About Us

The New York City Urban Debate League (NYCUDL) is the largest debate league in the nation with debate leagues in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Harlem, Manhattan, and Queens for all age levels – elementary school, middle school, and high school.  

Our mission is that every school should have a debate team and every student should have access to the best debate education opportunities.

In 2011, there were less than ten schools in the city with debate teams.  We were founded to change this statistic.  Today, over 1000 students and 100 schools participate in our monthly debates. Every day we support debate practices. Every week we offer Saturday workshops. Every weekend our debaters travel to local, regional, and national tournaments. Every month we host public debate nights. Every summer we host debate camps from the first day of summer to the last day of summer. Over 95%-100% of our high school seniors graduate and are accepted to college each year. Many of our graduates also receive full or partial scholarships to the college of their choice because of their participation in debate.

Why debate? Scholastic debate since Ancient Greece has been the most rigorous academic program. Debate improves academic performance (debaters earn higher grades than their peers, have higher attendance rates, and are more likely to test as college ready in English, Reading, Math and Science). Debate improves graduation rates (90% of urban debaters graduate on time). Debate prepares students for college (89% of urban debaters attend college). Debate prepares students for 21st century careers (debate teaches critical thinking and problem solving, research, communication, collaboration and creativity). Debate inspires political and civic engagement. Debaters are more likely to vote, volunteer for a campaign, or run for office. This list includes over a dozen Presidents, the majority of Supreme Court Justices (including the first Latina Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor and the first African American Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall), governors, mayors, civil rights, social and community activists.

As President Obama stated “Maybe you could be a mayor or a Senator or a Supreme Court Justice, but you might not know that until you join student government or the debate team.”

So sign up now so that you too can be a Great Debater!! Contact League Director, Erik Fogel, erik@debate.nyc, 917-455-1079.