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NYC Summer Camp Director –

Executive Director –



Harlem is home to some of history’s greatest debaters, speakers and advocates!  Soapbox or street corner speakers were a feature of everyday life in Harlem including A. Philip Randolph, Richard Moore, Marcus Garvey, Hubert Harrison, Adam Clayton Powell, Al Sharpton, and Malcolm X.  The Harlem Debate Institute (HDI) draws upon this reach history to inspire the next generation of leaders, advocates and citizens of Harlem, New York City, the United States and the world.

The Harlem Debate Institute (HDI) takes advantage of the incredible academic, artistic, and political community of Harlem from top colleges to top libraries to top cultural institutions to offer a summer debate camp for all ages.  Students study with some of the great debaters, great debate coaches, and great debate teachers of today.  And that is just the beginning!  Students continue debate throughout the school year with weekly practices and monthly tournaments in the Harlem Debate League and the New York City Debate League.

We would like to thank our partners – Teachers College, Columbia University and the West Harlem Development Corporation for making the Harlem Summer Debate Institute possible. 

Our Mission

“Standing up there, the faces looking up at me, the things in my head coming out of my mouth, while my brain searched for the next best thing to follow what I was saying, and if I could sway them to my side by handling it right, then I had won the debate–once my feet got wet, I was gone on debating.” – Malcolm X

One of America’s greatest debaters was located right here in Harlem – Malcolm X! Sadly for the past several years there have been no competitive debate teams in Harlem. And so we founded the Harlem Summer Debate Institute to help support any debaters and schools in Harlem start debate teams!

The Harlem Debate Institute (HDI) provides a free summer debate camp for all debaters in the Harlem Debate League. The Debate Camp is staffed by New York’s top middle school and high school debate coaches, teachers, alumni and debaters. Tracks are available for beginners as well as advanced debaters. Skills include public speaking, cross examination, critical thinking, research, argumentative writing, public forum debate, and policy debate. Subjects include the current policy debate resolution, philosophy, political science, critical theory, economics, history, geography, international politics and more. Students will gain a competitive edge for the upcoming debate season.

Summer Debate Tournament and Awards Ceremony

Our Summer Debate Institute ends with a complete Friday Tournament where all participants receive awards and replicates a regular season debate tournament in the Harlem Debate League and the New York City Debate League. There will be a 3 round tournament from 9:00am-1:00pm with an Awards Ceremony. We also recognize students for their incredible work throughout the summer. All debaters with outstanding attendance will receive Certificates of Completion for the Summer Debate Academy. Individual Lab Leaders will also recognize top students in each lab.

Debate Academy Faculty

Aubrey Semple

Aubrey Semple is the Program Director of the New York City Urban Debate League.  Aubrey is also an alumni of the NYCUDL and has been an award winning NYCUDL student debater, coach, volunteer, tabroom director, and Director of our High School Summer Debate Institute.  As Program Director, Aubrey is responsible for all day to day programming, tournaments, outreach, summer camps and everything else to to provide the best debate education opportunities for NYC youth and teachers! Aubrey was the former debate coach at Brooklyn Technical High School and has been coaching for over seven years at various high schools throughout New York City. Aubrey has coached several championship caliber policy debate teams including New York State Debate Coaches Association (NYSDCA) State Champions in Novice (2014) and Junior Varsity (2012) and Co-Champions in Varsity Policy Debate (2013). As a coach, his debaters qualified for elimination rounds in nearly every national circuit tournament including Champions of the New York Invitational at Bronx Science (2013), Quarterfinals at the Harvard Invitational (2013) and qualifying a team to the Tournament of Champions (2014) at the University of Kentucky.  Aubrey received his B.A. from City University of New York in United States History with a concentration in American History and Urban Studies.

Erik Fogel

Mr. Fogel is League Director of the New York City Urban Debate League and coach of the Debate Team at the Bronx School for Law, Government and Justice. His debaters have won top awards at every single debate tournament in the Northeast including Harvard, Yale, Georgetown, NYC, Lexington, New Jersey, Washington and everywhere else!. He coached the first New York City middle teams to win top awards at the National Championships including Quarterfinalists, Semifinalists, and Second Place Top Speaker. Mr. Fogel received his Political Science & History from UC Berkeley, J.D. from UC Hastings College of Law, M.A. in Education from Pace University, and is currently enrolled in Baruch College’s Masters in Public Administration.

College Debate Lab Leaders

Debaters will be split into labs for individual training by the city’s top college debaters.

Varsity High School Debate Fellows

The Debate Academy will also be staffed by the top high school debaters from the top high school debate teams in the city. These debaters have collectively won hundreds of trophies and championships since middle school and even elementary school!

Guest Speakers

The Debate Academy will also feature Guest Speakers including the city’s top debate coaches and topic experts on this year’s debate topic.

Summer Debate Calendar

“I liked debate camp because it helped me use my argumentative nature for something good.” – Emani


Erik Fogel

Erik Fogel