The Value of Debate
We passionately advocate for spreading debate across the world because we believe that debate is an extraordinary activity that promotes international exchange, tolerance, self-expression, innovation, critical thinking, sportsmanship, and academic excellence. These abstract ideas translate into real results for students who participate in debate: higher graduation rates, improved test scores, added confidence, and higher university admission rates.
Debating and the Global Citizen Student
University Recognition and Admissions
Debating enhances university admissions competitiveness as a premier extracurricular activity. Unlike others, debating ability is indicative of skills needed to thrive in a college environment. Top universities admit debaters from high schools all over the world at least 30% more often than their peers.
The research load in content preparation for debating tournaments is comparable to any major academic requirement like theses and research papers. Participating in debating tournaments often allow for frequent correspondence and interaction with academicians from all over the world on a one-on-one basis as opposed to conferences without the same relationship building.
Creativity and Independence
The different academic offerings in the current school system present many limitations. Textbook-focused academic competitions often prevent for the development of creative thinking and critical thought. Public speaking exercises and essay writing contests often do not challenge a student's spontaneity and individuality. Further, many interest-based activities in drama and the arts do not fit with the inclinations of the 21st century global citizen.
Debating offers all of these and more. With its involvement in taking stances and arguing for sides, it challenges students to think about perspectives they may not usually encounter. Through its real time element of rebuttal and clash, it forces students to think on their feet. The ability to think outside-the-box has been a difficult skill to teach, but debate has it inherently. Finally, many activities in school are dated and rooted in the past, an effect of academic tradition. Because motions commonly follow the rapid changes in modern politics and economics, debaters are often the most informed of their peers -- grounded in the realities that people of different countries and circumstances face every day.
Networking and Friendships
Since debating immerses participants in an internationally competitive environment, the activity presents an opportunity to build lifelong friendships with people from far beyond one’s home country. Ultimately, debating tournaments create communities of educators, competitors, and friends which serve as bases of commonality and partnership that extend far beyond one’s school days into university and even the professional world.
There are debating tournaments every weekend all over the world. Participants have a wide array of competitions of various difficulty levels and school locations to choose from. Besides the annual AGD Institute and Tournament in Beijing, the association holds national competitions in major capital cities including Tokyo, Seoul, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Jakarta, Taipei, and more.
Building Tolerance and Civil Discussion
Confrontation and civil engagement are necessary in societies in the interest of nation building and for future leaders, the honing of statesmanship. However, this task has grown difficult. This is primarily because many countries and societies have considered reformist thought as antagonistic and violent. Changemaking does not need to take the space of radicalism, and debating allows for this middle ground.
Through open discourse building and peaceful discussion, debate allows leaders to ask hard questions through a platform that acknowledges multiple sides of a conflict. AGD remains committed to empowering debaters to take up positions of leadership in societies around the world with an openness to different ideas and a love for critical thought.