by Rishi Tekchandani

I recently participated, along with two of my friends as a team, in an international essay debate competition, the organization is called the International Public Policy Forum (IPPF). At first, we had to write a qualifying essay of 2800 words or fewer lesser, on the topic: “When in conflict, a nation’s self-interest should outweigh its international commitment to migrants”. We had to write either for the topic, or against. We chose to write against the topic for our qualifying essay. Out of almost 200 teams, we were one of the top 64 teams that got selected into the top 64 team bracket. Out of about 4 teams that participated from Ascend, we were the only team to get selected. 

During this round, each team has to write the opposite of the topic they chose. Since we chose to write against the topic for our qualifying essay, we had to write for the topic, in other words, as the affirmatives. We had two weeks of time, to write another essay of 2800 words or fewer, about this topic. My team and I worked were really burning the midnight oil and worked very hard on this essay. On 5th December, we get the negatives’ essay (our opponents: a senior high school in Pennsylvania). And we have the chance to write a rebuttal essay of 1700 words or lesser. We’re still waiting on their essay. But after writing we write our rebuttal essay, the negatives get to write a rebuttal too. And finally, on 3rd January, we will find out whether or not we made it to the top 32  teams. 

This bracket continues till they have their elite 8 teams, and they have the chance to fly to New York to debate with the rest of the teams in person. There are different prizes for each level of the bracket. Each team that qualified into the top 64, achieves medals for each of their team members, the same prize is given for the top 32 teams too. The top 16 teams receive a cash prize of $400. The top 8 receive a cash prize of $750 and the final four receive $1500. The runner-ups of the competition receive $3500.and the winners receive $10,000 along with the IPPF Cup.

 Honestly, I think this essay debate competition has been such a great experience and I just love writing essays for this competition, I always feel so motivated because of the different awards and prizes and the unique topic of this competition. I’d strongly encourage everybody in grade 9 or above, to participate in this competition next year onwards, I know I always will! Well, this isn’t the end… I’ll see you all in the next edition of The Ascent News, to give you all a juicy update. 

Rishi is a hardworking student, who is very passionate about . the newspaper club. He strives everyday for student's voices to be heard. He is . in the student council and hopes to read more this year