Friday, January 29, 2010

Registration now open for IDEA-NFL Korea Qualifier

Registration has just begun for the 2010 IDEA-NFL Korea Qualifier event, which will be held March 12th and 13th in Seoul, South Korea. Every year, IDEA and the National Forensic League holds qualifier events for debate teams, where participants from each event have the opportunity to advance to the National Forensic League US National Tournament, which will be held on June 13-18, 2010 in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

Each school is allowed to enter a number of participants that is proportional to the size of its speech and debate club. In addition, each school must also bring a certain number of judges according to their amount of entries. For more information on these guidelines, click here. The school fee for entry is USD $125, which includes a one-year membership with both IDEA and NFL. Individual entry fees are USD $10 per person, per event.

To register for this event, and for additional information, click here.

First annual China Open to be held this May

This week, IDEA announced a new tournament for university debate teams! The first annual China Open will take place on May 28-30, 2010 on the beautiful campus of Xi'an Jiaotong University in Xi'an China. The tournament will be conducted in the Four-Team Parliamentary Debate format, and will include English and Mandarin divisions. The chief adjudicator will be Logandran Balavijendran, who is a two-time champion of the All-Asian Debate Championship and a chief adjudicator of the 2010 World Universities Debating Championship. The grand prize for all divisions includes a debate tour of the Pacific Northwest region of the United States.

Best of all, there are no participation fees for the China Open. However, space is limited. Each school will initially be allowed to enter only two teams, but each school may enter one additional English team for each Mandarin team entered. Also, each school is required to bring one judge for every two teams. Participants will be responsible for the costs of transportation, meals and lodging.

Registration will begin soon! For more information, visit the event page.

IDEA gearing up for Bosnia and Herzegovina Youth Leadership Program

On March 26th, eighteen students and three teachers from Bosnia and Herzegovina will arrive in Salem, Oregon for the Bosnia and Herzegovina Youth Leadership Program. When the participants depart on April 20th, they will leave with a more complete understanding of civic participation and the rights and responsibilities of citizens in a democracy. Applicants for this program are currently being reviewed, and participants will be announced on February 15th.

Hosted by IDEA, Willamette University, and the U.S. Department of State, the program explores the meaning behind democratic citizenship through the three-week Civic Education and Leadership Institute at Willamette University, local community service projects, and visits to local high-schools. In addition, site-seeing will also be a part of the curriculum with trips to local museums and attractions, and a visit to the national capital in Washington, DC!

During their stay, participants will actively engage with the community of Salem. They will reside with local host families throughout the program, which are now in the selection process. Students and teachers will attend classes and workshops during the institute at Willamette University, which is located just across the street from Oregon's capital building and near state, county, and local civic centers. IDEA is also in the process of working with local non-profit agencies to organize service projects for the participants, as well as collaborating with local high-schools where participants will engage in debate events and visit with other high-school students.

For more information on the Bosnia and Herzegovina Youth Leadership Program, visit the program's website.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Youth Forum Kick-Off event creates excitement in Zeeland!

On January 20th, IDEA, SCOOP, and the Province of Zeeland, hosted the official 2010 Youth Forum Kick-Off, held in this year's hosting country of the Netherlands. As the first PR event for the 2010 Youth Forum, the event was attended by regional and provincial media, potential sponsors, partners and VIP from Zeeland. Ms. Karla Peijs, the Queens Comissioner for the Province of Zeeland, opened the event and will be serving as the Chairperson of the Committee of Recommendation (CoR) of the Youth Forum. The other members of this committee are the Deputy Director for social affairs of the Province of Zeeland, Dean of Roosveldt Academy, President of the Executive Board of the Hogeschool Zeeland, Mayor of Vlissingen and Middelburg, Chairman of the Executive Board of Economic Impulse in Zeeland, CEO of AddVision Consultancy, Commander of the Navy Base in Vlissingen and former Executive Director of Naval Academy.

The kick-off was hosted in the historical compounds of the former Abbey, which is currently used by the provincial government. Ms. Peijs said that she is proud to be the CoR chairperson of an event that brings together 250 young people from all over the world to Zeeland. She added how particularly pleased she is with the fact that participants will be discussing the issue of internal migration especially because of the local demographic changes that can be seen in the Province. She is also excited to hear the solutions proposed by the future generations, who will be affected by it the most.

