“Debate opened up a whole new world for me. It surprises me what I can do with my voice right now. I’m changing the future, I’m changing society, slowly, bit by bit.”
– Maryam, Anne Sullivan Communication Center
Building on the foundation of our Spanish Debate Initiative, we took our existing debate model and put it in the hands of interested students and coaches who adapted it to fit topics that reflected community conversations.
In 2015, with the help of community and on-campus partners, we hosted the Somali Debate Initiative Tournament – the first program of its kind in the nation. This tournament has grown into regular spring programming serving more than 100 students per year. In 2019, we rebranded the program to the East African Debate League, expanding our focus to include more students in these discussions about essential issues affecting the East African community.
From May-June, East African students debate a critical topic chosen by the community. Students have the opportunity to debate at three tournaments, leading to our special championship/community celebration event.
The East African Debate League provides far more than an opportunity for students to debate, including: