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Debate challenges students to think critically and globally. They develop skills that benefit them personally – but also allow them to make a broader impact in the world.

Debate changed my life. I champion the activity, and the IPPF, to help see that it changes the lives of others.

William A. Brewer III

about the ippf

When the Brewer Foundation founded this competition in 2001, it was called the National Public Policy Forum (NPPF) and was open only to high schools in the United States. The first year, the contest received 25 entries.

A lot has changed in 20 years.

The NPPF went global and became the International Public Policy Forum, or IPPF, in 2009. Today, the contest annually involves hundreds of high school teams and thousands of student debaters from around the world. 

But to best understand our commitment to debate, we invite you to read the article below, written by the co-founder of the Brewer Foundation, William A. Brewer III. 

2006 NPPF Champions:

A. W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts, West Palm Beach, Florida

GIVING BACK THROUGH DEBATE

BY WILLIAM A. BREWER III
 

Debate changed my life.

Growing up in New York, I played every sport imaginable in high school. I was defined as an athlete attending school.

And then I discovered debate. My focus shifted. And I became a scholar who played sports.

The academic, analytical and oratorical skills I developed in debate eventually led to a career as a litigator. Debate helped me build the communication skills necessary to advocate for my clients.

I never forgot how debate changed the course of my life and led me to a career in the legal profession.

So in 2001, I founded the International Public Policy Forum (IPPF) competition for high school debaters. The competition is now supported by the Brewer Foundation and New York University.

I’m proud to share the story of this contest – and how it celebrates the academic achievement of thousands of students each year. 

The IPPF is the only high school debate competition that gives students from around the world the opportunity to engage in written and oral debates on issues of public policy.

These topics require a sharp intellect and the ability to delve deeply into timely issues of global importance. Past IPPF topics have touched upon issues relating to mass surveillance, nuclear weapons proliferation, climate change, and space exploration.

In past years, debate teams from around the United States have competed against teams from countries such as the Czech Republic and China. The contest welcomes debaters from all over the world to participate free of charge.

Teams enter qualifying essays, and judges select the top 64 teams that will advance into a single-elimination written debate tournament. In the written rounds, teams volley essays back and forth by email. Judges narrow the field from 64, to 32, and to 16. Finally, the “Elite 8” teams are selected to compete in oral debates at the IPPF Finals in New York City. 

I recently told a group of law school students that the tasks required to succeed in debate are remarkably similar to those required of associates working at a law firm. Students are asked to research a topic of critical importance. They must also be able to analyze, write and engage in oral advocacy.

Only the students that master all of those skills emerge as the best, much like an attorney researching and writing arguments in preparation for trial.

Debate challenges students to think critically and globally. They develop skills that benefit them personally – but also allow them to make a broader impact in the world.

Debate changed my life. I champion the activity, and the IPPF, to help see that it changes the lives of others.

2008 NPPF Champions:

Bellaire High School, Bellaire, Texas

2010 IPPF Champions:

Ministry of Education, Singapore

2013 IPPF Champions:

Shanley High School, Fargo, North Dakota

2018 IPPF Champions:

LEAF Academy, Bratislava, Slovakia

1717 MAIN STREET, STE. 5900

DALLAS, TEXAS 75201

ippf@brewerfoundation.com

Tel: 214-653-4026

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