Minnesota Urban Debate League

  • Become an Effective Advocate: Participate in The Minnesota Urban Debate League 

    The Minnesota Urban Debate League is an independent program of Augsburg University. Our mission is to empower students through competitive academic debate to become engaged learners, critical thinkers, and active global citizens who are effective advocates for themselves and their communities. Our program began in 2004 as part of the larger urban debate movement. We began with just a handful of schools. Thanks to the support of dedicated coaches, volunteers, parents, students, donors, and our host institution, we’ve grown to now serve 1,300 students across multiple districts in the Twin Cities Metro.

    We believe that debate is for everyone, and all students can benefit from debate. We take the standard debate format and innovate it to create fun and engaging programs for all students who want to learn how to debate effectively. 

    Our programs include:
    MSHSL Debate: Two-student partnerships from area high schools compete in debates surrounding a topic decided by national committee. In 2024-25, the topic will focus on intellectual property rights and AI. 
    • Middle School Debate: This program is designed for students in 6th-8th grade who want to debate. The topic in 2024-25 will center on Mars Colonization! 
    Spanish Debate League: Designed to engage heritage Spanish speakers, all practices, tournaments, and curriculum are in Spanish. Both middle and high school students are invited to compete. Our topics have ranged from Cuba-US relations to the ethics of consuming animal products! Participants gain confidence, advanced vocabulary, and fluency as Spanish speakers. 
    East African Debate: Led by East African coaches, both middle and high school students discuss issues relevant to the East African Debate population in the Twin Cities. Previous topics have included rent control, foreign investment in East Africa, and BIPOC representation on the police force. 
    Financial Literacy Leadership Debates: Girls and gender expansive youth learn financial literacy fundamentals through an engaging debate format. The current topic is about the gig economy, but we've had a range of topics from student loans to public transportation.
    • Summer Speech and Debate Camp: Our affordable camp provides generous scholarships so students from all income levels can participate.

    In all forms of debate, you'll learn important skills like critical thinking, argumentation, and public speaking. You'll get the chance to explore multiple angles of interesting topics, learn how to effectively research, and develop your own opinions about contemporary issues. It's also a great opportunity to make friends, achieve personal goals, and take pride in representing your school at tournaments! 

    If you want to learn more about whether your school has a team, how to participate, how to volunteer, or anything else about the league, please email mnudl@augsburg.edu. You can also learn more about our programs at the MNUDL website: https://mnudl.augsburg.edu/

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    Program scholarships:
    How do families register?:

    contact mnudl@augsburg.edu for programs at your school or how to participate

Program Coordinator(s)