LIVINGSTON, NJ – Debate teams from around the world entered the 2017-18 International Public Policy Forum (IPPF) competition, but only 16 remain—and Livingston High School (LHS) is one of them. In fact, LHS and Bridgewater-Raritan High School (BRHS) are the only two New Jersey high schools to have advanced to the “Sweet 16” round of the competition, making them eligible to win the “Brewer Cup” and a $10,000 grand prize.

The “Sweet 16” round is now underway, with the top 16 teams representing schools from 10 U.S. states as well as teams from China, Slovakia and Taiwan. LHS is currently competing against Stuyvesant High School from New York, NY, and BRHS is taking on Westfield Academy from West Hartford, CT.

On March 21, the “Elite 8” teams will be announced. Those teams will travel to New York City on an all-expenses-paid trip to the IPPF finals on April 21 at the Harold Pratt House. The IPPF finals give students the opportunity to participate in oral debates in front of some of the world’s foremost experts in debate, business, law and politics.

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The IPPF, sponsored by the Brewer Foundation and New York University, is the first and only competition that gives high school students from around the world the opportunity to engage in written and oral debates on issues of public policy.

“These students have demonstrated a command of a very complex and timely topic,” said William Brewer III, partner at Brewer, Attorneys & Counselors and a founder of the IPPF. “The remaining 16 teams are now competing for the chance to debate this issue on a global stage in New York City.” 

This year, teams submitted qualifying-round essays affirming or negating the IPPF topic, “Resolved: International climate accords for greenhouse gas emissions should adopt binding enforcement mechanisms.” Those essays were reviewed by a committee that ultimately determined the top 64 teams based on the overall quality of each 2,800-word essay.

In November, the top 64 teams began a single-elimination, written debate competition. Each team was assigned a position (affirmative or negative) and then volleyed papers back and forth with another team via email for the next six weeks. A panel of judges reviewed the essays in the order they were presented and selected the winning teams.

In the “Round of 64,” LHS advanced over The Woodlands School from Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, and in the “Top 32” round, LHS advanced over Praxis of Central Michigan from Midland, MI.

The “Sweet 16” teams include:

All-Saints Episcopal School, Tyler, TX

BASIS Scottsdale, Scottsdale, AZ

Bridgewater-Raritan High School, Bridgewater, NJ

Concordia International School Shanghai, Shanghai, China

East Mountain High School, Sandia Park, NM

Greenwich High School, Greenwich, CT

Hamilton High School, Chandler, AZ

LEAF Academy, Bratislava, Slovakia

Livingston High School, Livingston, NJ

Peak to Peak Charter School, Lafayette, Colo.

Pine-Richland High School, Gibsonia, PA

Stuyvesant High School, New York, NY

Taipei American School, Taipei, Taiwan

The Davidson Academy of Nevada, Reno, NV

Westfield Academy, West Hartford, CT

William Mason High School, Mason, OH