Perspective: Debaters Will Lead in the Next Decade

Charting the role of debate in preparing the next generation of leaders

December 19, 2019 – The year 2020 is merely days away. I feel like I blinked and another year, and decade, are coming to a close.   Times of change bring reflection and excitement, as well as the promise of risk and reward. As we enter the new decade, I am energized by NAUDL’s work with bright, engaged young people who dedicate their free time to developing critical skills in reasoning, communication, and teamwork.

Signing up for debate as a class or extracurricular activity involves a substantial commitment to work.  When students tell me how much they love debate they are they are inherently sharing their value in expanding their knowledge — and using their voice in a way that is heard by their peers and key decision makers around them.  Loving debate means recognizing opposing views; using facts and research to challenge the status quo; accepting and applying constructive feedback; and working collaboratively to propose solutions to society’s most pressing issues.  In my view, this is exactly how we develop the next generation of leaders for a new decade.

From a societal standpoint, the world can certainly use more of these leaders. At NAUDL we are proud to be at the center of this this movement — working with our donors, volunteers, league partners and teachers to invest in remarkable youth talent.  I find confidence and peace in knowing that, as a network, we will continue to nurture students’ love of learning and intellectual collaboration through debate.

Rhonda Haynes
Executive Director

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