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What's the best debate format?
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Model United Nations presents the most flexibility in topic

Although Model United Nations conferences would give participants broad topics to talk about, participants still get a lot of freedom to pick and choose what exactly they find important. This makes the debates more interesting for the people doing them since they won't be limited by a resolution.
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The Argument

In MUN, instead of having a rigid debate topic presented to you, participants are allowed to talk about whatever they want to under a broader theme that they chose before the conference began.[1] Debating should be about thinking, and it should help you learn more about what you are already interested in. MUN is good because it allows participants to have a deep and meaningful discussion on a topic they care about instead of simply allowing whoever can talk about a random niche topic the best to win the debate. When people discuss things they care about, they also tend to be more passionate and informed, which means that the overall quality of the debate will also be higher. On top of all that, the issues that people care about tend also to be the issues that are most pertinent to their own lives. Therefore, in MUN, when debaters get to discuss the issues that are most relevant to themselves, they can apply the new perspectives that they have learned in the debate back to their own lives, making MUN the most useful form of debate.

Counter arguments

Debate is an academic extracurricular, not a form of social activism. If participants wanted to talk about the issues that are meaningful to their own lives or learn new perspectives about something that they care about, they could attend a social issues conference or a special workshop. The point of debating is to be challenged with topics that you didn’t know or care about and learn how to use logic and emotion to prove a point. If an individual already cared a lot about a topic, they probably would’ve been discussing it all the time anyway, so there’s no point in having them discuss the same things at a debate tournament. It isn’t a bad thing that sometimes participants are presented with issues and topics that don’t take up the headlines of mainstream media and don’t trend on Instagram and Twitter. Instead, they have to think beyond their typical comfort zone.


[P1] When students get to choose what they want to debate, they will be more interested in the topic and have a better experience. [P2] Debating relevant topics is also more useful for participants' own lives.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P1] Students already discuss the positions that they find interesting all the time, so there's no point in doing that in debate as well [Rejecting P2] Debate is not an activist activity where you learn how to address your own issues, it is an intellectual expansion of thought


This page was last edited on Tuesday, 10 Nov 2020 at 20:06 UTC

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