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 competition between the “Top 64” finalists, 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.


This year, the topic our students are writing about is “Resolved: The obligation to provide safe haven for refugees should outweigh a government’s right to control its borders.”


Our students enjoy being able to debate about topics that has a wide impact on the world. They love being able to present their ideas, while backing up their argument, and some even challenge themselves by choosing to support a topic where their personal views conflict.