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High School Students to Gather in New York City Saturday to Debate Global Refugee Crisis

International Public Policy Forum

High School students from around the world will gather in New York City on Saturday, May 6, to debate one of the most contentious issues of our time – how countries should address the global refugee crisis.

Students from eight teams will compete for a $10,000 grand prize at the 16th Annual Brewer Foundation/New York University International Public Policy Forum (IPPF) Finals.

Founded in 2001, the IPPF is the only international competition that gives high school students the opportunity – for free – to engage in written and oral debates on issues of public policy.

The IPPF Finals take place on Saturday, May 6, at The Harold Pratt House in New York City, 58 E. 68th Street at Park Avenue in New York.

The “Elite 8” teams travel to New York from six U.S. states, China and Taiwan. The top teams emerged from a field of more than 200 teams representing schools in 23 countries.

“Some of the world’s best and brightest young debaters will take the stage on Saturday to compete in the IPPF Finals,” says William A. Brewer III, partner at Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors and founder of the IPPF. “These students have spent much of their school year researching, analyzing and debating one of the most significant and far-reaching public policy issues in history: the global refugee crisis.”

The 2016-17 IPPF topic is, “Resolved: The obligation to provide safe haven for refugees should outweigh a government's right to control its borders.”

The Quarterfinal debates will take place Saturday from 8:15 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., the Semifinal debates will be from 10:10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and the Final Debate will be from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. During the IPPF Awards Ceremony at 5:30 p.m., the 2016-17 IPPF World Champion will be named.

The final debate will be judged by a panel composed of Brewer, NYU Stern School of Business Professor Michael H. Posner, Woodward Academy Director of Debate Maggie Berthiaume, NYU Director of Debate Will Baker and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation Science Program Associate Irena Kotikova.

Posner will also deliver remarks at the awards ceremony. Posner previously served as Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor at the State Department. He is currently working to launch a center on business and human rights at NYU.

The 2016-17 competition began in October, as 218 teams submitted qualifying round essays on the topic. Judges selected the “Round of 64” teams, who then participated in a single-elimination, written debate contest ― volleying essays back and forth via e-mail. From October to March, the field was narrowed from 64 teams to 32, then 16, and finally to eight. On Saturday, the “Elite Eight” teams will supplement their written advocacy with oral argumentation.

The IPPF World Champion prize of $10,000 is split equally between the team and the school. The other advancing teams also receive awards: IPPF Runner-Up ($3,500), Final Four ($1,500), Elite Eight ($750), and Sweet 16 ($400). All advancing teams in the competition that qualify for the Top 32 and Round of 64 also receive individual IPPF medals.

The “Elite 8” teams:

Beijing ENREACH, Beijing, China

duPont Manual High School from Louisville, Kentucky

La Cañada High School from La Cañada, California

North Allegheny Senior High School from Wexford, Pennsylvania

Peak to Peak Charter School from Lafayette, Colorado

Taipei American School from Taipei, Taiwan

The Davidson Academy of Nevada, Reno, Nevada

Westfield Academy from West Hartford, Connecticut

About the IPPF and the Brewer Foundation:

The IPPF was founded in 2001 by the Brewer Foundation, and is now jointly administered with New York University. The program is available to all high schools around the world – public and private – for free. The IPPF is endorsed by leading forensic agencies, such as the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues, the International Debate Education Association, the Impact Coalition, Associated Leaders of Urban Debate Leagues, and the National Debate Coaches Association.

The Brewer Foundation is a private, non-profit organization funded by companies, individuals and the national litigation firm of Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors. With offices in New York and Dallas, the Foundation has achieved widespread recognition for its efforts to create, fund and manage a variety of educational outreach programs.

Visit the IPPF at,, or on Twitter at @IPPF1. The hashtag for the IPPF Finals will be #IPPFDebate.

For more information, contact Katherine Leal Unmuth, Brewer Foundation.

214-653-4832 /

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