• Andrea Sadberry, IPPF Executive Director

Announcing the 2020-21 IPPF Topic

This year, we asked our coaches, students and supporters to cast a ballot and help us determine the next IPPF topic. The votes have now been tallied, and we are pleased to announce the 2020-21 topic!


RESOLVED: The benefits of artificial intelligence outweigh the harms.


The competition begins in October, as teams submit their 2,800-word qualifying round essays either affirming or negating the topic. Judges evaluate each essay, and the top 64 teams advance into a single-elimination, written debate competition.


In the top 64 round, schools volley papers back and forth via e-mail. Judges review the essays in the order they are presented (affirmative constructive, negative constructive, affirmative rebuttal, negative rebuttal) and select the advancing teams. The process begins anew as the "Top 32" teams compete for their chance to advance to the "Sweet 16" round.


In March, the "Elite 8" teams are announced. These teams win all-expenses-paid trips to New York City to compete during IPPF Finals Weekend, which begins April 30, 2021.


During the finals, teams supplement their written advocacy with oral argumentation. Judges for the oral rounds have included NYU President Emeritus John Sexton, Council on Foreign Relations President Richard N. Haass, Ret. General Wesley Clark, National Speech and Debate Association Executive Director Scott Wunn, and NASA Astronaut Mike Massimino. (Note: Nothing is more important to us than the safety and well-being of our IPPF competitors. Should we be unable to host the event in New York due to COVID-19, we will host an online IPPF Finals the same weekend, with a judging panel that will include NYU President Emeritus John Sexton and Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors Partner William A. Brewer III.)




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