Current Events Quiz

This past week I gave my 4th year global health class a brief quiz on current events related to issues in global health and development. They were instructed to monitor major news sources daily since the start of term, with specific attention to stories that might have a direct or cursory connection to global health and development. This might include stories relating to war, politics and economics.

The reason for scheduling the test is that I was concerned that we are doing a disservice to our students by not making their education more relevant to the current state of the world, and by not engendering in them an appreciation for the daily happenings of society. This is particularly important in global health, a subject that changes hourly and that is dependent on an interdisciplinary familiarity with the changing nature of law, politics, science and general knowledge.

The intent is not to punish lack of knowledge, but rather to encourage the valuing of knowledge. Part of the lesson is to be able to asses one’s own level of general knowledge relative to the overall level of knowledge in our society.

Therefore, to provide some hand-waving data for discussing the quality of these questions, I’m doing something I ordinarily would not do. I’m publishing the quiz on this website. You will find the questions below, with the answer key immediately after.

You are, of course, welcome to take the test yourself. I would further encourage you to input your score to an online service by clicking this link:

Please note: this is not a formal academic study, and therefore has not undergone any ethics clearance. These data will not be published, though they will be discussed in my class. If you enter your results, those results will be visible by everyone. Feel free to enter a fake name, if you’d prefer. But I would like you to enter your true profession, if you feel comfortable doing so. It goes without saying that this is a strictly voluntary exercise.

Also, please don’t cheat. This is not a contest.


1. In 2009, the Nobel Peace Prize was controversially awarded to what person?

A. Nelson Mandela
B. George W. Bush
C. Barack Obama
D. Al Gore
E. The Dalai Lama

2. In early November, 2009, the people of Germany noted the 20th anniversary of what?

A. The death of Adolf Hitler
B. The fall of the Berlin Wall
C. The founding of NATO
D. Germany’s entrance into the European Union
E. The assassination of Chancellor Angela Merkel

3. Who is Dr. Abdullah Abdullah?

A. One of the candidates in a recent Presidential election in Afghanistan
B. Head of one of the larger semi-legal organ trafficking rings in India
C. The scientist who led the development of an experimental HIV vaccine in Africa, currently undergoing limited clinical trials
D. Recently appointed Deputy Director General of the World Health Organization
E. Author of a controversial study recently published in The Lancet, about excess deaths in the wake of the US invasion of Iran

4. On November 11, 2009, a joint report by the American Cancer Society and Global Smokefree Partnership was published. The report predicts that cancer deaths due to smoking will double in 12 years in what region or population?

A. The Caribbean
B. China
C. India
D. Africa
E. Aboriginal communities in the Western hemisphere

5. Who is the current Director General of the World Health Organization?

A. Margaret Chan
B. Ban-ki Moon
C. James Orbinski
D. John Baird
E. Aung San Suu Kyi

6. In October, 2009, Desire Munyaneza, the first person to be convicted under Canada’s War Crimes Act, was sentenced to life imprisonment after a court found him guilty of seven charges relating to what?

A. The Rwandan genocide
B. The Sudanese (Darfur) genocide
C. War crimes committed during the Congolese civil war
D. The selling of counterfeit HIV drugs in sub-Saharan Africa
E. War crimes committed during the NATO peacekeeping activities in Somalia

7. In December, 2009, representatives of 192 countries will meet in Copenhagen to discuss what?

A. The on-going humanitarian crisis in Darfur
B. The global threat of terrorism
C. Pandemic influenza
D. Global food production
E. Climate change

8. In November, 2009, this man’s war crimes trial at the World Court in The Hague was postponed till March, 2010, to give his new lawyer time to prepare.

A. George W. Bush
B. Radovan Karadzic
C. Wanderlei Silva
D. Slobodan Milošević
E. Ramush Haradinaj

9. In what year is Canada is scheduled to withdraw the bulk of its troops from Afghanistan?

A. 2010
B. 2011
C. 2012
D. 2013
E. 2014

10. After the May, 2009, conclusion of civil war lasting over two decades, the government of this country has just agreed to release the remaining 136,000 refugees forced to live in government refugee camps.

A. Democratic Republic of Congo
B. Nicaragua
C. Sri Lanka
D. The former Yugoslavia
E. Sudan


Answer key: 1c 2b 3a 4d 5a 6a 7e 8b 9b 10c