Silvan Licher, a 2009 YF participant, also spoke at the Kick-Off event. He will be serving as the 2010 YF Ambassador, since the Youth Forum will be hosted in his hometown of Middelburg, Zeeland. After his speech, a video was shown from the 2009 Youth Forum Champions from Hunter, USA, who gave advice to future participants. Check out the video at the YF website here. At the end of the event, Marcin Zaleski, IDEA-Netherlands Executive Director, handed over the KPDC trophy to Ms. Karla Peijs and Silvan Licher as a token of passing on the organization of this year's YF to our partners in Zeeland.

From left: Marcin Zaleski (IDEA-Netherlands Executive Director), Karla Peijs (Queens Commissioner for Province of Zeeland), and Silvan Licher (2010 YF Ambassador)

The 2010 Youth Forum in Zeeland will be held on July 22nd- August 4th. The IDEA Youth Forum is a high school debate event that includes three debate competitions as well as debate workshops and great social activities! To find out more, visit the Youth Forum website.

Friday, January 22, 2010

2010 IDEA Exchange invites young people to share and discover new ideas

The 2010 IDEA Exchange, hosted by IDEA-Netherlands, will take place in Vilnius, Lithuania on March 27th-28th. Registration is open to young people (15-25 years old) from Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Ukraine. The Exchange also invites a limited amount of teachers, educators, trainers, NGO activists and professionals. To register for this event, click here.

The IDEA Exchange emphasizes the sharing of ideas and experiences, and encourages building connections and establishing international links between individuals, groups, and organizations. The topics for this year's Exchange include: young people and historical memory, creative use of new media for youth participation, and debate and civic participation. Participants are encouraged to present their own ideas, attend other presentations, take part in workshops and debates, and join others in fun cultural activities.

The Exchange takes the format of a bar-camp style, which provides flexibility while encouraging active participation and facilitating exchange. Financial aid is available for participants. For more details about the 2010 Exchange, visit their website, or contact You can also follow this event on their Twitter page.

Mark your calendars for the 2010 IDEA YouthExchange this April

Hosted by IDEA-Netherlands, the 2010 IDEA YouthExchange will be held on April 10th-11th in Budapest, Hungary. This event brings together youth from around the world for a weekend of presentations, discussion, and fun. This year's YouthExchange will focus on the promotion of democratic values and combating populism in public discourse, particularly through the use of new media, from around the world.

Like all other IDEA Exchanges, the YouthExchange uses the format of a bar-camp style, which provides flexibility while encouraging active participation and facilitating exchange. During the event, participants will present their work to one another, discuss ideas, and have fun! Financial aid is available for participants from Hungary and abroad. For more information, visit the YouthExchange website or Facebook page. To register, click here.

Register for the US Universities Debate Championship in Denver, Colorado

The 2010 USU Debate Championships will be held April 9th-11th, at Regis University in Denver, Colorado. Registration for the tournament is $120 per team and $60 per critic. The tournament is proud to announce that Chris Kolerok, former Worlds' semi-finalist, will serve as the Chief Adjudicator, and Chris Richter, the director of debate at Portland State University, will be running tab. Teams are required to bring their own judge, as N-1 judging will be used at the tournament.

To view the schedule, hotel information, or to register, visit the 2010 USU website. For specific inquiries or to hire a judge, contact Robert Margesson Ph.D., the director of debate at Regis Univeristy, at

Global Youth Panel pioneers collective participation on new web tool, Google Wave

On January 18th, the Global Youth Panel began its second phase of debate on the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Sponsored by Debatewise, IDEA, and the British Council, the panel began forming weeks before the conference, gathering young voices from around the world to weigh in on topics being discussed by world leaders. This effort was very successful, as 1,000 debaters from over 130 different countries joined together.

And the success of the GYP has not gone unnoticed; international leaders and individuals alike have recognized the inspiration of this project. Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the IPPC and Nobel Peace Prize winner, expressed how "this promises to be an effective forum for spreading awareness and serving as a catalyst for energizing our society.” One blogger from the wrote, "the Global Youth Panel has some inspiring stories from Iranian debaters who bypassed web censoring software and a Bhutan whose team persuaded their ISP to offer extra bandwidth. Meanwhile a coordinator in Cambodia gave IT training to 30 kids from 'some of the poorest, most destitute families in Cambodia' so they could take part."

