After a four year hiatus, International Academic Competitions is delighted to announce the return of the International Geography Championships (formerly called the International Geography Bee World Championships, which now just names one of the week’s events)! Our 2022 IGC has already been in the planning stages for over a year, and we’ll continue to be getting ready in all sorts of ways until we are ready to welcome the world on August 2, 2022. There is lots of information on this website to explore for further details (and much that will be added in the coming months), but we’d like to take a chance to highlight some of the new features, programs, and policies that we look forward to implementing for a great IGC for all. As always, we welcome your questions, thoughts, and suggestions – please contact us at info@iacompetitions.com at any point to let us know. The list below is not meant to be comprehensive, nor is it meant to highlight experiences that are very clearly new because they depend on the venue for IGC, but rather to help students and their families know what the major changes from 2018 are, and our thinking behind those decisions.

1. Overall Philosophy
The International Geography Championships began as the International Geography Bee World Championships in 2018. In 2022, not only is our name slightly different, but there have been numerous changes made to the overall structure of the competition. First, IGC is now a full week long, and does not overlap at all with the International History Olympiad. Students who have qualified can certainly attend both events, though, as they are held in back to back weeks with the Olympiad first, and IGC directly following.

For 2022, we have also added an Elementary Division and merged the Varsity and Junior Varsity Divisions into a combined High School Division to better reflect the distribution of students who attended in 2018 (where the Middle School Division was larger than the combined Varsity and JV Divisions). Elementary Division students are required to attend with a parent or legal guardian.

We have also added numerous events, especially those with an applied geography focus, to better align our program with the way that geography is practiced in the academic and professional spheres. The GIS competition, Task Forces, Human Geography Exam, Quantitative Geography Exam, and Symposium events have been designed and added with this in mind. This also makes the IGC program more accessible and appealing at the High School level to students who are interested in geography as a field of study, and not just a subject that leans heavily on memorization of places. For these students, the GIS now replaces the International Geography Bee World Championships as a component of the overall individual IGB Championship title. The Battery Exam will also be have more of an analytical and applied focus at the High School Division level, though direct knowledge of places and peoples will remain a component of the questions.

As this is only the second edition of the International Geography Championships, and it is has been largely redesigned from its first edition in 2018, we expect that there will be further slight adjustments to the 2022 program over the coming months, before the calendar of events is finalized in early 2022. We also welcome all feedback, before, during, and after the 2022 IGC to help us to continue to develop and grow IGC for subsequent years. Please direct all comments and questions about IGC to info@iacompetitions.com.

2. Clarification on Medal Events
At the International History Olympiad, certain events are now classified as Trophy Events (the winners of these will receive plaques or trophies but not medals). However, at the International Geography Championships (where the median student age is considerably younger than at the Olympiad), there will still be any number of games (i.e. the Great Trading Game, the Strategy Game, Geopardy, Geoguessr, and Geographeud) which retain medal event status. After the 2022 IGC, we will revisit this policy for both the Olympiad and IGC so that we can make adjustments as needed for future events.

3. GIS Competition
For High School Division students, the GIS (i.e. Global Information Systems) competition is new, required, and a component of the International Geography Championships Individual Overall Title. Students will make use of GIS to solve geographical and spacial problems in a number of fields of geography using GIS and the data it generates. Further details, including how best to prepare for this competition, will be posted on the competition’s page, which is accessible here, in the coming months. This event has been added to provide a way to evaluate students’ geographical research and analytical skills. Along with the Symposium, and the Task Forces, this event provides a way for students to compete in ways that are broadly comparable to how professional geographers work.

4. Team Formation
In 2022, the Battery Exam results will determine initial seedings for the preliminary rounds of the International Geography Championships. Then, the teams for the International Geography Bowl, Treasure Hunt, Scavenger Hunt, and the Hextathlon will be determined by the results of the International History Bee World Championship preliminary rounds.
Students will be required to play on teams within their own division, even if there is another student from their state or country in an older age division. This allows all students in a division to compete against each other on an equal footing.

