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Lincoln-Douglas Debate

Learn Foundational Skills in Style, Content, and Strategy in Lincoln Douglas Debate

This workshop will prepare students to compete in Lincoln-Douglas debate.

Level: All Levels

The workshop is designed for students with experience in Lincoln-Douglas debate.

Summer 2024 Sessions

In-Person: Session Two -- July 14 - July 26


Resident: $3,999
Commuter: $2,849

More Information Coming Soon!

About the Program


Our workshop was created to provide the best possible educational experience for all levels of students. We ask you to consider some important qualities that distinguish the Harvard Debate Council Lincoln Douglas Debate Camp from others. Our Lincoln Douglas staff this year is unlike any other in terms of experience, diversity of teaching styles, argument preferences, and other core identifiers of diversity. Members of our staff have coached championships (and/or won themselves) at all levels of forensic competition including the National Debate Tournament, the Cross Examination Debate Association, the National Speech and Debate Association Championships, the Tournament of Champions, the National Debate Coaches Association Championships, and virtually every major invitational in the United States.


The Harvard Debate Council Lincoln Douglas program seeks to balance a true understanding of complex concepts while making sure students have the practical tools needed to enjoy competitive success during the debate season. Our approach is battle-tested through many years of working with some of the most successful Lincoln Douglas debaters in the country.

We believe the best way to achieve our goal for our students is to tailor our instruction to meet the needs of our Lincoln Douglas students. We do not believe “one type of instruction fits all.” We place incredible career educators alongside the best young Lincoln Douglas debate alumni to combine the best debate trends with serious educational thought. There are many great debaters. There are far fewer great teachers of debate. We believe that students, parents, and coaches should collectively weigh all of the available information to assess which summer experience would best benefit each student, and work hard to implement this for students attending our Lincoln Douglas Debate Camp.

Learning Objectives

The Lincoln Douglas curriculum of any institute is crucial to what a student is likely to gain. In this regard, one should consider whether a debate institute offers a curriculum that addresses the diversity of conditions students are likely to confront in their debate careers. One should also consider whether the student would be taught an educationally sound set of practices or a series of tricks that happened to work at a single tournament or in front of a small number of judges.

Our senior staff members have taught at dozens of workshops around the country. The core of the staff is composed of professional educators, some with Master’s degrees in education, who are also competitive coaches in the debate game.  

Our approach to Lincoln Douglas debate is pedagogically sound and time-tested in terms of competitive success. Students will have guaranteed access to all Lincoln Douglas Debate staff members. At many institutes, a student’s exposure to staff is limited to lab leaders and large group lectures. We want all students to have one-on-one attention with the instructor of their choice at some point during their stay.

The curriculum is designed to give students a common knowledge base in Lincoln Douglas debate, yet avoids hours and hours of lectures on issues that have become tangential to contemporary Lincoln Douglas debate. Each year we have modified our program at previous workshops based on feedback from coaches and students.


Components of our Lincoln Douglas Debate Camp curriculum include the following:

  • Our pedagogy emphasizes small lab groups. Students will be given enrichment exercises to accelerate their growth.
  • The Lincoln Douglas Debate literature base many students are using is changing. While we teach about Rawls, Nozick, Kant, and JS Mill we will also teach you about Wilderson, Hartman, Hooks, and Charles Mills.
  • We focus on teaching students ethically sound best practices for Lincoln Douglas Debate in dealing with the arguments that seem to pervade many circuits.
  • We offer a balance of large group lectures and electives to allow students to focus on things they wish to learn/work on.
  • More actual debating (after sufficient time to prepare and modify cases) to allow students the opportunity to address weaknesses and emphasize areas of strength.
  • Electives -Our workshop offers a vast array of electives beginning the first week of the workshop. At Harvard Debate Council workshops, we attempt to offer electives that cater to all skill levels. Most importantly, students have to opportunity to choose electives during each elective cycle.

The Harvard Debate Council workshops will also focus on how to research, a skill that many camps seem to have put on the back burner. Attention will also be placed on effective case writing, effective speaking techniques, strategic decisions, and general tips to help students achieve whatever goals they have set for themselves in Lincoln Douglas Debate.

Sample Schedule

The following is a sample schedule for the Lincoln-Douglas Debate Program. Schedules will vary by division and day. This schedule is provided to give you an idea of what a typical day looks like at Harvard Debate Council Summer Workshops.

