Founded in 2001 by the law firm of Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors, the International Public Policy Forum (IPPF) is the only contest that gives high school students around the globe the opportunity to engage in written and oral debates on issues of public policy. Now jointly administered by the Brewer Foundation and New York University, this program is available to all public and private high schools for free.
The competition begins in October, as each school submits a qualifying round essay on the IPPF topic. The essay should be no more than 2,800 words, either affirming or negating the topic resolution. The IPPF Essay Review Committee evaluates each essay, and the top 64 teams earn cash awards and 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 were 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. During the finals, teams supplement their written advocacy with oral argumentation. Judges for the oral rounds have included NYU President John Sexton, Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors Partner William A. Brewer III, Ret. General Wesley Clark, National Forensic League Executive Director Scott Wunn, and New York City Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson.
Ultimately, the IPPF Champion wins a $10,000 grand prize and the Brewer Cup!