5. Elementary Division
We are thrilled to announce that we are going to be offering an Elementary Division for the first time at the 2022 International Geography Championships! This division will be open to students who will have finished the 4th-6th grades as of July 22. For countries that do not fit into this schematic, then a birthdate division cut off may be used. Those would then be as follows: High School (born August 2007 or earlier), Middle School (born September 2007-August 2009, Elementary September 2009 – December 2012).
Elementary Division students will stay off campus and are required to come with a parent or legal guardian. Elementary Division events will typically finish 30 minutes earlier each evening than the older age divisions.

6. Changes in Buzzer-Based Quiz Events
The Blitz, Melee, Visual Geography Bee, East Asian Geography Bee, and South Asian Geography Bee have all been added as new events. The Historical Geography Bee is no longer offered at the International History Olympiad, however, it will still be held at the International Geography Championships. The International Geography Bee World Championships will now feature 5 rounds with 30 questions in the preliminaries for all age divisions.

7. Parents’ Program Changes
Parents, family members, and accompanying coaches and friends are welcome to compete in any multiple choice exam in their own division. There is no charge for this. On a limited basis, parents of students from Canada and the USA whose mother tongue is English can also apply to be volunteers. This can lessen the costs of their children’s program fees depending on their level of involvement. Volunteers will need to have prior experience in assisting at IAC competitions, pass a background check, and have first aid certification.
There is no cost for parents to attend any IGC competitions, though certain events (e.g. bee preliminary rounds and exams) may not be open to spectators. There will be an opportunity for parents to accompany students on certain field trips, but this will need to be paid for as well. There may also be space limitations for parents and other spectators at the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, but we will do what we can to maximize the number of attendees.
Further details are available here.

8. Symposium and Task Forces
The Symposium and Task Forces are medal events that are debuting at the 2022 International Geography Championships. The Symposium is meant to challenge students through original research in advance of IGC on a particular topic (TBD) followed by an oral defense at IGC in front of experts in the field. The Task Forces are meant to give students a chance to see how knowledge of history can be applied to current social problems and issues. Please find out more about these and other non-buzzer based medal events here.

9. International History Olympiad
The 2022 International History Olympiad will be held at the same venue as IGC, but the departure day for it will be one day before the arrival day for IGC, so the two competitions will not overlap at all. Students can certainly attend both; there will be no price discount for doing so, but the meals and accommodations on the in-between night will not cost extra, the way they would for students who otherwise are arriving early for IGC. Further details can be found at www.historyolympiad.com.

10. Changes in Exams
There are a number of new exams which are described in detail under their respective pages, accessible from the Events menu. We anticipate that students will take all multiple choice exams on tablets, with automated grading (though students’ scores will only be released after each exam’s respective medals ceremony). We particularly would like to draw your attention to the additional prize on offer in the Country Exam!

11. Scheduling Notes
Please note that the schedule as posted here is a draft schedule. The events will only be considered confirmed once registration opens, and IAC reserves the right to adjust the schedule as needed (including the length of an event), depending on the number of students who register and other parameters. When reading the draft schedule, please be advised that the schedule shows only 30 minute blocks, but depending on the distance between competition spaces (which are still TBD) and other factors, events may start and/or finish at any time during that block. A more precise schedule will be confirmed in the spring of 2022.
Students may arrive on August 1; there will be an additional charge for staying overnight and for meals on August 1 and breakfast on August 2, which are not included in the standard program cost, unless students are staying on after participating in the International History Olympiad. Students are expected to depart on the morning of August 2; they are required to do so by 10pm that evening. Lunch and dinner on August 9 are not included.
Medals Ceremonies for each event will now have their own specific posted times in advance so that families and students can plan accordingly. These are not yet posted, but will be by the time the schedule is finalized in the spring of 2022.

12. Logistical Notes

The logistics of the 2022 International Geography Championships host site are favorable, as the airport (there is only one) is only a 10 minute drive away, the city center is 10 minutes by car or 20 by bus, and the competition rooms, sleeping rooms, dining hall, and medals ceremonies are all within a 10 minute walk of each other. As in past years, IAC will be able to provide visa letters and assistance through our in-country based legal team which specializes in immigration and travel law.