Friday, February 26, 2010

IDEA to host Regional BP Debate Workshop and Mini-Tournament in Vilnius

On March 27-28, IDEA will host a debate workshop and mini-tournament in Vilnius for university students. The event will focus on British Parliamentary debate and will work to improve participants' debating and judging skills. Theory and practice will be experienced side-by-side, with workshops and feedback combined to offer a unique learning experience.

The training will be held by top international trainers, judges and debaters. Participants will enjoy a mixture of individual, group, and team coaching. The tournament will then give participants an opportunity to test out their new debate skills. When speakers are eliminated from the competition, they will become adjudicators, participating in the remainder of the tournament from a whole new angle.

For more details on this event, click here. IDEA also has a limited amount of funding available for those who qualify. If you need financial assistance, please contact Marcin Zaleski at

Registration now open for IDEA-NFL China Qualifier

Registration has just started for the 2010 IDEA-NFL China Qualifier event, which will be held April 10-11 in Beijing, China at the Canadian International School of Beijing. For the past five years, IDEA and the National Forensic League have held qualifier events for debate teams in South Korea and Southeast Asia. This year, we are excited to extend this opportunity to students in China.

Students who participate in IDEA-NFL Qualifier events, and qualify from their events, have the opportunity to advance to the National Forensic League US National Tournament in Kansas City, Missouri, USA on June 13-18, 2010. The school fee for entry is USD $125, which includes a one-year membership with both IDEA and the NFL. Individual entry fees are USD $10 per person, per event.

For more information and to register for this event, click here, or contact Lin Lu at

IDEA introduces staff members of 2010 IDEA Youth Forum

IDEA is excited to introduce this year's staff of the IDEA Youth Forum, taking place July 22-August 4, 2010 in Zeeland, Netherlands. These staff members will ensure that the Youth Forum fulfills its purpose in offering participants two weeks of intense learning, debate and fun activities!

As Chief Adjudicator, Andrej Schulcz of Slovakia will be leading all judging sessions at the forum. He will also be making sure that the judging standards for the Karl Popper Debate Championship and the Mixed Teams Tournament are upheld. As the Tabulation Officer, Georgi Velkovski (a.k.a Whiskey) from Macedonia will be responsible for pairing teams and judges for the tournaments. As the Assistant Forum Director, Mary Sheffield from the United States will be responsible for making sure the code of conduct and good behavior is upheld.

The Youth Forum Curriculum Committee is composed of five individuals who are the head trainers of their respective education track. As such, they have been busy putting together their curricula, outlining lessons for their workshops, and selecting the trainers that will teach at the forum. This year's trainers team is composed of the following:

Robert Trapp (USA)- Mixed Teams Track
Sharon Porter (USA)- Coaches and Judges Track
Logan Balavijendran (Malaysia)- British Parliamentary Track
Elisabeth Humphrey (USA)- English as a Foreign Language Track
Joe Zompetti (USA)- International New Debaters Track

Trainers selected to serve in the Mixed Team Track are Dea Markova (Bulgaria), Yang Ge (PR China), Kai Klandorf (Estonia), Zarifa Abassova (Azerbaijan), Habin Chung (Republic of Korea), Lazar Pop Ivanov (Macedonia), Annushia Balavijendran (Malaysia), Anca Pusca (Romania), Branislav Fecko (Slovakia), Spela Kunej (Slovenia), Patrick Bongo Namisi (Uganda), Susan Connolly (Ireland), Ashley Miller (USA), Ronna Liggett (USA), Thomas McCloskey (USA), and Lin Lu (USA/Korea).

Trainers that were selected to serve in the British Parliamentary Track are Sharmila Parmanand (Phillipines) and Vivek Ramsaroop (South Africa). Trainers of the Coaches and Judges Track will be Mark Woolsey (USA) and Noura Mansour (Palestinian Territories). And, Elvira Seitzkazinova (Kazakhstan) will be the trainer for the English as a Second Language Track.

