international public policy forum

Ages: Grades 9-12 (HS)

Application is OPEN

**Please Read This In Its Entirety If You Are Interested In Participating**

Thank you for your interest in the Westfield 2018/19 International Public Policy Forum team! This is a major commitment. Our experience last year proved that it was a hugely worthwhile one but we want to be upfront with people that especially during the periods when papers are due, this takes a lot of time. If you are interested in applying for the team, please complete the following questions.  

In 2017, 6 Westfield students had an absolutely amazing experience participating in IPPF. Despite it being our first time with this new format, Westfield went all the way becoming the #1 International Public Policy Forum high school team in the world!!  This competition demanded a tremendous commitment on the part of the team members.  In return, they learned an incredible amount.  I am an appellate attorney and used to teach Legal Writing at UConn Law School.  The IPPF experience last year amounted to a college-level course and writing seminar.  Working with the same topic over the course of 9 months allowed these kids to delve into the nuances of incredibly complicated international, political, economic and philosophical ideas and really grapple with them. Each round, their thinking and written product got clearer and better.  This is a very unique opportunity but students need to be sure they have the time to give it.  We had an informational meeting on Monday, September 18th during which we explained in detail what would be required.


A high school debate tournament for students in grades 9-12 with an interesting format: Initial rounds are written debates about an issue of public policy; advanced rounds are oral debates. This is a very exciting possibility for those of you who are willing to commit to doing written advocacy in addition to oral advocacy. It will take commitment to a great final product but you will learn a lot along the way.


Resolved:  U.S. abdication of international leadership creates dangerous global instability.


Teams of high school students from around the world. To participate, students must be in high school.


The Qualifying Round – Teams from around the world submit essays of no more than 2800 words written from either the Affirmative or Negative perspectives.

The Essay Review Committee then selects the top 64 essays.

Three Elimination Rounds – During the top 64, top 32, and “Sweet 16” rounds, each team will compete against the team with which it is paired. Affirmative and Negative sides will be assigned randomly. The teams selected for these rounds will exchange papers according to the Schedule of Events.  Each debate will consist of four papers: Affirmative Constructive, Negative Constructive, Affirmative Rebuttal, Negative Rebuttal. Affirmative/Negative Constructive papers should be no more than 2,800 words and Rebuttals should be no more than 1400 words.


The eight schools reaching the finals will do a oral debate in New York City with all expenses paid for up to 3 team members and their coach. Teams selected for the finals may bring additional team members at their own expense. Traveling team members must be on the team roster and must have participated in the previous rounds of written work. Before the teams travel to New York, each of the final eight teams will submit an Affirmative Constructive. This can be either a completely new paper or one that has been revised from previous rounds. This paper will be used in the quarterfinal, semifinal and final rounds. 

In New York, all eight teams will engage in a quarterfinal debate against one other team before a panel of three judges. Teams advancing to the semifinal rounds will have at least 30 minutes to prepare before the live oral debates begin. The two teams advancing to the final round will have at least two and a half hours to prepare before the start of the final debate. A live panel of judges will determine the winner of each semifinal round and of the final round. The format for oral arguments will be an interactive exchange between the two teams, and between the teams and the judges. Three members of each team will participate in the oral arguments. There will be a moderator for all oral arguments. Each team member will give one speech.  There is cross-examination and a period for the judges to question the debaters.


Screen Shot 2018-09-17 at 1.53.47 PM.png


Somewhat amazingly for a debate tournament, there is the opportunity to win cash prizes!! We have a very active scholarship program at Westfield which aims to make our programs available to students from underserved areas.  We work closely and are affiliated with the Legacy Foundation of Hartford.  Unfortunately, their funds have been severely cut because of the state budget woes.  As a result, access to the Westfield programs is at risk.  These kids have become part of the Westfield family. In 2017, the IPPF team voted to give the $10,000 we won to scholarships.  In my mind, this is what really made them champions. I made the executive decision to distribute $3,000 of the award evenly among the team members.  

We have absolutely no guarantee that we will win any money this year but, if we do, I would like the same deal as last year: after subtracting for any team expenses all prize money goes to scholarships.  Should we go all the way, we will divide $3,000 among the team members. This tournament required an amazing amount of my time.  Knowing that prize money allows children to get to experience debate who otherwise could not makes it all worthwhile for me.

How the awards work

  1. Teams eliminated in the first eliminations round of 64 will receive individual medals

  2. Teams eliminated in the round of 32 will each receive individual medals.

  3. Teams eliminated in the Sweet 16 round will each receive $400.

  4. Teams eliminated in the Elite Eight will each receive $750.

  5. Teams eliminated in the Semifinals will each receive $1,500.

  6. The runner-up will receive $3,500.

  7. The first place team will receive a $10,000 prize


Only a limited number of students will be accepted to be on the team. Anyone who is interested needs to complete an application by this Sunday, September 23rd by 5 PM. The team will be announced by Monday, September 24th and the students selected will register that day. The team will have an initial meeting via Google Hangouts on Monday, September 24th at 5:00 PM to start figuring out which position they want to take, their arguments and how they will divide the research and writing responsibilities.  Mrs. H. will send an email with her availability to meet with the team next week to go over their arguments and strategy. This meeting can be conducted in person or virtually. The deadline for submitting the first draft of the team's paper will be the morning of Saturday, October 6th.  Mrs. H. will edit it and give feedback.  The team will then edit and rework the paper.  The final draft should be submitted to Mrs. H. no later than Saturday, October 20th. Final editing will be done by the 21st for submission by the 22nd.

Timeline for submission of first paper - needs updating

Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 3.38.33 PM.png


This year, the team members will be expected to take responsibility for scheduling and getting the product done.  The team will have a Captain who will have the responsibility and authority to make assignments.  

Please Note:  If a team member becomes unable to fulfill his or her responsibilities to the team, they will be asked to drop out.  In this situation, no fees will be refunded.  


For the period up until the submission on October 22nd, there will be a participation fee of $103 per student to cover the extra group meetings and all the editing time. There is no additional registration fee. If the team qualifies to move forward, the fee for extra meeting times and editing thereafter will be $78 per student for each additional round.

**This is a wonderful opportunity for students who are excited to do it and are interested in improving their analytical and critical thinking, research and persuasive writing skills.  Please make sure you are fully committed to creating the best possible written product you can before applying.  This will ensure that the team is all on the same page and that each member is committed to doing what it takes to produce their very best work.  Also look carefully at the schedule and make sure you can commit to the deadlines.  We have tremendous writers, researchers and debaters at Westfield. You never know how far this team will go!