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Our topic for the fall 2016 season is:

Urbanization in China has done more good than harm.

When cities grow, it means that more land, more people, and more resources are part of cities. This is urbanization: the growth of cities and the flow of people and resources into cities.*

One common way of measuring this is the rural-urban population divide, which is the percentage of people living inside and outside of cities. According to the world bank, China remained mostly rural until 1977. From 1977, the share of China’s population living in cities grew consistently and quickly. Since 2011, more than half of all Chinese have lived in cities.

The effects of urbanization are complicated: urbanization touches almost every part of a person’s life. If…

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This article was written by our amazing intern Cindy Zhang, one of the best high school debaters in China soon to be studying at Georgetown University. 

Crossfire is one of the most confusing part of Public Forum Debate.

During crossfire, speakers from Team A–which gives the first speech–get to ask the first question. There are three crossfires in a debate: one between the first and the second speaker, second between the third and the fourth speaker and finally between all debaters. Different from other parts of Public Forum Debate, Crossfire has few rules, allowing debaters to question their opponents freely. Despite this freedom, there is a clear line between effective and ineffective crossfire.

let’s look at a few useless kinds…

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How to train your peers

This post was written by our excellent former intern Jianxiong Zhang, who having previously been one of our best high school debaters and coaching the younger students at his own school, spent a year working with us, and is now studying at Carleton College. Before he left us we asked him to write up some advice for other students hoping to help their peers learn and improve. 


You have done lots of Debates and…

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This is an issue that many debaters struggle with, especially when both sides are using research that seems to support their side but from different sources. For example with the Spring 2016 topic, that China should introduce a Carbon Tax,  a lot of debaters argued "Country X's carbon tax doesn't apply to this debate because it's not China and so it's not relevant!" This argument annoys me, and I think that in its most basic form, it isn’t valid. It's only valid when made in the presence of specific, detailed analysis.

There's an idea called the "principle of relevant difference" which is that you should only treat two things differently if there is an important difference between them. This is actually a…

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A carbon tax is a tax on activities that release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. There are many ways of making a carbon tax, mostly by putting taxes on coal, oil, and methane. But this topic is part of a larger global discussion and it deserves some context. But there’s a lot of work to be done before these promises are fulfilled. The Paris agreement is not a final victory for environmentalism, but the beginning of a struggle. Although the signing countries agree that action is needed, the Paris agreement has weaknesses.On December 12th 2015, representatives of 195 countries signed the Paris Agreement on climate change, promising to limit or reduce their contributions to global warming. The agreement was a big news item, and was very different from the previous deal signed 2009 in Copenhagen, where no important promises were made. Whereas Copenhagen was ridiculed, Paris is celebrated.
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Every year in late December/early January the World Universities Debating Championships (WUDC) takes place. Each year it has over 400 teams, and 1000+ total participants, making it one of the largest debating events in the world.  This  year it is being hosted by the 

It has increasingly become a spectator sport in recent years, with thousands of people tuning in online (and out-rounds broadcast on TV sometimes). Watching WUDC debates is a great way to improve your own debating, by seeing some of the best debaters in the world in action, and to cheer on your favourites. debating society of Greece in Thessaloniki. 

Livestreams of…

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Advice on attending a major international tournament

As the World University Debating Championships in Thessaloniki are approaching we thought it would be good to share some advice for attending large international tournaments. Even if you have attended lots of competitions in your home circuit these can be very different, due to the length, size and international aspects.
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We were incredibly happy to work with the amazing convening team from Asia Pacific University at this terrific event.

Teams from all over Asia competed for 6 gruelling rounds of World Schools format debating. On topics that ranged from: the situation in the South China Sea; Education policy; Animal sentience; LGBT rights; ASEAN membership; the TPPA; the role of religion in politics and even to the ethical implications of uploading our minds into computers.

The students dealt with all these topics intelligently and passionately, making some amazing arguments at all levels. The final debates which our Academic Director John Harper and International Outreach Coordinator Daryl Louis Isla had the privilege of judging were absolutely spectacular and would compare favourably with any university level debate. 

The quality of these young debaters gives us great hope for the future of debating in the region, and we look forward to seeing you all again at future…

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By Hannah Herman

1. Engagement Matters. Apathy is fatal, in more ways than one. It kills your mind, because you cease to think, question, and explore; it kills compromise, because you refuse to understand others, much less listen to them; it kills others and causes them to suffer, because you fail to act decisively on urgent issues. Debate has shown me how little engagement actually happens when it matters most—politics, social issues, economic policy—and it has both empowered and inspired me to constantly seek engagement.

2. There is a world outside of campus. Academics aren’t everything, and there exist billions of people outside of your school. Don’t waste four years living in a bubble. Meet people, talk to people, befriend people who are different than you. Ask insightful questions to people who aren’t professors. Know the world beyond your classroom windows. Campus is the place you live for four or six years; out there is where you will live until you…

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Crossfire in Public Forum Debate

Crossfire is one of the most interesting and difficult elements of Public Forum Debating. Crossfires happen after every two speeches and consist of speakers asking the other side questions and and answering questions from the other side.

Questions can be about anything related to the debate and can be asked in any order, the only rule is that the speaker who spoke first gets to ask the first question.

Uses of crossfire

Crossfire is different from other parts of the debate, like the constructive and rebuttal speeches, because the role that crossfire should play in your argument is not strictly defined. You have a huge amount of freedom in what you use crossfire for.

Clarification - You can use crossfire to get more details of an opponent's argument so that you can attack them more effectively. Such as asking what they meant by a certain point, what evidence they have…

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Fall 2016 Topic

"Urbanization in China has done more good than harm."

Research Packet

Sample case for the Pro side 

Sample case for the Con side 

Guide to Public Forum Debating

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The Association for Global Debate (AGD) is a team of passionate debaters, organizers, teachers, judges, and parents who support the growth of debating across different countries and regions. As a support network, AGD strives to connect high school debating events, leagues, and societies to resources and experts, both local and foreign. We provide free resources for tournament and debate team organizers who need academic, organizational, or financial assistance.