Student Debate Series

Teachers, use the link on the right-hand side of this page to access our Student Debate Self-Facilitation Document! 

Introducing the Student Debate Series (NEW for 2020-21) 

Borrowing off both the success of the Council’s first ever virtual Summer Global Leadership Seminar for high school students and the Council’s Great Debates legacy podium speaker series, we will be offering a new virtual debate series for member high schools students. In response to a timely debate prompt, students will be divided and assigned to one of two groups (affirmative or negative) and will hone their research, writing, strategic thinking, and public speaking skills in the form of a virtual debate with their peers.  The Council will provide accompanying topic and group-specific resources for students to review prior to the virtual debate.  A panel of judges will utilize a detailed rubric to choose a winning side and students will have the opportunity to earn individual awards based on their debate participation and performance.

* Platforms Offered: Zoom;
Duration: 2 hours;
Program Offerings: 3 debates in 2020-2021 academic year - October, February, Self-Facilitated Debate; 
* Preparation level: Medium - Students should anticipate reading a short set of pre-vetted resources from the perspective of their assigned debate group prior to participating in the virtual debate

Past Programs

February Debate Program (Wednesday, February 10, 2021)

Protecting and upholding human rights is a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy and international institutions like the United Nations. However, debate continues on how far nations should go to enforce human rights in other countries. The World Affairs Council of Philadelphia's February Debate Series revolves around this fundamental question: 

Should the United States pursue economic and/or military interventions in the name of protecting international human rights?

October Debate Program (Thursday, October 15, 2020)

Given the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic, should the United States primarily focus on taking an isolationist approach and combating the virus at home, or should the United States take an internationalist approach and coordinate with allies and international organizations to fight the spread of COVID-19? In response to this debate prompt, students were divided and assigned to one of two teams. In preparation for the debate, students were tasked with reading through the general background resources, as well as all team-specific resources. Students also were encouraged to take notes on the resources provided and had the option to do additional researech on their own in order to bolster their arguments and topic knowledge. 

Thank you to our program sponsors! 

Subak Family Foundation

Debate Self-Facilitation Guide

This document serves as a guide for teachers who want to self-facilitate a debate program with their students. It provides a debate outline for the topic, "Ensuring Equity and Efficiency in Addressing Climate Change: Public Sector vs. Private Sector," with recommended resources and a sample agenda.