Perhaps some of the most notable attention the panel is receiving comes from its use of a revolutionary collaboration software, Google Wave, which was only recently introduced. David Crane, founder of Debatewise, commented that "Google Wave has significant advantages over a traditional wiki for bringing new participants into the fold. As a result, we had healthy, live debates on a global scale, giving a voice to youth around the planet in an international forum." Co-founder of Google Wave, Lars Rasmussen, was "delighted" at the success this technology brought to the GYP, and would like to see it further "tackle important global issues like climate change across geographies and cultures."

Read more about how the Global Youth Panel utilized this technology on the Google Wave Blog. For more information on the panel, and to view recent debates, click here.

IDEA-NFL Qualifiers planned for Korea and Southeast Asia

For the fifth consecutive year, IDEA and the National Forensic League will hold qualifier events for debate teams in Southeast Asia and Korea. Depending on the number of entries in each event, either one or two students (or teams) from each event will qualify for the NFL National Tournament, which will be held on June 13-18, 2010 in Kansas City, Missouri.

This year's competitive events will include Public Forum Debate, Original Oratory, Humorous Interpretation, Dramatic Interpretation, Duo Interpretation, and International Extemporaneous Speaking. Guidelines for each event can be found here.

Registration will begin soon. For more information on the Korea qualifier, click here, and for information on the Southeast Asia qualifier, click here.

International Public Policy Forum progresses to "sweet sixteen" round

Since November 4th, 32 high schools from around the world have been competing in the International Public Policy Forum debate essay competition. This year's topic is, "Resolved: The United Nations should substantially increase humanitarian assistance for persons living in poverty." Here are the "sweet sixteen" teams who have advanced in this year's competition:

Nanyang Girls', Singapore
McNeil, Texas, USA
Princess Anne, Virginia, USA
Henry Clay, Kentucky, USA
Shady Side, Pennsylvania, USA
Samuel Marsden, New Zealand
Atlantic, Florida, USA
Henry Grady, Georgia, USA
Notre Dame, California, USA
Chaparral, Colorado, USA
Cherry Creek, Colorado, USA
Shanley, North Dakota, USA
Suncoast, Florida, USA
Clear Brook, Texas, USA
Singapore MOE, Singapore
Maritzburg, South Africa

The "elite eight" teams will be announced on February 10th and will be flown to New York City for the IPPF Finals at NYU on April 17th-19th. Elimination rounds will be held in front of a distinguished panel of experts, including Retired General Wesley K. Clark. Debaters will be competing for $30,000 in prize money, including a $10,000 grand prize. For more information, visit the IPPF website, Facebook, or Youtube.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Trainer selection process for the 2010 IDEA Youth Forum has begun!

Thank you to all those who have applied to be a trainer at one of IDEA's main events, the 2010 IDEA Youth Forum! All applicants should have received a very important email that was sent out on Friday, January 8th, that contained more information about the selection process. If any applicant has not received an email, please contact the forum director, Veronika Vlckova, as soon as possible at For more information on the Youth Forum trainer position, visit the Global Call for Trainers page.

All candidates will be notified of their status by February 15th, 2009. The curriculum committee will be selecting 21 trainers that will be given the opportunity to become an IDEA YF trainer. The trainers will also be selected specifically for the given track at the time of selection. In addition, the committee will be selecting up to 5 trainers that will be placed on the waiting list, in case a selected trainer would fall out or additional trainers would be needed due to an unexpected increase in the number of participants.

The IDEA Youth Forum will take place in Zeeland, Netherlands July 22-August 4, 2010. The Forum expects up to 220 participants from around the globe, which include high-school students (aged 14-19), teachers, and coaches. The official language at the Forum is English, and will include both Karl Popper and British Parliamentary debate formats. During the event, participants will engage in argumentation and debate sessions, and will also participate in three debate tournaments, including the Karl Popper Debate World Championships, the Karl Popper Mixed Teams Tournament, and the British Parliamentary Debate Tournament.

