Before Sept. 11, most Americans probably couldn't have named the capital of Afghanistan.
Now they are likely to know several cities, such as Jalalabad and Kandahar, as well as the capital, Kabul.
Facts like these are second nature to the National Geographic Bee state-level competitors - top students whose understanding of the world and its geography, economics, politics, cultures and religions ensure they will become leaders of tomorrow.
These students put their knowledge to the test at the state-level competitions of the 2002 National Geographic Bee.
Michael Schulz from Storm Lake Middle School competed yesterday.
The winner in each state will advance to the national finals in Washington next month to vie for the National Geographic Bee crown, with a first prize of a $25,000 college scholarship. "Jeopardy!" quiz show host Alex Trebek will moderate the national competition.
The National Geographic Society developed the Geographic Bee in response to concern about the lack of geographic knowledge among the young people in the United States.
Here are some of the questions students faced:
* Both oil and natural gas resources are found in which state - Rhode Island or Kansas? Kansas
* Spices such as cinnamon, cumin, chili, and turmeric have been used not only as flavoring, but also as medicine, in South Asia's largest country. Name this country. India
* The Union Jack appears on the flags of several countries, due to previous rule by which country? United Kingdom
* Ivory, Gold, and Skeleton have all been the names of coasts of which continent? Africa
* Permanent sea ice connects part of Canada's Ellesmere Island with what large island to the east? Greenland
* What is the name of the fortress in Moscow built in the late 1400s that is used as the center of the Russian government? Kremlin
* What is the the channel that separates North America from Asia? Bering Strait
* Which Scandinavian country chose not to adopt the common currency of the European Union, the euro, in a vote held in September 2000. Denmark
* If a plane flies northwest over Victoria Falls, what country will it fly over once it crosses the Zambezi River? Zambia