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FORMAT #3: Debate


A debate is a productive way to weigh opposing views on an issue and to assess the logical arguments supporting each view. Two sides to an issue are presented – one side argues in favour of a proposition, and one side argues against. Each side can be represented by one person, or alternatively, a team The highest quality debates usually result from comparing two extreme positions.  Debates can take several formats. One popular format is the Oxford-style debate: Debates usually have strict rules and timing and are judged by one or two moderators. Audience participation and/or scoring of the debate should be built into the session agenda and the debate teams must work together before the session to prepare their arguments.


· 90 mins; or
· 60 mins

Optimal Layout:

· Two podiums; with a table next to each podiums for the debater(s) to sit;
· Rows of chairs for the audience;
· Roaming microphones to capture questions/comments from the audience (depending on the debate format         used);
· If speakers are participating remotely, the use of video/audio conferencing;
· Printouts and/or a shared online space for collaborative drafting/notetaking;
· Online participation station.

Note on Diversity Criteria: Debates naturally require two speakers, or speaker teams, with opposing views. The debaters and judge panel (if applicable) should reflect diversity. 

Example: WS 196 On cybersecurity, who has got our back?: A debate [Description; Video, Transcript & Report]



Contact Information

United Nations
Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

Villa Le Bocage
Palais des Nations,
CH-1211 Geneva 10

igf [at] un [dot] org
+41 (0) 229 173 411