around the globe will meet in St. Petersburg, Russia, July 28-31, 2013, to take part in the 11th National Geographic World Championship. The 2013 contest is sponsored by Google and presented in partnership with the Russian Geographical Society. The final round will take place at the Russian Geographical Society’s headquarters on Wednesday, July 31.
Each team will comprise three students who excelled in their national geography competition. The teams will answer questions on physical, cultural and economic geography. Russia, winner of the 10th World Championship, will defend its title on home turf against teams from Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Mongolia, Nigeria, Poland, Slovakia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Indonesia and Mongolia are participating for the first time.
The students will arrive in St. Petersburg on Saturday, July 27. The competition begins July 28, with a team activity and presentation, scored by a panel composed of coordinators working with each country. On July 29, each team will take a written test as a group. The score on this test as well as the score from the team activity will decide the three final teams, which will be announced after the test. Following a day of sightseeing around historic St. Petersburg, the top three teams will meet at Russian Geographical Society headquarters for the championship finals on July 31. 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. Australia, competing against four other teams, won the 1995 competition at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. The third championship, held in 1997 in Washington, D.C., was won by Canada, which bested teams from eight other regions. The United States won the 1999 competition held in Toronto, Canada, as well as the 2001 contest in Vancouver, Canada; the 2003 contest at Busch Gardens, Tampa Bay, Florida; and the 2005 contest in Budapest, Hungary. Mexico claimed victory at the 2007 competition at SeaWorld, San Diego, California. Canada won the 2009 World Championship in Mexico City, and Russia took top honors at the 2011 contest held in the San Francisco, California, area.
John Fahey, National Geographic Society chairman and CEO, said the competition was a great way for talented young geographers around the world to match wits against each other and to enjoy a rewarding cross-cultural exchange. “The competition enhances international dialogue and understanding and promotes friendships around the globe, and we hope it inspires tomorrow’s leaders to be more geographically literate and more connected to the world they live in,” he said. “The National Geographic World Championship competitors embody the spirit of curiosity about our planet that has defined the National Geographic Society for 125 years.”
“Google has sponsored the U.S. geography competition, the National Geographic Bee, for five years, and we are delighted to return as sponsor of the World Championship for the second time,” said Brian McClendon, vice president of engineering, Google Earth and Maps. “We were impressed by the caliber of students during the national U.S. competition and are looking forward to seeing the best of the best from around the world demonstrate their skills as they take a shot at the world title.”
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. 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. Its mission is to inspire people to care about the planet. Founded in 1888, the member-supported Society offers a community for members to get closer to explorers, connect with other members and help make a difference. The Society reaches more than 450 million people worldwide each month through National Geographic and other magazines, National Geographic Channel, television documentaries, music, radio, films, books, DVDs, maps, exhibitions, live events, school publishing programs, interactive media and merchandise. National Geographic has funded more than 10,000 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program promoting geographic literacy. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com.
NOTES: Up-to-date information about the competition will be posted in the National Geographic online press room at www.nationalgeographic.com/pressroom.
Photographs can be downloaded throughout the week of July 28-31 at the FTP site:
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