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Join us virtually for the International Summer Debate Camp. During this camp, high school students will learn new debate skills and have opportunities to practice them with instruction and coaching from Cornell faculty and lecturers. The expert instruction will focus on both the World Schools Debate (WSD) format and techniques relevant to all debate formats.

Students will engage with other international participants through small breakout groups and prepare for the debates. At the end of the camp, students will participate in Cornell’s Debate Camp tournament.

Program Dates: July 31, 2021 (Saturday) - August 8, 2021 (Sunday)

International Debate Camp students receiving instruction during the 2017 camp

Program Format and Schedule

The camp welcomes students from around the world! With this, we recognize that students will be located in different time zones and desire to provide the best camp experience through daily opportunities for each student to participate in live, synchronous sessions. Each day, we will offer approximately 7 hours of live instruction for schedule flexibility. The camp also provides additional asynchronous learning experiences with instructional videos and homework assignments.

Features of the Virtual Camp

  • Instructional sessions with Cornell faculty and lecturers; recordings available after the sessions
  • Small cohort sessions for debate practice and coaching instruction
  • Debate opportunities against other cohorts during the end-of-camp tournament
  • Live lectures of coach instruction followed by help sessions for students to ask questions
  • Optional lectures, office hours, and games/recreational activities
  • Homework assignments with feedback to help the students advance their debate skills, including pre-work prior to the start of the camp

Typical Schedule* for Saturday through Wednesday

  • 8:00 - 9:30 am - Live Lecture
  • 9:30 - 10:30 am - Announcements & Review
  • 11:00 am - 12:00 pm - Office Hours (optional)
  • 6:00 - 7:00 pm - Office Hours (optional)
  • 8:00 - 9:30 pm - Debate Skills Lecture
  • 9:30 - 10:30 pm - Announcements & Review

Cohort Sessions (assigned based on student’s time zone):

  • Cohort A: - 12:00 - 2:30 pm
  • Cohort B - 11:00 pm - 1:30 am
  • Cohort C - 2:00 - 4:30 pm

* All times in Eastern Time

Debate Tournament: Thursday through Sunday

Worlds Schools Debate Format

World Schools Debate (WSD) is a 3-student vs. 3-student debate format that challenges students with both impromptu and prepared topics. This is the only event to have an international high school championship tournament each year – World Schools Debating Championships (WSDC). The National Speech & Debate Association officially added the World Schools format to their list of competitive events, and high schools throughout the country are adding WSD programs and tournaments. This format also prepares students to smoothly transition into the most widely practiced university debating formats – Worlds University Debate and Asian/Australian Parliamentary Debate. It is also quite easy to learn American and Canadian Parliamentary formats practiced throughout North America after becoming an expert in World Schools.

All-Format Relevance

Our diverse staff has past and ongoing experience coaching champion debaters in many formats of debate - Worlds Schools, British Parliamentary, Worlds University Debate, Policy, Public Forum, Lincoln Douglas, and even Speech events. Our camp is also unique because it gives students access to Cornell professor lectures on social issues, where the content of those lectures becomes the topic of student debates. This depth of coaching experience and academic knowledge is used to emphasize the big picture of what makes a good argument about timely topics, ensuring that such fundamentals carry over not only to any competitive format but also classroom and life applications.

Staff and Lecturers

  • Senior Lecturer, ILR School
  • Director, Speech & Debate Programs

Sam Nelson is the Director of Speech & Debate and ILR school senior lecturer at Cornell University.

  • Assistant Director, Speech and Debate Programs
  • Director, Policy Debate
  • Director, Cornell International Summer Debate Camp
Armands has coached nationally ranked college and high school debate teams for over a decade, and was himself a competitor throughout college and high school. 

  • Assistant Director, Speech & Debate Programs
  • Director, Speech

As a competitor on the most successful Speech Team in history at Bradley University.

  • Assistant Director, Speech & Debate Programs
  • Director, British Parliamentary (Worlds) Debate

Johanna Richter has been involved in competitive speech and debate for nearly a decade.

  • Associate Director, Cornell International Summer Debate Camp
Dr. Sandy Berkowitz is a Wold Schools and Public Forum debate coach at The Blake School in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Sandy is a coach of the USA Debate Team, working primarily with the Development Team.

  • Associate Director, Cornell International Summer Debate Camp
Shane is the Director of Debate at The Blake School in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA where he coaches public forum and worlds debate formats.  He also is one of the original head coaches of the NSDA USA development team.  Shane has coached almost every form of debate over forty years of his coaching career

The listed persons are core staff for the camp. More staff will be added as we get closer to the camp start date and as admission grows.

Apply and Enroll

When enrolling, please provide the student’s name and the parent/guardian’s email address.

Technical Requirements: This camp requires students to have access to their own computer and reliable internet. Please see technical requirements for more information.

Eligibility Requirements: Incoming 8th graders and high school students with English language proficiency.

Enrollment Deadline: Enrollments will be accepted on a rolling basis until the camp is full.

Program Cost*: $600 USD

Non-refundable Deposit: $150 USD (applied to the total cost of the camp)

* Full balance due 30 days from enrollment, and no later than June 29, 2021.

Scholarships: Cornell University is partnered with Svante Myrick (mayor of Ithaca, New York, USA, home of Cornell University) and Ithaca-area businesses to offer a limited amount of need-based scholarships for students to attend the camp. The scholarships are either full or half tuition scholarships. To qualify, please submit a brief letter to explaining your hardship/need-based circumstances by May 31, 2021.

If you are already enrolled for summer 2021 and need enrollment support, please contact

*** Enrollments for the summer 2021 camp are now closed. We look forward to the camp experience for current enrollees. We will plan to continue offering the camp in summer 2022 and we hope that you will consider joining us then.