Video from the 2012-13 Global Debate Final Round


Since the tournament organizers are aware that the resolution selection for this year has been used previously in interscholastic competition, there was consensus that a topic primer would be a useful addition to clarify the expectations for the in-person debates. 

THE 2017-18 Resolution is:  Resolved: Just governments ought to ensure food security for their citizens.


Concerns about food security can be traced back to the Hot Springs Conference of Food and Agriculture in 1943, since which time the issue has undergone several redefinitions. The 1943 conference evolved the concept of a “secure, adequate and suitable supply of food for everyone” a concept that was subsequently taken up at an international level. The next step was the setting up of bilateral agencies by donor countries such as the USA and Canada in the 1950s whereby their agricultural surpluses would be shipped overseas to countries in need. By the 1960s there was a growing realization that food aid could actually hamper a country’s progress to self-sufficiency and thus was born the concept of Food for Development and in 1963 its institutional expression, the World Food Programme (WFP). However, the era of an abundance of food was coming to an end and the 1972-4 food crisis marked the beginning of fluctuating food supplies and prices. To counter this, insurance schemes were set up to guarantee access to food supplies and this led to enhanced coordination among donor organizations and improved monitoring of the situation on the ground in receiving countries.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) State of Food Insecurity for 2010 assesses that nearly 1 billion people are estimated to be undernourished, representing almost 16 percent of the population of developing countries. Although the strong commitment of international institutions and the efforts conducted to reach the objective to half, within year 2015, the number of people suffering from hunger, food insecurity still represents one of the biggest challenges for a big part of the world population and must be treated with the utmost urgency. It is generally recognized that food security, and therefore food insecurity, is a multidimensional phenomenon. Several indices measuring hunger and the progress in achieving hunger eradication helped understanding the issue and monitoring the progress in eliminating hunger as well as providing targets for national and international political action (Ed. Clay, 2002). However, none of these indexes reach to capture all aspects of food insecurity, as stated by the Scientific Symposium on Measurement and Assessment of Food Deprivation and Undernutrition in 2002. The lack of a commonly accepted, comp rehensive measure for food security on an international scale has been identified as one of the roadblocks on the way to the eradication of hunger and malnutrition (Heidhues and von Braun 2004). A suite of indicators is therefore needed to cover the different dimensions of food security: availability, access, utilization and stability. This study aims to provide a first step towards the development of a multidimensional index to assess countries’ vulnerability to food insecurity across all four dimensions.

The issue of food security really came to the fore in the 1970s and at the 1974 World Food Conference in Rome the first explicit acknowledgement was made that this issue concerned the whole of mankind: “Every man, woman and child has the inalienable right to be free from hunger and malnutrition in order to develop fully and maintain their physical and mental faculties. (…) Accordingly, the eradication of hunger is a common objective of all the countries of the international community, especially of the developed countries and others in a position to help.” (United Nations. 1975. Report of the World Food Conference, Rome 5-16 November 1974. New York)

In the 20 years the state of food security has made important improvements all over the world. From the previous analysis it was recognized that over the 61 countries studied all have ameliorated their vulnerability towards food insecurity with exception of the Democratic Republic of Congo. This important success has to be attributed to the massive attention and efforts that have been deployed in the lasts decades in eliminating food insecurity and hunger. Nevertheless, FAO in its “State of food insecurity, 2010” made an important warning that must make think about the efficiency of actions conduced since now and renovate the engagements, with an even greater effort, towards the eradication of food insecurity and hunger in the World. “The number of undernourished people in the world remains unacceptably high at near the one billion mark despite an expected decline in 2010 for the first time since 1995. (…) However, a total of 925 million people are still estimated to be undernourished in 2010, representing almost 16 percent of the population of developing countries. The fact that nearly a billion people remain hungry even after the recent food and financial crises have largely passed indicates a deeper structural problem that gravely threatens the ability to achieve internationally agreed goals on hunger reduction: the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG) and the 1996 World Food Summit goal. It is also evident that economic growth, while essential, will not be sufficient in itself to eliminate hunger within an acceptable period of time.”

In light of this, policies and innovations oriented to increase the availability of food (such as the Green Revolution) certainly contributed to the improvement of the food security situation in developing countries, but a concomitant action is needed to ensure access to food is also guaranteed, being this the component that mostly affects countries’ performances.