2009 IDEA Youth Forum Trainers

For more information on the 2010 Youth Forum, visit the official YF website. If you are interested in attending this event, contact the Youth Forum Director, Veronika Vlckova at

Tournament in Malacky, Slovakia invites international high school students to debate

The Malacky International Schools Debating Tournament will be held April 8-12, 2010 in Malacky, Slovakia. The format of the event will be World Schools Debating Championships, and will include six preliminary rounds, as well as quarter-finals, semi-finals, and finals. The preliminary rounds will include four prepared motion rounds and two impromptu rounds. The motions for the prepared rounds will be announced in March.

Teams will consist of three members. The tournament will initially accept three teams per country, and will then accept more on a rolling basis if space allows. The registration fee per debater is 20 Euros. Teams are not required to bring a judge, but fees will be waived for one judge or chaperone per debate club. Each club is required however, to delegate someone 18 years or older as a representative in charge of communicating with tournament organizers.

The venue for the tournament will be Gymnazium Malacky, and the finals rounds will take place in Bratislava on Monday, April 12. During the tournament, participants will stay at Penzion Zuzana. There is also alternative lodging available at Hotel Atrium for a fee of 50 Euros per night. Three meals a day will be provided from Friday to Sunday, as well as a breakfast on Monday.

The deadline for registration is March 17, and shortly after, teams will be notified of their entry status. For more information, visit the tournament page, Facebook page, or contact Marie Bullova at To register for the tournament, click here.

International Public Policy Forum prepares for Finals at New York University

Earlier this month, the "Elite Eight" teams of the International Public Policy Forum competition were announced. These eight teams have qualified for all-expenses-paid trips to New York City on April 16-18, where they will compete at New York University for a $10,000 grand prize and the coveted "Bickel and Brewer Cup," a traveling trophy that resides with the IPPF winner. Click here to view the "Elite Eight" teams.

"The teams have distinguished themselves with their scholarship and written advocacy," says William A. Brewer III, partner at Bickel and Brewer and founder of the IPPF. "These students now have the opportunity to showcase their oral debate skills on a global stage as they join schools from around the globe in an advocacy competition that is unlike any other taking place in debate today."

In October, more than 230 high school teams, from 40 states and 31 countries, entered into the competition by writing qualifying essays on the topic, "Resolved: The United Nations should substantially increase humanitarian assistance for persons living in poverty." From those hundreds of essays, the Essay Review Committee chose the "Top 32" teams .

After another round of elimination, the "Sweet 16" teams were decided. Now that the "Elite Eight" have been chosen, these teams will compete face-to-face in front of a panel of high-profile judges such as Brewer, Ret. General Wesley Clark, NYU President John Sexton, National Forensic League Executive Director Scott Wunn and the Director of Forensics at Emory University, Melissa Maxcy.

The IPPF was founded in 2001 by the Bickel and Brewer Foundation, and is now jointly administered with New York University. The program is available every year to all high schools around the world for free. For more information about the IPPF, click here.

Watch the 2010 Belgrade Open in real time on

The 2010 Belgrade Open, one of the largest debate events of the year in Central and Eastern Europe, will be available for real-time viewing through iDebate Live on

The broadcast will air during the tournament, which will take place February 26-28, 2010 in Belgrade, Serbia. The event is expecting about 160 participants from Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, England, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Macedonia, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Turkey and Venezuela. The event will be held in British Parliamentary format and will also include a workshop beforehand. For more information on the 2010 Belgrade Open, click here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Regional BP workshop, tournament slated for March in Vilnius, Lithuania

If you're a university student interested in improving your British Parliamentary debate skills, the IDEA Regional Debate Workshop and Mini-Tournament, March 27-28, is for you.

Interact with and learn from top international trainers, judges and debaters, and participate in a mini-debate competition.

The workshop and all the debates will be conducted in English. The workshop and mini-tournament are open to teams as well as individuals. If you do not have a teammate, we will find one for you in Vilnius!

