Atlanta, GA 30322
Dobbs U.C., Suite 240E
Read about new happenings in the Atlanta Urban Debate League by visiting the Atlanta Urban Debate League Web Page.
In May 2010, the Glenn Pelham Foundation hosted the First Annual Fundraising Dinner celebrating 25 Years of the Atlanta Urban Debate League. Congressman John Lewis was the featured speaker. A beautiful portrait of Congressman Lewis by Susan Pelham was presented to him. It will hang in the National Civil Rights Museum in a section dedicated to John Lewis days as a leader of the Civil Rights movement.
Congressman Lewis featured with several students from the Atlanta Urban Debate League attends the Glenn Pelham Foundation Dinner
From Rural Areas to Urban Communities
The Barkley Forum has a strong commitment to providing debate opportunities for those in under-served communities, both rural and urban. The Emory National Debate Institute initially began in the 1960s to provide debate training for students from rural Georgia. That role expanded in the 1980s to provide opportunities for students from urban areas. The Barkley Forum began extensive outreach in the early 1980s, establishing the first metro area Urban Debate League. This effort, initially supported by grants from the National Forensic League and Phillips Petroleum, eventually expanded under grants from the Open Society Institute (OSI). The combination of OSI and the Barkley Forum made the growth of Urban Debate Leagues possible nationwide. From twenty students from various area public schools in the Atlanta area, the Urban Debate Leagues now exist in over twenty major cities and have served over 35,000 students and teachers nationally.
Barkley Forum and i-Tunes U
You can learn more about the growth and the importance of the Urban Debate programs by tuning into iTunes U. Here you can see testimony from graduates of the Atlanta Urban Debate League as they thank Arthur Blank and his Family Foundation for the support they have provided to the Atlanta UDL. Watch Atlanta UDL graduate Robin Ayers as she demonstrates debate techniques and explains the value of debate. And listen to the Barkley Forum's Executive Director in an interview on the history of the Barkley Forum as a community service program. Click here to Listen.
From High Schools to Middle Schools
Realizing the benefits debate could provide to under-served populations, the Barkley Forum expanded its outreach to middle and junior high schools in the mid-1990s. From a handful of students in an experimental summer program, middle school debate tournaments are now held for over 150 students more than seven weekends each year. The middle school program has been such a success that school administrators now institutionally support the programs, and other cities have replicated them.
From the Atlanta Urban Debate League to the National Debate Project
In 1999 Emory partnered with Georgia State University to form the National Debate Project and in 2004, with the assistance of the Atlanta Housing Authority, Atlanta Public Schools, Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta, and TechBridge, the NDP created the Computer Assisted Debate Program (CAD). In 2006, the CAD program was named the signature education program in the nation for the White House Helping America's Youth program for targeting at-risk youth. Serving middle school students living in Atlanta Housing Authority communities, CAD provides intensive debate and speech training, academic counseling and mentoring.
The National Debate Project also sponsors the Debate Center at Georgia State University, where students and professional staff from Emory and Georgia State work closely with urban secondary students and teachers throughout the metro Atlanta area to teach the fundamentals of debate, research, and tournament strategy.
The National Debate Project also facilitates the Emory-Georgia State partnership's Atlanta Urban Debate Institute (AUDI) for students in Atlanta area public school systems. The program is a one-week intensive program in debate in the period immediately following the end of the academic school year. Here students receive a preview of the national debate topic for the upcoming school year while polishing skills necessary for effective advocacy.
Each of these programs requires local, student, and professional volunteers to be certified for teaching and coaching. If you would like the opportunity to improve educational opportunities and achievement for middle and high school students, we can use your help. For further information on volunteering, please contact Lauren Jacob at firstname.lastname@example.org..