Definition of Just-  We will use just as an adjective with these approximate meanings: 1.guided by truth, reason, justice, and fairness:We hope to be just in our understanding of such difficult situations.

2.done or made according to principle; equitable; proper: a just reply.

3.based on right; rightful; lawful: a just claim.

NOTE:    Just does not mean ONLY for the purposes of these debates [e.g ONLY the government can feed its citizens].

IMPLICATIONS: If a team invokes the primer during the debate, the judge will be told that they should AUTOMATICALLY DISMISS any alternative definition without evaluating the reasons advanced. 


Definition of Just Government-  We will interpret just governments as a phrase with these approximate meanings: A formal authority that operates according to particular moral principles, such as respect for all human beings.

2- R. A. Hill, Virginia State University [locke, Rawls, Rousseau, Weber] I do believe, however, that there is a moral imperative enjoining government to be just. The moral imperative follows not from the nature of government per se, but from the citizens themselves. The moral imperative is locked in because of the right of each human being, as rational agent, to certain treatment and certain forbearance on the parts of others. The rights to which I am referring are minimal - stark when compared to the plethora of rights abounding in some societies - but they are rights which attach to human beings as entities capable of rational deliberation and moral choice. They are rights which must be honored individually by other human beings and severally by collections of human beings, including governments.  A "just" government is one that is fair and has the motive of running things ethically and legally. A "just" government would never do things for the simple motivation of money, and it would not look at the issues of the rich making more money and screwing the poor out of more money. A "just" government would not involve their country in a war that was based on lies, and was wrong - no matter how one defends it. 

3-US defines it as The American political system is rooted in the ideal that a just government can exist, and that its citizens can experience a good measure of liberty and equality in their personal lives.

4-James Madison definition--Government is instituted to protect property of every sort; as well that which lies in the various rights of individuals, as that which the term particularly expresses. This being the end of government, that alone is a just government, which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own.

NOTE: Use of the plurality [GOVERNMENTS] was caused by the adoption of an existing topic not to require teams to defend multiple countries unless they choose to. 


Definition of Ought: We will interpret ought as a verb with these approximate meanings:

1.      used to indicate duty or correctness, typically when criticizing someone's actions.

"they ought to respect the law"

2.      2.used to indicate something that is probable. "five minutes ought to be enough time"

 NOTE: Synonyms would be should or could be expected to


Definition of Ensure: We will interpret ensure as a verb with these approximate meanings:


make certain that (something) shall occur or be the case. “the client must ensure that accurate records be kept”

make sure, make certain, see to it; 
·       2. make certain of obtaining or providing (something)."she would ensure him a place in society"

synonyms: secure, guarantee, assure, certify, safeguard, set the seal on, clinch, entrench

·       3. make sure that (a problem) shall not occur. “legislation to ensure equal opportunities for all"
Note 1: Not to be confused with “insure”

Note 2: Definitions referring to ensure as a guarantee of colonial documents or other interpretations not implied by the three definitions above are not intended for the debate topic

IMPLICATIONS: If a team invokes the primer during the debate, the judge will be told that they should AUTOMATICALLY DISMISS any alternative definition without evaluating the reasons advanced.  


Definition of Food Security: We will interpret Food Security as a phrase with the approximate meaning advanced by the Food & Agricuture Organization: The State of Food Insecurity 2001: “Food security[is] a situation that exists when all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life”.


Many sources describe four essential pillars of food security.  While the names vary [dimensions, elements, parts, pillars, etc], there is general agreement that the pillars include availability, access, utilization, and stability".

 There are also three types of food insecurity:

CHRONIC FOOD INSECURITY--long-term or persistent.. occurs when people are unable to meet their minimum food requirements over a sustained period of time. results from extended periods of poverty, lack of assets and inadequate access to productive or financial resources. TRANSITORY FOOD INSECURITY- short-term and temporary when there is a sudden drop in the ability to produce or access enough food to maintain a good nutritional status results fromshort-term shocks and fluctuations in food availability and food access, including year-to-year variations in domestic food production, food prices and household incomes.

