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Global Debate


The NYU Presidential Global Debate Program engages the GNU in a wide-ranging conversation on current issues. The university-wide, co-curricular competition invites undergraduate students to participate in two-on-two debates judged by NYU faculty, alumni staff and topic area experts. NYU students from Accra to Shanghai debate the same topic using video as well as in-person competition.  When envisioning the Global Debate program, NYU President Emeritus John Sexton — a champion debater and debate coach — said, "The key idea of NYU as a global network university is that our students and faculty, regardless of location, are part of one university. While many of our pursuits, both scholarly and extracurricular, will be particular to one campus, as NYU continues to evolve as a global network university, many others, like debate, will take place across the network to test ideas and strengthen connections”.  
A new resolution is announced during the fall semester annually focused on a different controversy.   The top domestic and international entrants advance to elimination rounds at the end of the Spring Semester and compete for a share of thousands of dollars in awards and prizes.  
At the Global Debates, we are committed to making our program accessible to any student regardless of prior debate experience, topic knowledge, or access to resources.  Registered participants have access to extensive training resources, research starter kits, and consultations with experts in group settings or one-on-one. 

The Global Debates are a program of the Global Debate Fund.   The Global Debate Fund supports domestic and international programs and partnerships that enhance critical thinking, research and speaking abilities of NYU students and their surrounding communities.  Current Fund initiatives include:

  • Presidential Global Debate Program
  • International Public Policy Forum
  • Cross Examination Debate Association [CEDA] Policy Debate Team
  • Debate Pedagogy/Techniques For the Classroom
  • Portal Campus Debate Program Integration Initiative


 Resolved: Voting for national leaders should be compulsory in democracies for citizens over the age of 18 

Session on Submission Tips           8:15pm Wed, March 22nd (GCASL 275)

Topic Overview/Partner Match    1:00pm Sun March 26th (Tisch Hall, LC)

Q & A/Rules/Strategy                  7:00pm TBD- Week of March 26th (Zoom)

Video Submission Deadline          5:00pm March 31st, 2023

Meetings with Individual Pairs     1 Hour sessions by appointment

Elim Rounds                                      1pm April 22nd & 23rd  


Meetings with individual pairs - By appt.

Advance registration is required for both to receive the Zoom link. Registrants should email

2023 Global Debate Calendar

January 20th 12pm ET.          Registration for the Global Debates opens on

March 2nd  11pm ET               International Prelim Submissions are due on

March 19th 10am ET.              Domestic Prelims Begin

April 21-23                              Global Debate Championships 

2021-22 Topic Primer

More than 3 billion people live in poverty. In the time it took you to read this definition, twenty six of them just died. Eight died of lower respiratory infections. Six died of starvation. Five died of water borne disease. Four died of HIV/AIDS. Two died of malaria. One died in childbirth.   The World Health Organization defines poverty as when individual or household income is below what is needed for sustenance.

The latest research suggests that the effects of the current crisis will almost certainly be felt in most countries through 2030. Under these conditions, the goal of bringing the global absolute poverty rate to less than 3 percent by 2030, which was already at risk before the crisis, is now beyond reach without swift, significant, and substantial policy action. The question remains where should poverty alleviation fall in the priorities of governments given all the challenges of today. 

Therefore, the 2022 Global Debate resolution presupposes a conversation focused on values, policies and priorities related to poverty alleviation in the context of other global priorities.   Poverty alleviation requires governments to identify and reach out to people to help them out of poverty through sustainable measures.

There are several poverty targeting methods through which communities are identified and tracked.  One common method of poverty targeting is 'means testing' that uses a certain income or expenditure threshold for an individual or a household to be considered as poor and eligible for support.

Extreme Poverty
Extreme Poverty is defined by the United Nations as "a condition characterized by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information. It depends not only on income but also on access to services." For most, this forms a cycle of poverty that, without any outside intervention, they’re unlikely to break. They may have inherited this cycle from their parents and are also likely to pass it on to their own children.

