Four students participate in international competition

By Jessica Lee

Aneri Amin ’12, Justin Ho ’12, Luke Holthouse ’13 and Julius Pak ’12 qualified for the top 32 International Public Policy Forum (IPPF), a global written debate competition sponsored by New York University and the Bickel and Brewer Foundation.

Teams from over 350 schools and 30 countries submitted essays.

Written debates will continue for the first two rounds, which will last until February, and the teams that make it into the top eight will then be flown out to New York with all expenses paid to complete the competition via oral debates. The winning team will receive a $10,000 cash prize.

Last year, Amin, Ho and Pak were on a team that qualified to the top eight and traveled to New York to face teams from countries such as Korea and Singapore.

“I really love that we have the opportunity to meet interesting, smart kids from all over the world,” Amin said. “To spend time with kids who have the same passion for debate that we have is a really meaningful experience.”

A significant feature of the IPPF debates is that debaters answer questions posed by judges while a moderator balances the two sides.

“There was a panel of judges, all the premier of their fields,” Ho said. “It was intimidating to be grilled by them on our points and to have to defend our case position.”

Although they lost the round against a school from Nixa, Mo., Ho said it was a valuable learning experience for the three of them.

This year, Amin, Ho, Holthouse and Pak are debating about the value of human involvement in space exploration this year.

“We had to write the essay in a very short period of time, so it was stressful for the week that we wrote it,” Holthouse said. “But I think we did a good job not only of assigning roles for certain parts of the essay but also of doing our own parts and trusting everyone else to do the same.”

The team’s first written debate is against a Hawaiian school, and if they win, they will face a team either from Florida or the Czech Republic. If they win that round, they will be among the top eight and will travel to New York to enter the oral debates.