SEASONAL FOOD INSECURITY falls between chronic and transitory food insecurity. It is similar to chronic food insecurity as it is usually predictable and follows a sequence of known events. However, as seasonal food insecurity is of limited duration it can also be seen as recurrent, transitory food insecurity. It occurs when there is a cyclical pattern of inadequate availability and access to food. This is associated with seasonal fluctuations in the climate, cropping patterns, work opportunities (labour demand) and disease

NOTE: Since the topic does not identify a specific form of food insecurity or condition, the affirmative has the right to defend whichever one they prefer while the negative retains the right to challenge that choice. 


Definition of Citizens: We will interpret citizens as a noun with these approximate meanings:

 1-legally recognized subject or national of a state or commonwealth, either native or naturalized."a Polish citizen"

synonyms: national, subject, passport holder, native

2-an inhabitant of a particular town or city. "the citizens of Los Angeles" synonyms: inhabitant, resident, native, townsman, townswoman, townsperson, denizen; 

NOTE 1: Citizens does not refer to non-human actors [plants, animals, insects, etc]  for the purposes of these debates [e.g ONLY the government can feed its citizens].

IMPLICATION: If a team invokes the primer during the debate, the judge will be told that they should AUTOMATICALLY DISMISS any alternative definition without evaluating the reasons advanced.  

NOTE 2:  There is tension between these two definitions since one would include undocumented immigrants and others who a government may not be considered to be directly responsible for.  

IMPLICATION:  None. The tournament officials will not interfere if teams choose to use either definition below or something similar and it is an issue that is up for robust debate.  

Section 1: Eligibility

A) Eligibility for Domestic Competition
To be eligible for competition a student must be a matriculated undergraduate at NYU for the semester of competition.
A team for competition is to consist of two undergraduate students from any of the NYU schools in any combination (i.e., students from different schools may compete together on the same competitive team).
The organizers will make every effort to assist interested students who are unpaired in finding a partner.
Students may participate in the annual NYU Global Debate Program up to four times.

B) Eligibility for International Competition
To be eligible for competition a student must be a matriculated undergraduate NYU student enrolled at one of NYU's international study sites.
A team for competition is to consist of two undergraduate students from any of the NYU schools in any combination.
Students are strongly encouraged to find partners attending the same international study site.
Students may participate in the annual NYU Global Debate Program up to four times.

Section 2: Preliminary Competition

A) Domestic Tournament Rules
All competitors will be entered in a preliminary competition tournament.
The tournament will consist of three rounds on the same day.
Each round will contain five-minute constructive speeches, three-minute rebuttals, and two-minute cross examination. Each team will have five minutes of preparation time per round.
Judges will have an optional five minute cross-examination period.
Each student will complete one constructive, one rebuttal, one response to cross examination, and one questioning during cross examination per round.
Rounds will be judged by faculty of the University and special guest judges.
Within each round judges will assign a winner of the debate to one side only.
Judges will also assign each competitor a rank and a score reflective of their speaking. These points will be used to determine ties in ranking of teams.
Teams will first be ranked based on number of wins, then on team points, and finally team ranks.
The top teams will continue to the Elimination Tournament.
The continuing teams will be announced within three days of the close of preliminary competition.
Judges will write ballots explaining the basis of their decision. The decision of a judge may not be challenged in a round or changed once entered.
The preliminary tournament will be randomly matched for round one & two, and be power-paired for round three.
All tournament procedures, alterations, and questions shall be resolved by the Coordinator, who shall function as Tournament Director.

B) International Tournament Rules
All competitors will submit four-minute videos for the preliminary competition tournament before the annual deadline listed on the Announcements page.
Videos will present arguments in favor of or against the resolution.

There is no specific time breakdown or formatting requirement for the videos [e.g students don't each have to speak for half the time].  All we require is that both students state their N numbers at the outset of the videos, each person speaks in the video, and that the teams take a clear stance on either side of the resolution.   

Any student who is later, confirmed as ineligible, [e.g not enrolled or other violation] by their local site will be disqualified and both their partner and themselves will be eliminated from the competition and their prize monies are forfeited.   
Judges will review and score each video submission.