In 2020, just over 588 million people were living in extreme poverty, meaning that approximately 7.7% of the global population lives below the international poverty line of $1.90 per day.  Global extreme poverty rose in 2020 for the first time in over 20 years as the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic compounded the forces of conflict and climate change, which were already slowing poverty reduction progress. About 100 million additional people are living in poverty as a result of the pandemic.  New research estimates that climate change will drive 68 million to 132 million into poverty by 2030. Climate change is a particularly acute threat for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia — the regions where most of the global poor are concentrated. 

What does this mean for ending poverty? The obstacles that keep a community in Lebanon in extreme poverty may be totally different than those keeping a community in Malawi in extreme poverty.

Therefore, a discussion of how we might alleviate poverty must begin with the four types of poverty and the two factors that fuel it.  The four types are occasionally poor, cyclically poor, usually poor, and the always poor.  The two key factors are marginalization and risk.

Alleviating extreme poverty is the first of the world’s Sustainable Development Goals. The "new poor" are:  

  • More urban
  • More engaged in informal services and manufacturing and less in agriculture.
  • Live in congested urban settings and work in the sectors most affected by lockdowns and mobility restrictions.

This is a shift from 2018, four out of five people below the international poverty line lived in rural areas but other demographics are still present.

  • Half of the poor are children. Women represent a majority of the poor in most regions and among some age groups. About 70 percent of the global poor aged 15 and older have no schooling or only some basic education.
  • More than 40 percent of the global poor live in economies affected by fragility, conflict and violence, and that number is expected to rise to 67% in the next decade. 

Government strategies vary widely.  Some are direct economic interventions while others address underlying causes.   Notable interventions tried with differing results include: welfare, development aid, capitalization, Economic Liberalization, Sustainable Development Goals, Millennial Development Goals, infrastructure, tech, debt relief, microloans, gender equity, economic/political participation. racial equity, and climate change interventions.

A successful debate round will engage questions such as:
Do governments need to have the primary role or a lesser one or stay out of the mix altogether?
What groups or individuals have the greatest likelihood of successful interventions in the future?
Where have successes occurred in the past?
What are the ethical implications for prioritizing poverty alleviation – good or bad?
How does poverty tie to the values and choices nation-states have made economically and politically?  

The resolution is: Resolved governments should have the primary role in poverty alleviation
Registration will determine the number of teams clearing. We will need representation from at least THREE NYU campuses to hold this year’s competition.   

If there are 25 teams registered from 3 or more campuses, 16 teams will advance to elims. 
If 14-24 teams register from 3 campuses, 8 teams will advance. 
if 11 teams or less register, 4 teams will advance. 
Register to compete or judge on this page using the forms on the left panel. 

SPECIAL BONUS for entrants outside of NYC: The first pair to register as a team from every NYU campus including DC and LA other than NYC receives AN AUTOMATIC QUALIFICATION to the elims. They will also be able to raise their seeding through the prelim competitions. 

GOVERNMENTS: a small group of persons holding simultaneously the principal executive offices of a nation and being responsible for the direction and supervision of political affairs; Merriam Webster
SHOULD: v. aux. Used to express obligation or duty; past tense of shall,  American Heritage® Dictionary 96  
PRIMARY: Of first rank, important, value; Random House, Merriam-Webster 
ROLE:  a function or part performed especially in a particular operation or process; Merriam Webster 
POVERTY ALLEVIATION: Wikipedia - Poverty reduction, poverty relief, or poverty alleviation, is a set of measures, both economic and humanitarian, that are intended to permanently lift people out of poverty.

Measures that raise, or are intended to raise, ways of enabling the poor to create wealth for themselves as a conduit of ending poverty forever. Poverty alleviation also involves improving the living conditions of people who are already poor. Aid, particularly in the medical and scientific areas, is essential in providing better lives, such as the Green Revolution and the eradication of smallpox.[12][13] Problems with today's development aid include the high proportion of tied aid, which mandates receiving nations to buy products, often more expensive, originating only from donor countries.[14] Nevertheless, some believe (Peter Singer in his book The Life You Can Save) that small changes in the ways people in affluent nations live their lives could solve world poverty.
Definition 1 - Poverty alleviation aims to improve the quality of life for those people currently living in poverty. Another term that is often used is poverty reduction. These are all measures put in place to reduce the rate of poverty in the rural areas of the North West Region of Cameroon. These are some of the many inventions that are improving conditions for living in the rural areas of the region.