Dates: 27th-28th March (arrive the 26th in the evening or the 27th in the early morning, depart the 28th in the evening or the 29th in the morning; see the program below)

Participants will enjoy a mixture of group, individual and team coaching, and they will get detailed feedback aimed at improving their skills. Theory and practice will be experienced side-by-side, with workshops and feedback combined to offer a fantastic learning experience. When speakers are eliminated from the competition on Sunday, they will turn into adjudicators, participating in the remainder of the tournament from a whole new angle.


Neill Harvey-Smith
Neill is a professional communication consultant with clients including Barclays, KPMG and BCG. From 2003-09 he was Managing Director of Debate Chamber Ltd. He has adjudicated 6 World Championship Grand Finals, is a former Chief Adjudicator of Europeans, US Nationals, the HWS Round Robin and dozens of other major tournaments. As a speaker, he won World Masters, was twice the national champion and a Worlds Grand Finalist as well as winning around 25 inter-varsity competitions. He is a former Chair of the World Debating Council.

Beth Conner
Beth is a trainee barrister at BPP in London. She is a Diplock Scholar at Middle Temple, who also awarded her a Blackstone Entrance Exhibition. Beth read English at St. Andrews, where she obtained a First-Class Masters degree and was on the Dean's List for Academic Excellence. In two years as a debater, she was a Worlds Masters finalist and reached the Mace final. She has adjudicated the finals of WUPID, US Nationals, St. Andrews and broken at Worlds.

Mihhail Jevdokimov
Mihhail has been involved in competitive debating for 4 years as a debater, judge and coach. He was twice the Baltic Debate Champion, winning the competition in 2008 and 2009. He also won Kyiv Spring 2008 tournament and made it to the English as a Second Language final at Oxford IV 2009. As an adjudicator, Mihhail broke at the European Championships 2008 in Tallinn.

Monika Bukelskyte
Monika is a homegrown Lithuanian debater and adjudicator. She was a finalist at Baltics and the Kyiv Open 2009.


9 Warm-up and personal goal setting
9.30 Debate Workshop
11 Round 1
12.30 Lunch
1.30 Round 2
3.30 Debrief – review personal goals
4.00 Advanced Workshop
5.00 Close

9 Round 3
10.30 Announce break
11.00 Semi-finals
12.30 Lunch
1.30 Final motion announced
2.00 Final
3.30 Results, Feedback and Prize-Giving
4.00 Close

The tournament, workshop, and two lunches are provided by IDEA. Participants are responsible for travel and accommodations. IDEA has limited funding available for participants in need of financial assistance to cover some of their costs. If you would like to attend but lack all the resources, please contact Marcin Zaleski at

Location: „Santara“ Secondary School: Juozapaviciaus Str. 12; Vilnius

Friday, February 19, 2010

Registration begins for China Open

Attention university debate teams! Registration has just begun for the first annual China Open on May 28-30, 2010 on the beautiful campus of Xi'an Jiaotong University in Xi'an, China. There are no participation fees; schools are only responsible for their lodging, meals, and transportation. The grand prize includes a debate tour of the Pacific Northwest region of the United states.

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 tournament will offer both English and Mandarin divisions. A Moot Court division is currently in negotiation. Because space is limited, each school will initially be allowed to enter only two teams. However, for every Mandarin team entered, each school may enter one additional English team. Each school is also required to bring one judge for every two teams entered.

To register for the 2010 China Open, click here.

Register now for IDEA-NFL Korea Qualifier Tournament

Registration is now underway for the 2010 IDEA-NFL Korea Qualifier event, which will be held March 12-13 in Seoul, South Korea. Every year, IDEA and the National Forensic League hold qualifier events for high school debate teams, where participants from each event have the opportunity to advance to the National Forensic League US National Tournament held 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. The school fee for entry is USD $125, which also includes a one-year membership with both IDEA and NFL. Individual entry fees are USD $10 per person, per event. Click here to register.

Debatepedia offers new resources for Spring 2010 Global Debates

Need a jump start on your Spring 2010 Global Debates project? Debatepedia has what you need to get going on 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."

First, Debatepedia offers a full debate page devoted to the Spring 2010 topic. Here, you can find comprehensive and complete arguments both for and and against the resolution, giving you more options when deciding how to structure your debates.

