International – The Basics


This is the site for information on international high school debating with the International Public Debate Program (IPDP), the nation’s largest and most successful international secondary school debate program. Claremont’s IPDP/Team USA has organized international debating for a decade; students have attended competitions and educational exchanges in more than 15 countries. In just the past few years, students attended events in China, Mexico, Korea, New Zealand, Qatar, Turkey, Peru, Italy, Belgium, United Kingdom, Chile, Bermuda, Greece, Czech Republic, Netherlands, and South Africa.

The IPDP organizes, auditions, selects, and trains students for the international competitions in multiple debate formats. In addition, the IPDP hosts a US national championship for high school students in international debate formats. Planning is now underway for a half dozen spring and early summer competitions.

IPDP auditions are held on a rolling basis throughout the year. If you are interested in an audition for the program, please contact John Meany,


Auditions are conducted on the Claremont McKenna College campus during the summer international debate workshop for high school students. The 2018 workshop is scheduled in June 2018. Summer program information and applications will be available in December 2017 at Students may commute or live on campus in supervised dormitories as residential students. The summer workshop includes a full international-format debate tournament. There are multiple audition opportunities, as well as audition support during the summer workshop. For more information on the summer session, please review the materials at

There are, in addition, online auditions during the year. These are primarily conducted via Skype. Stage one of fall auditions are open – September 1-December 1. Spring auditions will open again on March 1.

The audition process includes (1) extemporaneous speaking on a pre-announced, research-based debate topic and (2) impromptu argumentation exercises. A student will receive a topic one week in advance of an audition; the student will research, organize, and compose an 8-minute extemporaneous (limited prep) speech to support the topic. The student will present the speech during the audition; notes may be used (dynamic public speaking is important – reading the full text of the speech is discouraged). During the audition, a student will be assigned several additional topics and a varied amount of preparation time to organize an argument for each topic (e.g., 5 minutes of preparation time for a 5 minute argument in support of a topic, 2 minutes of preparation time for a 3 minute argument opposing a topic). The topics will not be known in advance of the audition, although they will be drawn from school-related matter, current events, and enduring ethical controversies. No materials are permitted during the impromptu session (Internet access, debate briefs, published materials, etc. are not allowed). Auditions are conducted by an IPDP staff member with substantial international debate experience.

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