Video upload locations will be tested in Mid-February and confirmed on Twitter for all competitors. 
Teams will be ranked by points with ties broken on judge preference.
The continuing teams will be announced within five days of the close of preliminary competition.
Judges will write ballots explaining the basis of their scoring. The decision of a judge may not be challenged or changed once entered.
All tournament procedures, alterations, and questions shall be resolved by the Coordinator, who shall function as Tournament Director.

C) Elimination Round Rules
Speech and cross-examination times will remain the same as for the domestic prelim tournament.
Teams will be seeded based on the video submission ballots and the results of the domestic prelim tournament. Results will be pro-rated as required.
Each round will have a minimum of three judges.
Judges will have a twelve minute cross-examination period.
Each student will complete one constructive, and one rebuttal. Cross-examination periods may be shared.
Rounds will be judged by faculty, alumni, previous competitors and administrators of the University as well as special guest judges.
Within each round judges will assign a winner of the debate to one side only.
All tournament procedures, alterations, and questions shall be resolved by the Program Director, who shall function as Tournament Director.
The decision of the judges may not be challenged or changed once entered.
Each advancing team must provide one qualified judge for the elimination rounds.  A qualified judge is a faculty member or administrator currently serving at NYU. 
Advancing team members from Study Away locations and portal campuses will be responsible for booking their air travel arrangements with their local sites unless specifically told otherwise by the Director of the Global Debate Fund.  The Global Debate Fund will cover domestic meals, ground transportation and lodging.

Section 3: Rights and Responsibilities of Competitors
Any student competitor will be free to ask for additional instruction or advice at any time via appointment. The Coordinator will be an impartial resource for all competitors.

All competitors will be entitled to the Debate Resource Bibliography.

All competitors may ask faculty of the University for advice on issues related to topic and argument.

All competitors will need to book travel arrangements through their local campus unless otherwise informed in writing by the Global Debate Fund staff. 

All competitors will be expected to uphold the ethical considerations of academic discourse in the process of competition and to represent the University, their school, and themselves to the best of their ability.

A 15 minute forfeit rule will be in place for head-to-head competitions during each phase of the domestic tournament.

Teams may work together and practice with other teams prior to competition to maximize preparation.

Student awards may be subject to additional terms of disbursement by the University pending legal and tax obligations.

If one competitor from a team is unable to participate in the elimination rounds due to verified medical reasons or visa problems, the remaining competitor will be able to secure a different partner for the elimination rounds. If a competitor from a team chooses not to participate for any other reason, the remaining competitor will have the option to debate singly or forfeit their elimination rounds. In any event, no single-member team will be permitted to advance past the semifinal round under any circumstances. The team member who did not compete will receive the octofinal award regardless of how far their partner advances.  

Students who were previously eliminated from either the domestic or international competition are not eligible to be secured as replacement partners.

Each member of all sixteen advancing teams agree to be present for all scheduled events organized by the sponsors including the elimination rounds, any welcome reception, the awards ceremony and the Championship Final Round. Failure to attend these events will lead to forfeiture of their award.

Section 4: What is Debate? 
Debate, as a game or competition, is when two sides agree to oppose each other on the same topic. This, in theory, offers the best test of the ideas.

Our Game:
The Topic: The Resolution will be a statement that something should be done or reflected upon.
The affirmative team supports or contends that this is a good idea, and why.
The negative team contends that this should not be done, and why.
*Key Point: The game assumes that we argue what should be done, not would be done. The negative should avoid arguments about rejection by the government. The negative can make arguments about why it is antithetical to the values of the government or why it may not feasibly work, but the debate does NOT focus on whether or not the government would ever choose to do such an action. 
(Hint: Refer to Strunk and White's Elements of Style for further would/should distinctions.)

A Distinction: What Debate is NOT
Debate is not ARGUING (in the traditional sense)

Debate = Clash of ideas

Therefore, arguments in a DEBATE take on a specific structure:
Claim (opinion, statement)
Warrant (Reasoning behind the claim)
Facts/Data/Evidence to support the reasoning

This structure requires all statements in a debate to have the best support possible and gives multiple ways for ideas to clash:



Claim         <-----  

Warrant     <-----

Evidence                  <-----

An argument can attack the claim, but it can also attack the warrant or the evidence.
The possibilities for clash are increased when a person may agree with someone's claim in a debate, but may disagree about the warrants or the interpretation of the evidence.

