UWaterloo Map the System team goes global

Monday, May 10, 2021
by Centre for Peace Advancement

Congratulations Muhammed Ahsanur Rahim, Leah Feor and Ewomazino Odhigbo for being 1/4 Map the System Canada Finalists!
On Friday May 7th, 2021, eight teams of students from across Canada competed in the Map the System Canadian Finals for the chance to present their research on a global stage. For their incredible presentation and systematic investigation of the precarious foreign labour conditions in Malaysian palm oil plantations, Leah Feor, Ewomazino Iyanu Oluwa Odhigbo and Muhammed Ahsanur Rahim will be representing the University of Waterloo as one of four Canadian teams at the Map the System Global Finals from June 9-11.


Organized by the University of Oxford, Map the System is a global pitch competition that encourages students to “apprentice with the problem”, by thoroughly investigating the existing research, stakeholders and contexts behind a problem to identify gaps and address them in a meaningful, sustainable way. Unlike more traditional pitch competitions, Map the System aims to “incentivize people to deeply learn about and understand a problem,” before conceptualizing solutions.

Teams representing 16 institutions across Canada came together virtually for the Map the System Canada Finals from May 3rd to 7th, 2021, organized by the Institute for Community Prosperity at Mount Royal University with the support of McConnell’s Re-Code program and the Trico Charitable Foundation. After a semi-final round, eight teams were selected to present at the public adjudication on May 7th. Challenges ranged from the harmful environmental and social impacts of renewable energy technologies to sex trafficking in Canada, food insecurity in Toronto, and beyond. Since joining this global competition for the first time in 2019, UWaterloo’s presence at Map the System has only continued to grow through the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement's mentorship and support. In fact, students from the University of Waterloo accounted for almost 1/3 of Map the System submissions from across Canada in 2021!


Catch up on what happened at UWaterloo’s 2021 Campus Finals in “Map the System brings Waterloo students around the world.”


UWaterloo Map the System 2021 finalists: Mohammed Ahsan Rahim, Leah Feor and Ewomazino Odhigbo
Leah Feor, Ewomazino Iyanu Oluwa Odhigbo and Muhammed Ahsanur Rahim represented UWaterloo at the 2021 Canadian finals with their presentation on foreign labour conditions in Malaysian palm oil plantations. By focusing on the international supply and value chain for palm oil, they identified the need for further supervisory regulations, greater labour representation mechanisms, and consumer-targeted pull strategies to stabilize and improve labour conditions going forward. When asked why they focused on these possible solutions over others, Feor and Rahim explained that the team wanted to approach the topic realistically, and therefore targeted feasible changes that can be implemented to address the current system.

Even through a virtual platform, the audience’s anticipation as prizes were announced at the Canadian showcase was palpable. Teams from the University of Alberta and Humber College each took home an “Audience Choice” award of $250 from Canada Helps to support a non-profit organization of their choice. The top four presentations each won $2,000 to further their research, and will be attending the Global Final hosted by the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School this June. The University of Waterloo looks forward to competing alongside teams from the University of British Columbia, University of Alberta, and our neighbour from down the street, Wilfrid Laurier University.

Global finalists can win additional cash prizes and are eligible for further “Apprenticing with the Problem” support to help develop their ideas. However, during her keynote presentation at the Canadian Finals, Map the System creator, Daniela Papi-Thornton emphasized that the impact of Map the System goes beyond cash prizes and accolades: “if this has opened any doors for you or changed how you think about something, you are winning.”

Watch for details on how you can attend the virtual Map the System Global Finals on June 11th to open your mind to systems thinking and support our team from UWaterloo.


The UWaterloo Map the System competition is hosted by the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement. Register to receive notifications about the 2022 competition.