Debatepedia has also created an in-depth portal dedicated to the Spring debate competition. The portal contains an extensive list of resources to help debaters prepare for their debates and write their climate change adaptation plan. It includes lists of good starting points, primary resources, news articles, and website resources.

Visit Debatepedia and get a step ahead this semester during the Global Debates!

Participants announced for 2010 Round Robin Tournament

Every year, IDEA and Hobart and William Smith College host the prestigious Round Robin Tournament for sixteen top debate schools around the world. The 2010 Round Robin Tournament will take place April 2-3 on the campus of HWS College in Geneva, New York. The debate teams chosen to take part in this year's tournament are the following:
  • Athens University, Greece
  • Cambridge University, England
  • Carleton University, Canada
  • Kings Inn, Ireland
  • Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • McGill, Canada
  • Malaysia Multimedia University, Malaysia
  • Oxford University, England
  • Queen's College, Canada
  • Rhodes University, South Africa
  • Sydney, Australia
  • Tel Aviv, Israel
  • University of British Columbia, Canada
  • Underwood International College, South Korea
  • Yale University, United States
  • Irish Times Champions, Ireland
The HWS/IDEA Round Robin Tournament is designed to bring together an elite and internationally diverse group of debaters each year for a weekend of debate at the highest level. The tournament is held in World-Universities Debate Championship format with pre-paired round robin teams, ensuring that each team debates against every other team at least.

The tournament is now accepting applications for adjudicators. For more information on the 2010 HWS/IDEA Round Robin Tournament, click here. utilizes new online tool to engage with website users

Earlier this week, IDEA introduced a new addition to their website that will help users actively engage with what is written on the site. The new "Reframe It" tool, recently introduced by Firefox, allows website visitors to highlight text, comment on it, and share their words with other visitors.

Part of the Reframe It mission expresses how this tool "makes it possible for users to place any online material in a new light...Reframe It is easy, accessible and empowering because it enables in-stream-of-thought commenting."

Users can sign into Reframe It with their Facebook, Twitter or Open ID accounts. Visit IDEA's official website at to check out the new Reframe It tool and try it out!

Friday, February 12, 2010

2010 International Tournament of Champions registration now open

Teams can now register for the 2010 International Tournament of Champions, which will be held on May 21-23 in Salem, Oregon, USA. Taking place on the beautiful campus of Willamette University, high school debate teams from around the world will gather for the annual ITOC for a weekend of learning, competitive debate, and friendship building activities.

The tournament takes on the Worlds-School Debate format, which promotes international understanding through free speech. The first day of the tournament will feature a debate workshop hosted by IDEA and the Willamette University Debate Union.

Applications will be accepted through April 22, 2010, or until all spots have been filled. Debate teams who apply will be selected for the ITOC based on the debate team's overall experience and competitive success during the current school year. To register for the 2010 ITOC, visit

Topics for the 2010 IDEA Youth Forum Announced

During the IDEA Youth Forum held every summer, two debate tournaments are traditionally held for participants- the Karl Popper Debate Championship and the Mixed Teams Tournament. In preparation for these tournaments, debate topics for the 2010 IDEA Youth Forum have recently been announced.

The theme for the 2010 Karl Popper Debate Championship (KPDC) will feature youth issues and is divided into two motions. The first motion is "Countries should ban the import of goods produced by child labor," and the second motion is "In some cases juveniles should be tried as adults." The KPDC lasts from July 22nd-26th. For more information, click here.

The theme for the 2010 Mixed Team Tournament (MTT) will focus on migration and the motion will be "Government should preserve rural life." This tournament takes place July 27th-August 4th and for more information, click here.

The 2010 IDEA Youth Forum will be held in Zeeland, Netherlands from July 22 to August 4 and is sponsored by IDEA and Zeeland's Institute for Social and Cultural Development (SCOOP). For more information on the Youth Forum, click here.

Prepare for The People Speak 2010 Spring Global Debates with new resources

Attention high school debate teams! The People Speak Spring 2010 Global Debates competition begins on March 1st. New toolkits and resources are now available for every step of the competition, so your team has a successful semester of debating!

