Students from around the world pitch solutions to global issues and win funding at Western-led annual summit

Three teams with big ideas to help people facing domestic violence, mental health issues and immigration challenges were named as the top winners at the 2022 World’s Challenge Challenge Global Final, hosted virtually by Western from June 6 to 9.

Dalhousie University students Anamika and Anik Ahmed took home the top prize of $30,000 for their project, Mitro, an app disguised as a recipe app that offers resources for women in Bangladesh experiencing domestic violence.

Coming in second place was a four-person team from Bond University – Jackson Miller, Ellie Mackey, Holley Slatterey and Megan der Velde – and their project, vybu, software designed to promote mental health in young people by reducing perceived loneliness using pre-recorded messages from loved ones.

The third-place team, comprised of Boon Kent Chin, Hongwen Xu (Miley) and Jia Qi Liu (Leo) from the University of Waterloo, presented Next: Immigrant Service: All-in-One App, which would provide housing, banking and other resources to newcomers immigrating to Canada.

“We were amazed that we won first prize. There were some really great ideas,” said Anik Ahmed. “The best thing about being part of the Global Final was seeing what other people’s minds can come up with. Everyone there was part of our generation and it’s amazing to see what they can offer to the world to make it a better place.”

The World’s Challenge Challenge began at Western in 2013 and expanded to include a global competition in 2017. The Challenge asks students at participating universities from around the world to form diverse teams to propose solutions based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and pitch their ideas to a panel of judges at their own campuses. The winning teams at each university are then invited to participate in a four-day summit hosted by Western.

In addition to the pitch competition and question and answer session with a panel of judges, this year’s Global Final featured a number of keynote speakers, including Western alumnus and Olympic Gold Medalist Alex Kopacz, alumnus and entrepreneur Jake Karls and alumna and entrepreneur Charity Kabango, as well as mentoring and networking opportunities for the participating teams.

“We were thrilled to welcome 16 incredible teams from around the world to this year’s World’s Challenge Challenge Global Final. Every year, I am impressed by the student participants and their creativity, ingenuity and desire to solve some of our world’s most pressing issues,” said Lise Laporte, Senior Director at Western International.

“As a higher learning institution, we have a responsibility to find opportunities to create experiences like the Challenge, that promote and support global citizenship, multidisciplinary collaboration and the betterment of society.”

Read more about the teams below!

Team Mitro, Dalhousie University

Anamika Ahmed and Anik Ahmed

Team vybu, Bond University

Jackson Miller, Megan van der Velde, Holly Slattery, Ellie Mackey

Team Next, University of Waterloo

Boon Kent Chin, Hongwen Xu (Miley), Jia Qi Liu