Beginning in 2017, the National Championships of the US Geography Olympiad will no longer have a buzzer-based “quiz bowl” style component, as they did from 2013-2016. The buzzer-based geography quiz tournament is not going away, though – it’s just being reorganized into the US Division of the International Geography Bee. IGB is a new, worldwide geography quiz tournament that is contested in different regions of the world (the US being one of them), and then the top students win the right to play in the International Geography Bee World Championships which are held in conjunction with the International History Olympiad on a biennial basis in even-numbered years. That means the inaugural IGB World Championships will be held in Berlin, Germany in July 2018.

The US Division of the IGB consists of the National Qualifying Exam and the National Championships. The same four age divisions and the same definitions for these apply to the US Division of the IGB as they do for the US Geography Olympiad. Varsity and Junior Varsity Nationals for IGB will be held directly after the National Championships of the US Geography Olympiad on Friday, April 21 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, VA. Middle School and Elementary Nationals for the IGB will be held directly after the National Championships of the US Geography Olympiad on Sunday and Monday, May 28-29 at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare in conjunction with the National Championships of the US Academic Bee and Bowl.

US students qualify for the National Championships of IGB in the exact same way they qualify for the National Championships of USGO – if you qualify for the one, by definition, you qualify for the other. US students qualify for the World Championships of IGB by finishing in the top half of their age division at Nationals. Qualification is then valid for two years (you can qualify for the 2018 IGB World Championships at either the 2017 or 2018 IGB US National Championships). The cost to compete at Nationals is $75 for each age division; IGB World Championships prices will be available by autumn 2017.

The US National Champions in each age division of the International Geography Bee win a trip to the IGB World Championships!

The International Geography Bee is organized under the auspices of the USGO staff. More information on the International Geography Bee is available on the IGB website at www.internationalgeographybee.com, which will be functional by the end of January 2017. For further questions about IGB, please email us at info@geographyolympiad.com Good luck!