2019 Conference

University of Miami

Miami, Florida

Friday-Saturday, July 12-13, 2019

All conference sessions will be held at the Confidante Miami Beach
Click here to book your hotel room

Conference Agenda

Friday 1:00-5:00
Opening Statement
David L Steinberg
Director of Debate
University of Miami 
NATO v. Snapchat: Reflections & Lessons
Emilie Cleret
Director, English Language Department
Ecole de Guerre 

In November 2018 Ecole de Guerre hosted NATO v. Snapchat: Will Generation Z Fight Our Wars? Organized in collaboration with the Royal United Service Institute (RUSI) the conference was the first global event in a series celebrating the 70th anniversary of NATO, brought together high level speakers from various public and private sectors, and concluded with responses and reflections by members of both the Ecole de Guerre and George Washington University debating societies. During NATO v. Snapchat: Reflections & Lessons Ms. Emilie Cleret will share her experience mobilizing the Ecole de Guerre debating society to support a academic conference dedicated to student-centered dialogue, debate and deliberation.

Lessons from Curaçao: Community Building Through Debate Trainings 

Prof. Kenneth A. Newby, Esq.

Director of Forensics

Morehouse College 

Debate trainings and workshops are typically targeted to university and high school students seeking to improve their debating skills for academic competition.  By contrast, Newby  was invited to lead and create more broad based debate workshops that might appeal not only to students but to faculty, administrators, the community at large, and politicians as a means to establishing and improving their debating skills.  A special session was created during the workshops for public servants including numerous members of the Curaçao Parliament who sought to improve their debating skills when discussing matters of public policy.  The sessions also included an evening panel discussion on the topic of debate as a tool for development and its added value for individuals and our society.  Newby participated in this discussion along with the President of the University of Curaçao, the head of the Debate Education Foundation Curaçao, and the founder of the Debate Institute in the Netherlands who also helped design the workshops.  Newby will discuss lessons he learned from leading these unique debate workshops and how debate trainings might be used both as community building tools and ways for improving public policy in the real world through improved critical thinking.

How to Win Friends & Influence People 
Ed Lee
Director of Debate
Emory University 
David L Steinberg
Director of Debate
University of Miami

Academic research and individual testimonies validate the immense impact and benefits of university debate education, debate holds a time honored place in democratic political culture, and U.S. universities have a tradition of supporting university debate education that stretches back decades.  Despite this strong foundation, however, debate educators face ongoing struggles to establish and defend debate education programs as important if not essential elements of the university ecosystem. Lee and Steinberg will discuss the challenges debate education faces in the academy and share ideas and solicit thoughts on how the CDC might contribute towards supporting the debate education profession, raising the profile of university debate education in general, and promoting civic debate education in particular.

 Are Friends Electric?
Christopher Skiles & Dr. John Patrick
Director & Assistant Director of Forensics
California Polytechnic State University

New information technologies hold the potential to revolutionize debate education by reducing costs and breaking down barriers between university students located around the world. Skiles and Patrick will discuss recent developments and challenges and propose opportunities for integrating online debate education into civic debate events.

Debate Cívico en Las Américas: Actualizaciones y Oportunidades

Randall Martinez

Director of Debate

ChristopherColumbus High School

Martinez will present a brief survey of existing Spanish language debate opportunities in the United States, comment on the state and organization of university debate throughout the Americas, and suggest opportunities for promoting Spanish language civic debate in the United States and civic debate education in Latin and South America.

Saturday Morning 10:00-1:00 

Roundtable on 2018-19 Civic Debate Conference events
 Review 2018 Draft Best Practices for Developing Civic Debate Programming
 Group Work on 2019 Draft Best Practices for Organizing Civic Debate Societies & Participation 

Saturday Afternoon 2:00-5:00

2019-20 Civic Debate Schedule Planning Session & Program Development

Attending Schools

Adelphi University

California Polytechnic State University

Ecole de Guerre

Emory University

Florida State University

Loyola Marymount University

Morehouse College

Miami University

Northwest University

Pepperdine University

The George Washington University

University of Rhode Island

Vanderbilt University

Remote Participants

Cape Cod Community College

2018 Conference

University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA

Thursday, May 17, 10:00 AM

Kiran Dhillon
Director of Debate
University of Southern California
Starting from Scratch: Preflecting & Directing
Steve Llano
Associate Professor of Rhetoric
St John's University

"If you want to bake an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe."

This past year Dr. Llano was one of several directors of debate invited to participate in a round table consultation with communications faculty drawn from outside of debate to discuss best practices for conceptualizing and developing new debate programs. Dr. Llano will open this year’s conference with reflections on the round table and suggest core pedagogical questions with which directors of debate ought grapple.  

Debate as Civic Assembly
Cate Morrison
Director of Debate
University of Rhode Island

Bruno Latour describes the terrain of public life as filled with people and things assembled around matters of concern. “We don’t assemble because we agree, look alike, feel good, are socially compatible or wish to fuse together, but because we are brought by divisive matters of concern into some neutral, isolated place in order to come to some sort of provisional makeshift (dis)agreement.” 

Dr. Morrison theorizes the potential of civic debate to define new terrains for civic assembly; i.e., as a dynamic and intentional practice of assembling audiences around matters of concern to promote both public service and educational missions.  She urges a broad approach to civic debate topics, to think about matters for debate rooted not simply in policy proposals, but in things: in paving stones or ocean currents or extraterrestrial microbes.

Building the Ecole de Guerre Debating Society
Emilie Cleret
Head of English Language Department
Ecole de Guerre

Five years ago Emilie Cleret organized the Ecole de Guerre Debating Society to support elite French military officers in effectively communicating and advocating in English in professional military environments such as NATO and international peacekeeping forces. Ms. Cleret will share her experiences entering the world of intercollegiate debate and developing a new debate program focused on adult-learners who demand both practicality and relevancy-oriented instruction. She will be joined by Paul Lemaire, a major in the French Army, French Foreign Legion, who will discuss his experiences as a member of the society over the last year.

Report on the 2017 Social Justice Debates
Ken Newby
Director of Debate
Morehouse College

In its second year, the Social Justice Debates series (initiated as the Derrick Bell Debates in 2016) has demonstrated exciting potential as a platform for engagement and student education on social justice topics. Culminating in open and HBCU championships at Morehouse College in November 2017, the Social Justice Debates were the second largest civic debate series in the country last year, engaging over two dozensocial justice scholars, practitioners, and activists as judges on transformative justice topics. Morehouse Director of Debate Ken Newby will talk about his work on the series, including his bringing together the 2017 Social Justice Debates and the National Association of African American Honors Programs Conference, as a model for future civic debate development.

Report on 2017-18 Civic Debate programs

Reports from attending schools on civic debate programs organized during the 2017-18 academic year.

Report on 2017 Conference
Paul S. Hayes
Director of Debate
The George Washington University

Report on the 2017 Conference including review of 2017 draft best practices and items submitted for consideration for 2018 best practices discussion. 

Civic Debate Best Practices Discussion
Community dialogue on improving best practices for civic debate education.
Conclude by 5:00


Friday, May 18, 10:00 AM

Discussion on Conference Publication, Engagement

Community discussion on enabling and promoting civic debate education. 

Proposals & Scheduling for 2018-19 

Community dialogue on 2018-19 programming including tentative scheduling discussions. 

Conclude by 1:30

2017 Conference

St John's University

New York City, NYC

2016 Conference

The George Washington University

Washington DC