A group of high school students got its first dose Wednesday of the problems surrounding the European Union and the euro when George Washington co-sponsored an information session to encourage participation in the 2012 Euro Challenge, a competition aiming to increase students’ knowledge of global economics.
That’s a critical goal. “In today’s globalized economy, there is no such thing as an American problem or a European problem,” Ambassador João Vale de Almeida, head of the Delegation of the European Union to the U.S., told roughly 40 students in closing remarks. “There are global problems.”
For the challenge, schools are allowed one team of three to five ninth- and 10th-grade students. Teams present in front of a panel of judges about European economics and offer solutions to a specific problem—from unemployment to government debt to a stalled housing market—in one of the 17 countries that has adopted the euro. If their scores qualify after a preliminary round in the spring, teams move on to compete at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
During Wednesday’s day-long event—sponsored by the GW School of Business European Union Research Center, European Union Delegation to the U.S. and the World Affairs Council—students, many of whom hailed from School Without Walls, learned key economic concepts from speakers like Amy Medearis, senior economist for the Delegation of the European Union, to help them build strong presentations for the competition.
The Euro Challenge is part of “Major Projects Lab: Ward 8,” a joint initiative between GW and the Washington, D.C. Economic Partnership which brings together leaders to create opportunities in D.C.’s Ward 8.
In hosting the information session, GW was able to highlight the importance of financial literacy.
“If there’s one lesson that we have learned over the past decade, it’s the importance of financial literacy and the importance that people in Washington understand financial literacy,” Forrest Maltzman, GW senior vice provost, said in opening remarks.
Doug Guthrie, dean of the GW School of Business, told students about the importance of their participation in an event like the Euro Challenge, saying they can help solve the world’s greatest problems.
“Make no mistake about it. That isn’t an overstatement,” Dr. Guthrie said. “You being in this room today is a part of that solution. You being in this room and thinking about what you can capitalize on in terms of financial literacy, and then take with you through your careers and become great young professionals contributing to solving the world’s problems, is what we are about as a business school, and is what we are about as a university.”
GW President Steven Knapp offered closing remarks.
“I do hope you found today’s sessions both informative and enlightening, and I want to wish you all the best as you move on to the regional competition this coming spring,” Dr. Knapp said.