• International Debate Education Association International Debate Education Association


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Mission Statement

Focusing on young people and their communities, the mission of the International Debate Education Association is to promote mutual understanding and democracy globally by supporting discussion and active citizenship locally.

The International Debate Education Association (IDEA) believes that free and open discussion is essential to the establishment and preservation of open, democratic societies.

Through debate - a powerful means of encouraging critical thinking, personal expression and tolerance for the opinions of others, IDEA provides students and teachers the opportunity to examine issues affecting their lives and their communities. To this end, IDEA creates broad and inclusive debate clubs that encourage participation by all segments of the population, including ethnic minorities, and establishes independent, national debate associations to promote, organize, and sustain debate activities in countries throughout the world.


The International Debate Education Association (IDEA) develops, organizes and promotes debate and debate-related activities in communities throughout the world. Established in 1999 to coordinate pilot debate programs initiated by The Open Society Institute, IDEA acts as an independent membership organization of national debate clubs, associations, programs, and individuals who share a common purpose: to promote mutual understanding and democracy globally by supporting discussion and active citizenship locally.

Fostering the Next Generation of Civic Leadership Throughout the World
Although it maintains an international presence, IDEA places particular emphasis on those societies where democracy is in its infancy and where negotiated resolution to conflicts and cross-community dialogue are little-established concepts. By offering young people the opportunity to debate the important issues facing them, IDEA strives to cultivate and nurture an engaged, democratic citizenry, underscoring the notions of tolerance, international cooperation, and freedom of expression.

A Global Reach with a Local Focus
IDEA promotes its programs and its mission via a wide range of educational and strategic initiatives, from curriculum development and active citizenship training to international student exchanges and an annual, much-celebrated international youth forum. IDEA is registered in the Netherlands and the United States; its debates take place in over 60 languages in over 50 countries throughout the world.

We invite you to explore the IDEA website and learn more about our goals, programs, iniatives, and free educational tools.



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