Our Mission

We create equitable access to academic debate opportunities with a focus on students of color and students from other historically underserved communities in New York City to empower the next generation of diverse, informed, and courageous leaders.

The New York City Urban Debate League (NYCUDL) is the largest debate league in the nation.

In 2011, there were less than ten schools in the city with debate teams.  We were founded to change this statistic.  Today, over 2000 students and 140 schools participate in 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 90% 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.

We were honored by the White House as one of the nation’s top after school programs. Click here for our White House Awards Video.

Awards and Recognition

  • White House Youth Award For Top Nonprofits in the Arts & Humanities
  • Points of Light’s Civic Innovation Award for Top New Nonprofit in Civics
  • Top Speaker at the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues National Championships (2013, 2014)
  • Social Impact Exchange: Top 100 Nonprofits in the Nations
  • PASEsetter Award for After School Eduation
  • 2019 Platinum Seal of Transparency
  • Teach for America Innovation Award Finalist
  • The Catalog for Giving of NYC’s Best of the Best Nonprofit Award
  • New York State Senate Resolution Honouring our Work
  • Listen for Good: Advancing the practice of feedback loops in the social sector
  • City of New York Certificate of Recognition for Promoting Volunteerism