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.
Our plan is to provide in-person instruction on Ithaca's campus, which includes housing on Ithaca's Cornell campus. In case COVID-related developments necessitate a shift to online instruction, we will promptly let registered students and their parents know of this change and will offer for you to attend the camp as a virtual camp on the same dates, with a reduced rate. If the online version is not preferred at all, you can drop your enrollment with no penalty. Our staff is experienced with either method of instruction! The in-person camp has existed for years prior to 2020, and our staff ran a successful online camp that included students from 14 different countries in summer 2021!
Program Dates: July 30, 2022 (Saturday) - August 7, 2022 (Sunday)
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.
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 that stay constant for either an in-person or a virtual version of the camp
- Instructional sessions with Cornell faculty and lecturers
- 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
- 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.
Features of the camp that would be unique to an in-person version
- The overall schedule would follow a 9am-5pm ET format for all lectures and practices
- The tournament at the end of the camp will similarly follow a morning-afternoon schedule for all
- Students will access all camp content and interact with each other by meeting at a series of classroom spaces on Cornell's Ithaca campus.
- Students will be housed on Cornell's Ithaca campus dorms and will eat meals at Cornell's dining halls (the same dorms and dining halls used by undergraduate students during an academic semester at Cornell)
Features of the camp that would be unique to a virtual version
- The overall schedule has core elements that are live from 8-10:30 am ET and 8-10:30 pm ET for all, then cohort groups and additional elective lectures staggered throughout the day in order to be optimal for various time zones (at least 7 hours of synchronous content/day)
- The tournament at the end of the camp will have rounds paired according to mutually-optimal time zones
- Students will access all camp content via a centralized Canvas webpage, with zoom links for all sessions and with a higher amount of asynchronous teaching materials included (supplemental lecture videos, guides, etc)
- Students log in from their home computers at various geographic locations, your mealtimes are with your family.
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
- 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
- Associate Director, Cornell International Summer Debate Camp
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. 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.
We anticipate a fully in-person camp, but are prepared to shift to a virtual model based on public health recommendations. If COVID necessitates canceling the in-person camp, families will be refunded in full. Families will then be offered the opportunity to re-enroll in the online camp if they choose.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions or for further information.