Definition 2 - Poverty alleviation is any process that reduces income fluctuation between poor and non-poor scenarios (Adongo and Deen-Swarray, 2006 AU121: The in-text citation "Adongo and Deen-Swarray, 2006" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation.). This is different from poverty reduction, which aims to permanently move an individual or household from a poor to a non-poor scenario.

1. Bruckner, B., Hubacek, K., Shan, Y. et al. Impacts of poverty alleviation on national and global carbon emissions. Nat Sustain (2022).
2. Caruso Bloeck, M., Galiani, S. & Weinschelbaum, F. Poverty alleviation strategies under informality: evidence for Latin America. Latin American Economic Review 28, 14 (2019).
3. Chudasama Harpalsinh Singh Pramod K Evaluating Poverty Reduction Strategies  January 13, 2020
4. Emmanuel, Kate Feldman, Derrick Language Matters: Words to Avoid When Talking About Poverty in America
5. Pathak Arohi; Ross Kyle  The Top 12 Solutions To Cut Poverty in the United States Jun 30 2021

1. China's Poverty Alleviation Miracle By CPC Leadership Group of the National Administration for Rural Revitalization Source: English Edition of Qiushi Journal Updated: 2021-04-30
2. Poverty Alleviation: China's Experience and Contribution The State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China  April 2021
3. FINCA  Microfinance and Financial Inclusion
4. UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs
5. UNESCO - UNESCO Culture & Poverty Alleviation 2017
6. World Bank  Understanding Poverty  -
7. IMF Support for Low Income Countries -
8.Uganda Poverty Eradication Plan -

ATD 4th world Movement -
2. Neema Project -
3. Organization for Poverty Alleviation and Development
4. Partners in Action  Poverty Lab -
5. Partners for Justice -
6. Poverty Alleviation Coalition -

Colleen Shaddox and Joanne Goldblum  Broke in America: Seeing, Understanding, and Ending US Poverty
ESPA  - Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation: Trade-offs and Governance




What is the 2023 Global Debate topic? 

Resolved: Voting for national leaders should be compulsory in democracies for citizens over the age of 18 


How do we enter? 

Each partner should go to the Stern global debate page to register. You'll receive a confirmation notice.   


How will competitions be conducted? 

ALL preliminary entries both domestic and international will be video submissions this year.   The videos will be assessed by a panel of NYU faculty, staff, and alumni.  Your 4 minute video submission must be received by 5pm on March 31st to guarantee inclusion for review.  Elim rounds will take place on April 22nd & 23rd.    


Who can compete? Do you need to be on one of NYU’s existing debate teams?

 The Presidential Global Debate competition is open to all NYU undergraduates and not simply debate team members.

Can I partner with any NYU student in the world?

 Students on the Washington Square or Tandon campuses will be expected to partner with ONLY other students from those campuses.  

How do we prepare and submit our entry?

STEP 1 - At the start of your video, please include your names, N numbers and where you are studying this semester. Beyond that, there are no division of labor time requirement for the 4 minute video so one person could introduce your team, state the resolution and which side you're taking and the other could handle the rest.   

STEP 2 - Prepare a 4 minute video that takes a position either affirming or negating the resolution  


Voting for national leaders should be compulsory in democracies for citizens over the age of 18. 

STEP 3 -  Email your video to  If your format is oversized, please feel free to use Google Drive.  Depending on size, all videos will be uploaded to a secure Dropbox folder or forwarded as links so judges can compare and grade the submissions.   

Which teams advance?

 The teams with the highest total points will advance. The number of advancing teams will be proportional based on geographic representation, total number of entries, and assessment of quality of entries based on judges' scoring.  In prior years, the competition has had a maximum of 16 teams advance and a minimum of 6 teams. We anticipate 4-12 teams making elims this year. Those rounds will be held on April 22nd & 23rd.   


If we make the elims, is there assistance available if we haven’t competed before? 

Yes. Please review the information on the Stern Global Debate page. Consultations are also available with individual pairs of debaters upon request.  All information about approaches shared during consultations will be kept confidential.  



​​Eligibility and Registration

Who is eligible to participate in Global Debate at NYU? 
Any matriculated undergraduate student in a degree granting program is eligible to participate in the NYU Global Debate Program. Find out more in Rules and Regulations.

