International High School Debate

 2017 SESSION – JUNE 17-24 

The Claremont Summer program prepares US and other high school students for International Public Debate Program (IPDP) and international debate programming (e.g., World Schools Debating Championship format events). Claremont’s IPDP is the largest and most active international debate initiative for US high school students. The Claremont Summer program offers (1) the most rigorous training for international debating, (2) opportunities to participate in multiple international debate formats, and (3) an integrated IPDP audition and the opportunity to participate in 2017-18 tournaments and international debate exchanges.

In recent years, IPDP students have attended tournaments and public debate events in Canada, Mexico, Chile, Turkey, Korea, Argentina, China, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Peru, Croatia, South Africa, Czech Republic, Bermuda, and Thailand. The IPDP has hosted teachers and students from a number of countries at US sites for international debate tournaments and educational exchanges, including representatives from Korea, Mexico, United Kingdom, Jordan, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bermuda, China, Germany, Palestinian Authority, Chile, Peru, Singapore, Indonesia, Canada, and Kazakhstan. The IPDP has twice hosted the Pan American Debating Championship and sponsors two US National Debating Championships in international formats – the World Schools Debating Championship (WSDC) format and the World Parliamentary Debate (WPD) format. 




Summer programs are for in-residence and commuter students. Students entering 9th-12th grades (ages 14-18) in Fall 2017 are eligible to participate. The session is appropriate for new and experienced debaters. Each session includes small group instruction, elective classes, and practice debates with certified instructors. Debating includes extemporaneous argumentation (advanced topic announcement) and impromptu argumentation (topic announcement one hour prior to a debate). Pre-announced topics are listed on this page. Impromptu topics are announced during the workshop.

In addition to comprehensive training and practice debating in the World Schools Debating Championship (WSDC) and World Parliamentary Debate (WPD) formats, the session also serves as an instructional platform for other international debate formats, including HSPDP, BP, and KPD.

The institute also is the primary audition site for the selection of US teams for major international events, including the Pan American Debating Championship (rotating sites),  China National Debating Championship (multiple sites), the Heart of Europe Debating Championship (Olomouc, Czech Republic), and the Eurasian Schools Debating Championship (Istanbul, Turkey).

The national debate formats sponsored at other summer debate sessions (HSPDP/CHSSA) are similar to the WSDC model. It is possible for students to get additional training for their own preferred format by attending another debate session. For example, HSPDP debaters will improve their skills for HSPDP tournaments by attending the WSDC session.



The summer program provides comprehensive debate training. Students participating in the high school sessions receive small group instruction and elective course instruction (4-1 student-faculty ratio) in public speaking, argumentation, refutation, dynamic format elements (Points of Information and/or heckling), debate and argument theory, and topic-based research and advanced applied strategy and tactics. In addition, students participate in debates critiqued by program/institute certified judges.

There is optional/elective time for student-directed learning, including elective courses and open forum sessions. Debaters have the opportunity to have their questions answered at the end of each day. They can also get a jump-start on the following day’s debate activities, have extended theory and practice discussions, learn about other debate format and methods. This happens in open forum sessions, the concluding instructional session of each day.

The Claremont Summer program offers much more than many other summer instructional sessions of 2 weeks or longer, including the following:

• 12 small group instructional sessions and 36 student-selected elective courses

• 12 full debates, critiqued by certified judges – debates include pre-announced motions and impromptu motions

• a US national championship tournament in the World Parliamentary Debate format

• experienced debaters will work on debate theory and advanced refutation in supplemental seminars led by John Meany

• 12 hours of open forum sessions – students have the opportunity to discuss and practice any element of debate and argumentation theory, as well as arrange for additional speech and debate practice

• faculty are available for ‘table discussion’ during meal times – students may request a lunch or dinner discussion group on debate practice, topic preparation, research, subject-field issues (e.g., discussion on economics or international relations), current events, and more…guest faculty and field experts are often included in table discussions.

dscn2904• support for student professional communication in open forum and ancillary sessions and materials on effective public extemporaneous speaking, roundtable discussion, and PowerPoint/Prezi presentation, including essay instruction from staff of Claremont McKenna College’s Center for Writing and Public Discourse

• meeting with college admissions staff for information on effectively navigating the college application process – the session includes but does not exclusively focus on admission to the Claremont Colleges or other highly selective liberal arts colleges; college admissions staff address selection and application to a broad range of colleges and universities, discuss the common application, and offer insight on academic and extracurricular evaluation, student essays, and developing strong teacher recommendations

• audition for 2017-18 International Public Debate Program programming

• flex time with more than 40 hours of available meal and recreational time to visit with established friends and make new ones…the summer debate program is intensive, challenging, and fun.

Pre-announced Topics for the 2017 International High School Debate Session

  • This House believes that democracies should not give foreign aid to authoritarian regimes.
  • This House would establish a United Nations standing army.
  • This House supports reparations for countries experiencing the environmental consequences of global climate change.