Evaluate the evidence!
Refute the arguments!


Claim: We are having particularly nice weather
Warrant: nice weather; it is very enjoyable.
Evidence: Today is sunny, not too windy and warm for November. It's in the high 60s. It was close to 80 degrees in Washington, D.C. this weekend.


1. It is always temperate in fall in NYC, so it is not particularly nice.

2. It is still cool, and a bit windy, and it will be much colder earlier with shorter days.

3. We just had a downpour Sunday night weather in the NE is very temperamental.

4. And it was TOO hot in D.C.

5. We're actually due for one of the snowiest winders this year, so it won't last.

There are eight speeches in the debate. The first four are five minutes each, followed by cross-examinations from the other team.
1st Aff. Speech (5 minutes) | Cross-ex. By Negative (2 minutes)
1st Neg Speech (5 minutes) | Cross-ex. By Aff (2 minutes)
2nd Aff. Speech (5 minutes) | Cross-ex. By Neg. (2 minutes)
2nd Neg. Speech (5 minutes) | Cross-ex. By Aff. (2 minutes)
In these speeches, put out your arguments, supporting data, and, initial responses to the other side.



The next four speeches are three minutes long, and called REBUTTALS.
1st Negative Rebuttal (3 minutes) | 1st Affirmative Rebuttal (3 minutes)
2nd Negative Rebuttal (3 minutes) | 2nd Affirmative Rebuttal (3 minutes)
These speeches are the comparison of the merits of the arguments.

 Strategic Tips by Speech
Use cross-ex's strategically
a. Get clarity on your opponent's points so you respond accurately.
b. Lead your opponent to answer questions to set up arguments in your next speech.
Choose who asks cross-ex's strategically 
a. Do you want the person speaking next to ask questions to set up their speech?
b. Do you want the person speaking next to not ask questions so the can prepare?
c. Do both?
3. All: Use cross-ex's. to establish credibility and control.

1st Aff. Speech: Establish the reasons the U.S. should adopt a policy of universal community service.
Two Choices:
Defend the idea in general
Defend a specific course of action (implementation) [Example: Americorps should administer...]
Paint a picture of why this world would be better/beneficial (consequences/advantages)
Define your ideas clearly
*This may be the best time to refer to supporting evidence
**Speech can be pre-written

1st Neg Speech: Establish the reasons the U.S. should not adopt such a policy. Identify flaws in Aff. arguments.
Types of Arguments:
Evaluate the consequences of the policy (world worse)
Issues affected by such a policy the Aff. does not address
Attack assumptions of affirmative
Argue philosophical opposition
*Some of this speech can be prewritten, some should be direct responses

2nd Aff. Speech: Engage and respond to the negative arguments specifically. Compare to your reasons for supporting the policy.
Continue justifying your own arguments by both referring to and elaborating on what was previously said, and by adding new points if there is time.

2nd Negative Speech:

AND           ----->  These are very similar, try to avoid repetition!

1st Negative Rebuttal:
The negative should develop its reasoning in depth, perhaps dividing arguments between speakers. This is the negative key time to develop their side.
*Here would be the best point for citing data and evidence.
Give evidence and warrants to all claims.
The rebuttal should begin comparing the validity of these claims.

1st Aff. Rebuttal:
Highlight your best arguments AND your side's best responses to negative arguments.As this is a short speech, try to reference previous ideas to save time. Focus on the key ideas to bring clarity to the issues.

2nd Negative Rebuttal:
Pick the issues you're winning on. (Trust me, you're not winning on everything!)
Explain why those issues mean you win the debate.
Predict the aff's best arguments and pre-empt them explain how you've refuted them already or they are less important. (Malcolm X speech example)

2nd Aff. Rebuttal:
Identify your best claims, how they are supported, and why they should win the debate.

*Give the judge criteria for evaluation



Use notes to keep track of what you said AND what your opponent said so that you remember what to respond to.

Develop an abbreviation system to help yourself with notes (and that your partner understands)

Create some kind of organization to notes: i.e. columns for what was said and responded to.


1AS          1NS            2AS               2NR
1)             1)              1) A.              1).

2)             2)              2)                  2)

3)              3)             3) No answer  3)

*Different papers for different ideas can be used