To follow all the latest updates and new details about the 2010 Youth Forum, check out the Youth Forum Website or sign up for the Youth Forum E-newsletter. And of course, the Big IDEA will continue to keep our readers informed on all the latest information!

Tulane professor builds on IDEA's work in New Orleans

Last spring, IDEA hosted several debate workshops and tournaments in New Orleans, Louisiana, for teachers and students interested in starting debate clubs in their schools. IDEA and National Forensic League staff, as well as three professors from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, provided debate knowledge and skills to the participants.

Ryan McBride, a professor at Tulane University in New Orleans, attended the workshops as well, and was inspired to action. As part of Tulane's undergraduate public service requirement, McBride had his fall semester persuasive writing students teach debate in New Orleans middle schools. The in-school debate sessions culminated in a beginners' tournament on the Tulane campus, which included 65 participants from five schools. The topic of the debate was whether zoos do more harm than good, in which the students learned first-hand about the situation with a field trip to the Audobon Zoo.

Not only did the tournament educate students about debate and argumentation, but also provided a rich cultural experience for the middle school students, and his students as well. Professor McBride said "It was a mixture of accents, socio-economic backgrounds, and races... After the fantastically successful debate tournament, everyone is on board. The teachers and principals are enthusiastic and the debate teams are galvanized and eager for the next debate. I can't tell you how amazing this experience has been for my Tulane students as well. As coaches they developed strong bonds with their middle school students and worked together to develop the skills that allowed their students to perform wonderfully at the debate we held on the Tulane University campus."

Professor McBride's inspiration passed on to his students, as he says that many are coming back next semester to build on the progress made, and they are also starting a new student organization on campus called the Debate Education Society. McBride and his students plan to hold debate tournaments on campus every semester.

Friday, January 08, 2010

The People Speak Global Debates Fall 2009 results and Spring 2010 topic announced

Congratulations to all the teams that participated in The People Speak Fall 2009 Global Debates competition. Here are the top-ten teams who have taken the lead through their excellent efforts during the fall semester:

New Hope Academy, U.S.
Santee High School, U.S.
Liceul Academy de Stiinte, Moldova
Prometeu-Prim, Moldova
Kerr High School, U.S.
Colegiul Finan. Bancar, Moldova
Campestre Americano, Colombia
Lindale High School, U.S.
Brother Rice, U.S.
Mircea Eliade Lyceum, Moldova

Final winners will be announced in May after the Spring 2010 competition, which will be determined by adding the points teams received from the fall debates and spring debates. The top-two U.S. and the top-two international teams win a trip to the 2010 IDEA Youth Forum in Zeeland, Netherlands. The three U.S. runner-up teams and the three international runner-up teams each receive UN Foundation grants of $2,000. For more information on the final prizes, click here.

Ready to start working toward a final prize? Get started on the Spring 2010 Global Debates today. Here is this semester's topic: "Annex I countries of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) should provide significantly increased aid to developing countries specifically for climate change adaptation." Debates begin in March, but it's never to early to start brainstorming, researching, and planning!

For more information on The People Speak 2009/2010 Global Debates, click here. Good luck to all participating teams! Not participating yet? Find out more about this event and how your team can take part this semester.

Registration coming soon for the 2010 International Tournament of Champions

On May 21-23, 2010, high school debate teams from around the world will gather in Salem, Oregon for the annual International Tournament of Champions. Taking place on the beautiful campus of Willamette University, this debate tournament features a worlds-style competition, as well as team-building activities. The first day of the tournament will feature a debate workshop hosted by IDEA and the Willamette University Debate Union, to which all participants are invited.

Registration for the 2010 ITOC will begin soon! For more information click here, or contact Crystal Jeffers at

Mark your calendars for the National Junior Forensic League in June

Attention all middle school debate teams! The 2010 National Junior Forensic League tournament will be held June 24th-27th, 2010, in Iowa City, Iowa. Hosted by IDEA and the the National Forensic League, the NJFL tournament is the annual premier event for middle school debate teams. The tournament focuses on preparing young debaters for competition on the national level.

Participants are offered several choices of debate competition styles such as policy debate, public forum, Lincoln-Douglas, congress legislation, storytelling, or extemporaneous speaking. Registration will begin soon! For more information and details about this event, visit the NJFL website or contact Elizabeth Carson-Garland at