What do I need to do to register? 
To register, you must complete the form available in the sidebar of this page. (You must be logged into your NYU account)

Is there a limit to entries? 
No, there will be no limit on the number of entries at this time, however the organizers reserve the right to cap entries based on room availability. All who wish to participate and are eligible may do so.


Does my partner need to complete a separate registration form? 
Yes, individual participants must complete their own form.

Can I compete without a partner? 
It depends. For the international competition, you do not need a partner for the opening round, although partnerships are strongly encouraged. For the domestic competition, you must have a partner for the competition.

Who can be my partner? 
Students may partner with any other eligible undergraduate student. For the international competition, the organizers encourage students to partner with others from their Study Abroad site.

What if I don't have or can't find a partner? 
The organizers will help facilitate partnerships where possible.  The more notice the better.

Prior Experience

Do I need to have public speaking or debate experience to participate? 
No, students with no experience are strongly encouraged to participate. A major goal of this program is to give people without such experience an opportunity to try it out.

How will I know what to do if I have no experience at public speaking or debate? 
We will offer training sessions for students who would like the opportunity to gain more information or public speaking practice. Once they register, students can also arrange to meet with the Coordinator or one of the involved faculty members to discuss the topic. Also, we strongly encourage you to practice, especially with other teams in your school or Residence Hall. Please use the resources provided as much as possible.

Do I have to attend the training session with my partner? 
No, you and your partner may attend separately if schedules do not allow you to attend together. However, it is strongly advised that you make every attempt to attend together.

Can I still attend a training/information session if I do not yet have a partner? 
Yes, and you may use the session to find a partner.

Am I eligible to participate if I am on one of the competitive speech or debate teams such as Mock Trial, Parliamentary Debate, Cross-Examination Debate, or Speech? 
Yes, and while you may have more of a background in persuasive public speaking, you may want to use the training sessions to learn about the topic and identify ways of adapting your normal competitive speaking style to the different format being used and to learn about the topic.

Do people with experience in a speech or debate activity have an advantage over other students? 
No, all participants will start out on equal footing. Some people with specific debate experiences may find it hard to adapt their normal competitive style into the more public forum style of the event.


What does "training" mean? 
The organizers and interested clubs will sponsor workshops about basic public speaking techniques and methods of argumentation. These sessions will provide examples of particular argument styles related to the topic and discuss research strategies provided for the topic and how evidence can be effectively incorporated into speech making.

Will training be provided outside of the scheduled training sessions? 
We strongly advise students to identify student organizations and faculty in their schools that might be useful resources for information and practice.


What is the topic and when is it announced? 
The topic is announced every fall and will be posted on the General Information page of this website.

Why isn't the topic phrased as a question? 
The topic is a resolution. The term "Resolved" indicates that one side, the affirmative, should advocate that the action of the topic should be taken. The other side, the negative, is responsible for disproving the statement of the resolution and demonstrating how the affirmative's call for action is flawed.


Do I have to do research on the topic on my own? 
Research can provide students with a competitive edge. A list of links to websites will be provided on the Resources page.

Besides background, is there any other purpose for the research? 
Yes. Students are expected to support their claims and arguments in their speeches in competition. To do so, competitors should refer to specific warrants and evidence from the research to justify their points in the debate. Additionally, judges and opponents have opportunities to ask questions during the debate round.

General Competition (DOMESTIC)

Are we expected to practice prior to the competition? 
The more you practice any speaking skill, the more you will improve. The organizers can help arrange practice sessions if necessary, but strongly encourages students to arrange such sessions on their own.

What is the format of the debates? 
The format is available on the information page, but essentially involves two teams of two people each alternating speeches on the topic, with cross examination periods after each person speaks for the first time. Find out more about the debate format in General Information.

Why does the affirmative both begin and end the debate? 
The affirmative must begin the debate so that the ground of the debate can be firmly established. It ends the debate because generally it is assumed that the affirmative has a higher burden of proof since they want something to change from the status quo and the negative has many options in explaining how the change would be detrimental. The person who speaks last has a slight advantage in what people will remember, so this counters the burden-of-proof issue. This is why prosecutors in trials who must argue guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt" also may choose to speak last.

