Skip to main content
Cornell University mobile logo

Overview

Join us for an in-person camp on Cornell's Ithaca campus this summer! During this camp, high school students will learn new debate skills and have opportunities to practice them in intra-camp practice exercises as well as adjudicated tournament debates. Our instructors include Cornell faculty (including ivy league faculty as camp lecturers is a unique feature of this camp!), esteemed debate coaches from successful programs at both high school and college programs, and top college debaters.  Students will receive cutting-edge academic insights into contemporary political topics. Our instruction on debate techniques will utilize the World Schools Debate (WSD) format while also providing a broader slate of instruction that is relevant to all debate formats. At the end of the camp, students will participate in Cornell's Debate Camp Tournament using the WSD format.

Camp Dates: July 29, 2023 (Saturday) - August 6, 2023 (Sunday)

Please note that July 29 is an arrival date for residential campers, and August 6 is the departure date for residential campers. We will only begin our camp instruction and debates on July 30, and will conclude those activities on August 5. If you will attend the camp as a residential camper, you should plan to arrive on July 29 (not before), and you should plan to depart on August 6 (not after). If you will attend the camp as a commuter (local) camper, you should plan to attend July 30-August 5.

International Debate Camp students receiving instruction during the 2017 camp

Camp format and features

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. 

one student speaks at a podium while three students sit at laptops listening
Students in the final debate of our 2022 end-of-camp tournament

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.

Features of the Camp 

  • Full day sessions (9am to 5pm ET, July 30-Aug 5) that feature lectures, instruction, and student debates - all taking place on Cornell's central campus in Ithaca.
  • Topic lectures by Cornell faculty and lecturers
  • Debate lectures and instruction by top debate coaches 
  • Practice debates and further instruction in small cohort sessions
  • Additional opportunities for instruction via elective lectures and office hours with coaches
  • Tournament debates where campers can debate campers from other cohorts
  • End-of-camp banquet, where each student who enrolls in and completes the camp will receive an official Cornell certificate, including a Cornell University seal, that is dated and signed by Camp Director Armands Revelins and Speech and Debate Program Director Sam Nelson at the end of the camp. 
  • Residential campers will be housed on Cornell's Ithaca campus dorms, will eat meals at Cornell's dining halls (the same dorms and dining halls used by undergraduate students during an academic semester at Cornell), and participate in staff-led recreational activities on campus from dinner until bedtime.
  • Commuter campers will participate in the same 9am to 5pm activities as residential campers July 30-Aug 5, with lunch on each of those days and the end-of-camp banquet included. 

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. 

  • 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

  • Assistant Director, Worlds Debate (BP)

Ibe has substantial experience in debates, coaching and event management.

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

The total cost for the nine day long camp is $3,500, including lectures, student programming, practice debates, housing, and meals. To enroll, please use the button below to register and pay. We do offer a reduced commuter rate for local parents who would have their child come to the camp just for the daytime content and then go home each day. This option is open to local campers and costs $650.  Email the camp director if you want to learn more about this option.  There are a limited amount of need-based scholarships for those in the local area (Tompkins and contiguous counties); more information can be found on this form

Eligibility Requirements: Middle school students (at least 12 years old by the time when camp begins) and high school students with English language proficiency.

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

Please email Camp Director Armands Revelins (aor4@cornell.edu) with any questions or for further information. 

Register

students sit working on their laptops students gather in a sand volleyball court a large group of students stand outside