2020 Case Competition: A Look Back  

As this year’s Case Competition kicks off, I wanted to reflect on my experiences from last year’s case competition, which was focused on SDG 2: Zero Hunger. As explained by UNA-USA,


The aim of this competition is for teams to critically examine major issues related to food insecurity, climate change, and agriculture in Southeast Asia and to understand its root causes and prospects for the future… Teams should evaluate local projects that address the issue in that country, and share the local projects’ strengths and weaknesses, as well as make their own recommendations/solutions to address SDG 2 that are sustainable and resilient. Furthermore, teams should consider connections to other Sustainable Development Goals.


My chapter at Harvard selected a team of three to send to the national competition and present. What I enjoyed about this case competition was the flexibility to focus on specific topic areas that my team was passionate about, within the scope of the program. Teams were able to pick between analyzing Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Timor-Leste, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. For whatever country was chosen, they also honed in on one major issue: Access and Distribution, Nutrition, Rice Cultivation, Monocultures & Environmental Degradation, COVID-19. My team focused on Monocultures & Environmental Degradation in Indonesia with a concentration on the palm oil industry. You can learn more about our presentation here.


This year’s case competition is focused on using technological innovation to benefit children during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the topic is radically different than last year, I maintain that many of the skills that teams develop through the competition are always applicable to a wide range of content areas. From in-depth research to critical thinking to public speaking to working with a team, I am confident that teams will be able to sharpen their skills by participating in this competition.


I am so grateful to UNA-USA for establishing this platform for youth to share their voices at high levels and for providing us the tools to do so, with resource packs and training sessions. I could not recommend it more.


If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to me at: ayzhong@college.harvard.edu