The Public Debate Program (PDP) is a national and international educational outreach initiative established by the Claremont Colleges Debate Union, centered at Claremont McKenna College, Claremont, California. John Meany, Director of Forensics at Claremont McKenna, administers the PDP and other outreach programs. He created the Public Debate Program, which includes the High School Public Debate Program (HSPDP)Middle School Public Debate Program (MSPDP), Youth Public Debate Program (YPDP – dedicated program for 5th-6th grade students), International Public Debate Program (IPDP – international secondary school debating for US students).

The PDP operates throughout the US and in 29 countries. Students participate in HSPDP, MSPDP, and YPDP school-based debate leagues. Individual accredited schools register for and participate in HSPDP, MSPDP, and YPDP programs (afterschool enrichment centers and test taking centers, external and private debate clubs, hybrid teams consisting of members from more than a single school, etc. are not PDP eligible).Teachers use PDP public speaking, argumentation, research, and refutation educational materials to integrate oral and written communication skills throughout the curriculum. The PDP works with major non-profit educational organizations to offer debate training and class and contest opportunities to hundreds of thousands of teachers and students each year. Individual USA high school students audition for placement in the IPDP – they debate in multiple international debate formats, attend international tournaments including the Pan American, Eurasian, China National, and European championships, and participate in international debate exchanges.

The PDP sponsors multiple national and international debate championships each year. The PDP was the host of the 2010 and 2015 Pan American Debating Championships, the premiere international high school debate competition for debate delegations from countries throughout the Americas. The PDP will host HSPDP and International Formats championships at The Claremont Colleges in February/April 2017. For the latter, from February 24-26, the IPDP will sponsor the 2017 US High School International-format Debate Championship; the tournament features debating in the World Schools Debating Championship (WSDC) and World Parliamentary Debate (WPD) formats. In April 2017, the MSPDP will hold its US National Debate Championship. The MSPDP championship is the largest qualifying national debate tournament in the world; teams throughout the country participate in qualifying events to fill the 425 spaces at the national championship (more than 1200 debaters).

In addition to debate outreach, the Debate Union sponsors leadership and professional communication programming for secondary school students. These include the First Reporters! project (FRP), Healthy Eating Initiative (HEI), and Leadership Program for Student Clubs/Organizations (LSCO). Leadership and professional communication programming, including event, essay, and presentation competitions, begins in November 2016.

The Debate Union is sponsoring the Conference on Electoral Reform, an academic event for high school students. The conference will be held Friday-Sunday, March 3-5, 2017. In October 2016, high school and college students will be invited to enter competitive paper submissions to participate in the conference. College students will serve as conference panel moderators and respondents for the high school division of the conference. High school students will have the opportunity to present position papers, participate in panel discussions and multimedia presentations, engage outstanding students at receptions and conference banquet. The  conference will feature 3 keynote speeches from field and education experts.

The Debate Union organizes summer residential and commuting debate and/or leadership institutes and workshops for hundreds of high school and middle school students. Six programs are available in Summer 2017 – 3 middle school debate sessions (MSPDP), a high school debate session (HSPDP and CHSSA parliamentary debate formats), an international high school debate session and IPDP audition (WSDC and additional international formats), and a leadership/professional communication session. For comprehensive information and 2017 applications and welcome documents, please visit claremontsummer.org after November 1, 2016.


To learn more about the PDP and leadership/professional communication programs, please contact John Meany, john.meany@cmc.edu or Lauren Phillips, administrative assistant for the Debate Union and operations director for Claremont Summer, lauren.phillips@cmc.edu.

John Meany
Director of Forensics
Claremont Colleges Debate Union

Director, Public Debate Program & Claremont Summer
Claremont McKenna College
500 East Ninth Street
Claremont, CA 91711-6400


2 replies

  1. Hello .

    I was wondering if there is any spanish version of the teacher’s support documents.

    Many thanks

    Vicente Fajardo


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