Why Debate?

"Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress." - Mahatma Ghandi

The process of debate offers profound and lasting benefits for individuals, for societies and for the global community as a whole.

What can debate teach me?

Debate teaches skills that serve individuals well in school, in the workplace, in political life and in fulfilling their responsibilities as citizens of democratic societies: critical thinking, effective communication, independent research and teamwork.

When you’ve learned how to debate you are better able to critically examine the pronouncements of your political representatives and to make informed judgments about crucial issues.

Debate and Society – bridging the culture gap

The individual skills learned through debate have a broader impact on society as well. Debate can help fledgling democracies heal from the wounds inflicted by oppressive dictatorships and ethnic violence by providing a forum where these volatile issues can be openly discussed.

Newly enfranchised citizens engaged in such debates learn first-hand how democracy works. Additionally, because it teaches the principles of tolerance, nonviolence and respect for different points of view, debate can close the gap between minority and majority cultures, and other groups divided by long-standing animosities

Debate and the World – breaking down barriers

Debates are a way of fostering international understanding, cooperation and the free and lively exchange of ideas. When we bring students together from around the world and from vastly different backgrounds, our debate events offer much more than a mere contest of formal argumentation.

By their very nature, IDEA debates break down national, economic, cultural and ethnic boundaries, showing that opposing views can be explored in a way that connects rather than divides people. As a process, debate both embodies and encourages peaceful discussion rather than aggressive confrontation, and offers the world a tool that is timely and necessary.