Why does the negative speak twice in a row in the middle of the debate? 
The negative speaks twice in part to equalize any competitive advantages that the affirmative may have in speaking first and last. Also, this structure is required in order to allow the affirmative to speak last. This structure allows the negative to develop their arguments in depth, which is important because the affirmative got to choose the ground of the debate in their first speech. Strategically the negative should use this opportunity to make as many points against the affirmative as possible, and to maximize the time crunch the first affirmative rebuttal will have in the next speech.

Why are there only cross examinations after the first four speeches? 
Cross-examinations provide an opportunity for the debaters to clarify the points made by the other side so that they can strongly refute them. They also offer an opportunity to point out flaws in the other side's arguments. Cross-examinations can be very powerful performance tools in establishing credibility. However, at some point competitors should stop adding new points to the debate and should start comparing and evaluating the arguments on both sides and their merits. Once this "rebuttal" stage of the debate is reached, cross-examination is less useful because the clarification has already been done and debaters should try to avoid making many new points. Finally, each debater will have already had one chance to answer and one chance to ask questions, so the time allocated for cross examination is sufficient.

What is a rebuttal? 
A rebuttal is a speech in which competitors respond to and evaluate the arguments of the other side in comparison to the arguments that they have made so far. Rebuttal arguments might include indicting the source of the warrants for a given argument, discussing why the evidence that supports one side's arguments is better than the evidence from another side, identifying how different arguments interact, or explaining how the other side's responses to an argument are insufficient. Specifically, the first Affirmative Rebuttal should indicate what the key arguments are for the affirmative side in each issue. The second Negative Rebuttal should indicate what arguments mean that the negative should win and why. This speech should also predict and preempt the reasons the affirmative will state as to why the affirmative should win. The second Affirmative Rebuttal should explain why their arguments are the most valid and deserve a win.

General Competition (INTERNATIONAL)

Are we expected to practice prior to the competition? 
Since the preliminary rounds consist of video submissions, you will want to put your best foot forward by practicing before entering your final work.

What is the format of the debates? 
The format is available on the information page, but essentially involves teams submitting short videos in favor of or against the topic for review by the organizers. The best submitters will advance to the later rounds. Find out more about the debate format in General Information. The elimination rounds will be held at NYU and follow the format outlined for the domestic competition (see above).

If we advance, how will we get to NY for elimination rounds?
The Global Debate Fund will be responsible for awards, lodging and ground transportation.  Unless notified in writing otherwise, each competitor is responsible for arranging their air travel through their local site.


How will judges evaluate the competition? 
Judges will evaluate the competition on a number of criteria, including persuasiveness and content of the speeches. In general, the judges are looking for how well each side advocates its own points while responding to and engaging in the arguments from the other team. This is an activity about intellectual engagement and substance. Although style is important and can be essential in conveying a point, it should not be a substitute for supported analysis.

Who will be judging the competition? 
Interested faculty will volunteer not only to prepare students, but also to judge in the preliminary competition. Graduate students will also judge, making this a truly University-wide event. Excellent faculty judges will be honored as guest coaches for the elimination competition.


How will I find out the results of the competition? 
There will be a public posting of the students who advance on the website. Results of the preliminary competition will be posted on this website soon after the competition. All participants will be emailed directly with the names of the teams advancing to the Elimination Rounds within three days of the end of the preliminary competition.

The Elimination Rounds

What is elimination round? 
An elimination round is one in which only the winning team will continue on in the competition.

What is the difference between the preliminary competition and the elimination rounds? 
The biggest difference is that the preliminary rounds will be visual competitions (based on video submissions) and the elimination rounds will be oral competitions (based on head-to-head debates similar to the preliminary rounds of the domestic competition).

The preliminary round of international competition is open to all NYU students who have international placements for the spring semester. These students will submit videos. Only the top submitters will advance to the elimination rounds. The elimination rounds will be held at NYU Washington Square campus and will consist of octofinals, quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals. In these rounds, only the winner of the round advances to the next round of competition. All participants in the elimination rounds will receive recognition and awards.

How do I qualify for the elimination rounds? 
The top teams based on their combined video evaluations will advance to the elimination rounds.

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