Thank you for joining us at the 2022 Mayors Challenge!

You’ve been invited to the 2022 Mayors Challenge: The Great NATO Debate! We are excited for you to join us for our 10th Anniversary Event.

Register Here

If you’ve been offered a ticket to the Mayors Challenge, whether because you are a student or coach or sponsored our event through your workplace, please RSVP and share your entree preference with us at this Google Form.


Presented by the Minnesota Urban Debate League, a program of Augsburg University

September 22nd, 2022 | 5:00-7:45 PM

With Featured Speaker Governor Tim Walz & First Lady Gwen Walz, Mayor Jacob Frey, & Mayor Melvin Carter

Hosted by: Nina Moini, Senior Reporter for MPR News

The MNUDL is proud to present the 10th anniversary celebration of its annual fundraiser, Mayors Challenge 2022: the Great NATO Debate. We are excited to be back in person, with the beautiful American Swedish Institute as our venue.

For the past 10 years, our Mayors Challenge event has brought together education advocates from across the Twin Cities to watch our showcase debate. In this year’s debate, four debaters, who represent our partner schools across the Twin Cities, will split into two teams and debate issues related to NATO. We have also invited the ambassadors to the United States (or their official designee) from Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Iceland.We are excited to welcome current urban debate students from both sides of the river to compete in this debate. All speeches and rebuttals will be written, prepared, and performed by our own urban debaters!

Arguing the Affirmative:

Maren Lien: Senior at St. Paul Central High School, St. Paul

Leah Schwitzer Rodriguez: Sophomore at Roosevelt High School, Minneapolis

Arguing the Negative:

Sebastian Crea: Senior at Highland Park Senior High School, St. Paul

Lillie Elizabeth Perez: Sophomore at Tartan High School, Oakdale



5:00-6:00 PM – Cocktail Reception with MNUDL Students, Governor Walz, First Lady Gwen Walz, Mayor Carter, and Mayor Frey.

6:00 – Dinner Begins

6:05 – Welcome Remarks from Gov. Tim Walz

6:15 – Student Debate & Conversation with the Mayors

7:00 – Ambassador Panel

7:30 – Champions of Change

7:45 – Debate Decision by Audience & Conclusion

Dress Code:

Business Attire

Thank You To Our Organizational Sponsors!

List of MNUDL event sponsors (see below)

Presenting Media Sponsor:

Star Tribune

Advocate Level ($5,000)

Entenza Law Firm

Hogen Adams

Lathrop GPM


Zimmerman Reed

Leader Level ($2,500)


Lockridge Grindal Nauen PLLP

National Association for Urban Debate Leagues (NAUDL)

Nilan Johnson Lewis

Winthrop & Weinstine

With Additional Thanks To: 

Felhaber Larson

Thank You To Our Individual Sponsors!

List of Individual Supporters (see below)

$5,000 Level

Alex and Emily Thiele

$2,500 Level

Jess and Rick Khan

$1,000 Sponsor

Adam Garen

Linnea Solem

Meg Luger-Nikolai & Pete Nikolai


Our event will be hosted at the beautiful American Swedish Institute at 2600 Park Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55407. Enjoy a catered dinner and debate with us at this historic venue.

Free parking is available in ASI’s surface parking lot located at 27th Street and Park Avenue. Accessible parking spaces are located on the east side of the lot. Buses and large trailers are not permitted in the parking lot. Adjacent Park Avenue, Portland Avenue, and 26th Street all have designated bike lanes. ASI is conveniently located just three blocks north of the Midtown Greenway Park Avenue exit. Free bike racks are located near the ASI entrance. Additionally, Metro Transit Bus routes 5 and 11 stop a few blocks from ASI.