The topic for this semester's competition is "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." To get started on interpreting this topic and for complete instructions on how to hold a public debate, download the debate toolkit.

A new addition to the spring competition requires debate teams to also develop and submit a climate change adaptation plan. Download the adaptation plan toolkit for complete instructions and helpful hints.

A helpful portal on Debatepedia for the 2010 Spring Global Debates will provide pro and con arguments for the topic, which will help your team plan their public debate and develop their climate change adaptation plan.

Toolkits are also available for each extra activity that earns your team more points including video PSAs, participation of elected leaders, service projects, press coverage, and research blog posts. Click here to download a toolkit for any of these activities.

Haven't registered yet for the 2010 Spring Global Debates? Click here to find out more and register your team!

International Public Policy Forum announces "Elite 8" teams

On February 10th, the top eight debate teams to advance from the "Sweet Sixteen" round of the International Public Policy Forum tournament were announced. Congratulations to the following "Elite Eight" teams of the 2009-2010 IPPF tournament:

Atlantic Community High School, Boca Raton, FL
Cherry Creek High School, Greenwood Village, CO
Notre Dame High School, Sherman Oaks, CA
Henry Clay High School, Lexington, KY
McNeil High School, Austin, TX
Samuel Marsden Collegiate College, Wellington, New Zealand
Singapore Ministry of Education, Singapore
Suncoast Community High School, Riviera Beach, FL

These schools have qualified for an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City to compete in the final rounds on the campus of New York University. During the finals on April 16th-18th, teams will compete for a $10,000 grand prize through written and oral debates in front of a panel of some of the world's leaders in debate, business, law and politics. For more information on the IPPF, click here or visit the IPPF Facebook page.

IDEA sponsors Northwest debate tour for Chinese students

On February 10th, a small group of college students arrived in the U.S. for the second annual Northwest Debate Tour. The month-long tour includes visits to six Oregon and Washington universities and will give these Chinese students the opportunity to engage in democratic
free speech by discussing topics that are censored in their home country.

Four students from Xi'an Jiaotong University, Wen Wang, Shenggang Li, Zhe Xu, and Xiaoyu He, all qualified for this opportunity last May at a debate tournament in Xi'an, China. The debate tour is an extension of IDEA's recent efforts to encourage discussion in Asia through several tournaments and events, where IDEA has encouraged the discussion of prohibited issues about Tibet, Taiwan, Tiananmen Square and Internet censorship.

"The debate tour emphasizes the fact that the notion of free speech in China and the U.S. are so different," said Robert Trapp, Willamette University Professor and IDEA-US Executive Director. "People are nervous in China about criticizing the government, specifically about these issues. With this in mind, IDEA has continued to push the envelope in bringing debate and free speech to China."

Over the years, IDEA has learned how to debate censored topics safely, but that doesn't mean the topics have been toned down. In fact, these debaters qualified for the tour by debating the topic, "The People's Republic of China should forswear military force in Taiwan." Here, debaters will be able to discuss topics that are normally taboo, with other students their age.

"Mandarin debate focuses more on philosophical and theoretical topics, while English debate focuses more on immediate effective policy-making. The challenges of authority of political entity is not popular in Mandarin debate," explained Yang Ge, the IDEA trainer who will be chaperoning the tour. "I hope [the students] could sense and understand the differences between east and west in the way of thinking, the perspectives, the characters, and the way of debating, so they could sort out their limitations and improve themselves."

During the tour, the Chinese students will debate with other university students and enjoy sightseeing at every stop. They will also participate in two university debate tournaments and a public debate. Their tour includes visits to the University of Puget Sound, Western Washington University, Northwest University, Pacific Lutheran University, Linfield College, and Willamette University. On March 1st, debaters will complete their tour and return to China.

ARDOR YouSpeak Project draws large number of online debaters

From October through December 2009, ARDOR hosted the YouSpeak Project, the first online debate tournament in Romania. During these three months, the project held 127 online debates, where forty percent were won by the affirmative and sixty percent by the negative.

Three rounds of debate were held during this period. The first round of debates included 204 teams discussing the motion, "Some websites should be banned in order to protect minors." The second round had 138 teams debating on the topic, "Compulsory voting should be introduced in Romania." Then, 112 teams participated in the third round on the motion, "Blood donation operations should be transferred from the state to the non-governmental sector"; after which, 89 teams remained. To view these debates, click here.

The first fifteen teams of this online debate tournament also participated in the YouSpeak Winter Camp, which was held on December 18th-23rd to improve students' public speaking skills. Videos of these speeches will soon be posted on

Because of such successful participation numbers, ARDOR intends to organize more online debate tournaments in the future as annual events. The Romanian Association for Debate, Oratory and Rhetoric is a non-governmental, nonprofit organization founded in 1998, from which debate clubs in over 50 high schools and seven universities have been established.

Call for debate instructors for summer school in Istanbul, Turkey

The Open Society Institute (OSI) is currently recruiting debate instructors to teach at the Network Scholarship Program (NSP) 2010 Pre-Academic Summer School in Istanbul. Two identical sessions of the summer school will be held July 1-28 and July 29-August 25 Instructors may choose to apply to one or both.

The summer school is designed to prepare NSP scholarship finalists from Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Middle East and Southeast Asia for graduate studies or faculty exchange programs primarily in the UK or the US. The curriculum is an integration of academic writing courses with intensive seminar-style social science courses and debate training.

Experienced teachers of debate interested in this opportunity should submit a letter of interest, CV, and sample course outline for an intensive 3.5 week period to Applicants should specify which summer session they are applying for.

For complete details of the NSP Pre-Academic Summer School, including teaching hours, responsibilities, remuneration, and application details, click here.

Friday, February 05, 2010

Debate club recently established in Peja, Kosovo

A training for high school students in Peja, Kosovo was held on January 27th by the FOL Movement (Speak Up Movement) and the Balkan Investigatory Reporting Network (BIRN). After receiving training on the Karl Popper Debate format, fifteen students joined the newly established debate club in Peja. The new debaters expressed their satisfaction and enthusiasm with the debate program, and they look forward to attending the Prishtina Open Debate Tournament later this month.

This was the first phase of a project supported by the Kosovo Open Society Foundation to re-institute the debate program in Kosovo. The FOL Movement and BIRN are now organizing similar trainings for debate clubs in other Kosovo cities such as Prishtina and Ferizaj.

"Speaker of the Year" Tournament held in Minsk, Belarus

On January 23rd in Minsk, Belarus, the "Speaker of the Year" tournament was held at the Minsk Palace of Children and Youth. The tournament included prepared and impromptu speeches, in which students competed in English. The team from gymnasium number three from Borisov, Belarus attended the tournament, and said that even though they had been debating since September 2009, this tournament was unique. The venue and the type of debate rounds were all new to them, but in the end, they said it was an unforgettable experience.

The prepared speech round featured debaters practicing their dramatic skills in reciting prose, as they gave speeches varying from Martin Luther King, Jr., Hilary Clinton, and even Winnie-the-Pooh. The winners of these prepared speeches were Irina Makovchik (1st), Emma Mkhitaryan (2nd) and Alice Begoun (3rd). The best speakers of the impromptu category were Alice Begoun (1st place) and Emma Mkhitaryan (2nd place).

Irina Makovchik, from the Borisov team, took first place in the prepared speech category with a selection from Winnie-the-Pooh. She said, “When they told me I was the winner, I felt both happy and perplexed at the same time. There were so many really good speakers that I didn't expect to take first place. I like it here because of the friendly atmosphere and lots of interesting people around. So, try your hand at debate!"

New IDEA blog shares debate news from around the globe

Are you looking for the most current debate news from the most sources possible? Well, IDEA has just launched its "DebateNews" blog on that has both comprehensive and up-to-date information on what's happening in the world of debate. This new blog pulls information from many different debate sites so you don't have to! Click here to subscribe.