What makes the IPPF different from other high school speech and debate formats?
NO START UP COSTS: Whether you register and compete in the opening round or fly to New York for the Elite Eight round, there is no fee to participate. Your team could even win money! The Brewer Foundation believes in making this competition accessible to all students interested in testing their deliberative skills.
FLEXIBLE TEAM SIZE: While a team needs a minimum of three students, there is no maximum number. Teachers have used the IPPF topic essay as a part of their curriculum to engage their class or interest newcomers.
COMPETE AGAINST THE BEST: Essays are judged blind with no reference to school names. This provides any school a chance to challenge top public and private high schools worldwide on a level playing field.
COACH DESIGNED, COACH APPROVED: The IPPF Advisory Board includes active, successful coaches who face many of the same demands on their time that newcomers do. They review the topic, workload and expectations to ensure that the IPPF reflects the reality of today's high school teacher.
How do I register for the competition?
To register, a team representative should visit this page and complete the online form. Completing this form means the primary contact will be sent updates and announcements for the competition. These updates are not excessive and convey pertinent information to help teams compete. For example, an announcement of when the topic primer is available, topic related articles that may be of interest to students, submission reminders, etc
How much of a coach's time does the IPPF take up?
After registering, each team must submit a 2,800-word essay for the Qualifying Round. If your team qualifies, you are then placed in a "NCAA March Madness"-style bracket to compete against other teams by volleying essays back and forth via email.
Each round requires a team to submit a constructive essay (2,800 words) and a rebuttal essay (1,400-1,700 words). You can reuse prior portions of your team's writing, e.g., if your team wrote an affirmative Qualifying Round paper, then you can resubmit that as your affirmative constructive if you are affirmative in the next round.
Ultimately, the time investment is up to every coach based on the research skills of your debaters, size of your team, and expectations of your school. While the IPPF is an elite competition, program models extend from single, bi-weekly after school sessions to twice a week class periods. The program provides a number of supports to help teams format their essays, including a topic primer that serves as a great starting point for devising your strategy.
How hard is it to succeed in the IPPF?
The IPPF is proud to be an elite competition. About 1 in 4 teams advance past the qualifying round. We have new schools advance to elimination rounds each year, sometimes making it to the Elite Eight round, while other schools return to build on past successes.
If it's difficult to advance, why participate in the IPPF over other forensics activities?
SENSE OF ACHIEVEMENT: Anything that's worthwhile is not going to be easy to achieve. With a wide variety of supports, blind submissions that level the playing field, and a fabulous array of prizes, advancing to the Elite Eight leaves students, parents, principals, and especially coaches with a sense that they've reached a summit of competitive success.
LIMITED REQUIRED TRAVEL: Most forensics tournaments occur on the weekends creating conflcits with work or family obligations. The IPPF coordinates their competitions electronically, so 90% of teams can compete without travel and the teams that do need to travel (the Elite Eight) are only required to do so for one weekend.
GREAT PRIZES: Medals are given to teams that advance fo the Round of 64 and Round of 32. Teams that advance to the Sweet 16 round receive medals and $400 in prize money. The final eight teams are an all-expenses-paid trip to the IPPF Finals in New York City for three students and two coaches. In New York, the students have an opportunity to participate in oral debates before a panel of experts in debate, business, law and politics. The IPPF World Champion is awarded a $10,000 grand prize. For more information on prizes, click here.
I'm a new coach and just want a way to excite students about critical thinking and research. Is IPPF right for me?
It certainly can be. For many forensics activities, coaches need to learn about budgeting, terminology, travel schedules, judge coverage and so much more before they can even begin to compete. While IPPF is an elite competition, it has low entry barriers. If you know how to help your students construct a high-quality persuasive essay, you are ready to enter the IPPF. With a month between the registration and submission deadlines, your debaters can brainstorm, anticipate counter arguments and edit their work with less pressure than most other formats.
What types of training resources are available for coaches who are new to the IPPF?
In preparation for the qualifying round, the IPPF releases a topic primer. Additionally, this website includes sample essays from prior years and information regarding MLA formatting. For teams that advance to the IPPF Finals, videos are available of prior year debates. Additionally, the IPPF has a helpful staff, a strong alumni network, an advisory board that includes top coaches and a partnership with New York University -- all geared to assist coaches with any questions they may have.
I'm an experienced coach. When we participate in a new activity, I need to understand it fully and feel that my students are prepared. What are the key time management considerations?
First, see the writing requirements under the "How much of a coach's time..." question above.
In the Round of 64 through the Sweet 16, your students will be matched head-to-head against another school to exchange essays on a set time schedule. To review the schedule, click here.
A three judge panel blindly evaluates each set of essays, deciding which team will advance to the next round. Each team receives written feedback from their judges explaining their reason for decision, as well as additional helpful advice. These judges are often experienced debate coaches, teachers, lawyers, or college debate students, from around the world.
If you have additional questions, the IPPF staff can put you in contact with other coaches or members of our alumni group, who can answer specific inquiries.
I have students involved in other activities already. Which ones should I steer towards the IPPF?
Coaches have differing opinions about this question. The best suggestion is to start with students who are interested in the topic or the goals of the competition. Debaters with backgrounds in Lincoln Douglas, World Schools, Public Forum, British Parliamentary, and Policy have all been successful in the past, along with students who competed in Congress and Extemporaneous speaking.
My school is not in the U.S. Has an international school ever won the competition?
Not only have international teams won in the past, an international team has made it to the Elite Eight round in eight of the past ten years. Past international top finishers include the 2010 Champion, the Ministry of Education from Singapore; the 2012 Champion, Team Czech Republic; the 2017 Runner-Up, Beijing ENREACH of China; the 2018 Champion, LEAF Academy of Slovakia; and the 2021 Champion, Slovak National Team of Slovakia.
Since our country is small, we created a national team to compete in the Worlds School Debate Championship. Can we use the same process to form an IPPF team?
The IPPF prefers that individual schools compete whenever possible. However, we understand that this may not be possible for an international school with either a limited program or no program at all. If you would like to participate with a team of students from different schools, please reach out to us. The IPPF will consider your case individually. Please contact IPPF Executive Director Andrea Sadberry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What led you to the International Public Policy Forum? Did the principal casually drop a flier in your mailbox? Did one of your students come back from a PF tournament excited about a new opportunity? Or were you looking for a new way to engage students?
Whatever circumstances brought you to the IPPF, you’ve found a program that provides a unique addition to an existing forensics team or a