8:00 am – 9:00 am – Breakfast

9:00 am-10:15 am — Electives


Intro to the K

Politics DA I: What Is It?

Debating Someone Older [or better] than you….and winning!

Queer Theory I: Judith Butler


Advanced CX

10:15am-11:30am — Lab Session

11:30 am-1:00 pm — Lunch

1:00 pm-1:45 pm — Advisory Groups

2:00 pm-3:45 pm — Lab Session

4:00 pm-5:00 pm — Electives

Topicality I: Introduction

Extensions & Weighing

Politics DA II: Midterms

Critical Pedagogy

Performance Debate In an Hour

5:00-6:30 pm — Dinner

6:30 pm-8:00 pm — Evening Activities/Office Hours

What Students and Parents Say

I am writing to thoroughly thank you and everyone else involved with the camp. … I questioned how much I could learn without being able to see my classmates, or my instructors. However, I was so wrong. …[T]his has been my best and favorite camp experience ever, even better than the camps I have attended in person. I genuinely learnt so much. Not just about Public Forum, but just how to be more confident, and how to work better with others…I really just wanted to put out my appreciation for how this camp was run. It was so organized, and I was shocked at how much I was able to learn in such a short amount of time. …I feel like I grew so much as a debater, …The staff at camp were incredible. All of the instructors were so helpful and willing to give feedback. ...Furthermore, I really enjoyed how the sessions were on a broad variety of prevalent topics and themes that are especially important today. …[I]t's the life skills that I learnt at camp that I will carry with me for a lifetime. …Thank you. Truly, thank you so much. And thank you to all the other organizers at camp, for making every day so educational, yet also incredible fun. Thank you for all of the amazing memories I now have, and the friends that will last a lifetime!
Public Forum Debater
As the summer winds down, I wanted to send a quick note of thanks for the July debate workshop -- it was definitely a highlight of a bizarre three months. The program not only motivated me to prep for the school year, but it challenged me to take on a large project during an unprecedented time. I had fun participating in the tournament and I grew more than ever as a debater and thinker. The teachers were all extremely helpful and just amazing people.
Public Forum Debater
[My son] really enjoyed the camp the last 2 weeks! Thank you so much for all of the time, planning, and effort that went into making it possible. He truly got a lot out of it.
Mother of Public Forum Debater
My daughter just finished a two-week debate camp with you. She had a great experience. Loved the lectures and teachers; really got a lot from it. … [T]hanks again for organizing such a great virtual program.
Mother of Public Forum Debater
Aaron Timmons

Aaron Timmons
Curriculum Director

Aaron W. Timmons is an internationally acclaimed educator, debate coach, and program director. Aaron’s success as a debate coach/trainer is historic and unparalleled. He is the former Co-Head Coach of the USA Debate team that WON the World Schools Debating Championships in Hanoi, Vietnam in 2023. During his thirty-year tenure as Director of Debate at Greenhill School in Addison, Texas, he has worked to build one of the most successful speech and debate teams in the United States and is one of only two coaches in the history of the United States whose students have won the NSDA National Championships in three separate debating categories (in addition to numerous finalists.   He is recognized as a Hall of Fame member by the National Speech and Debate Association, the Tournament of Champions, and the Texas Forensic Association. Mr. Timmons also serves as an assistant debate coach for Harvard College. 

In the realm of Lincoln Douglas Debate Mr. Timmons has coached students to win the multiple championships of the National Speech and Debate Association, the Tournament of Champions, the National Debate Coaches Association Championship, as well as the Texas Forensic Association. Mr. Timmons students has also won the Dukes and Bailey award for the most outstanding student of that competitive school year in 2013, 2016 and 2019.

Mr. Timmons has taught at schools, workshops, and summer programs across the world for decades across all ranges of skill levels. Thanks to the high demand for Aaron’s public speaking expertise, he has conducted debate and public speaking training in the United Arab Emirates, Slovenia, Mexico, and Qatar. As a co-coach of the USA National Debate Team, he has led students to international success in competition venues including Canada, Croatia, Germany, Indonesia, Mexico, Singapore, Slovenia, Taiwan, Vietnam, and Thailand. Aaron’s experiences with both international students and audiences allow him to teach communications with a particular eye to cultural differences and multiple worldview  

Elijah Smith

Elijah Smith

Eli Smith has 17 years of experience as a competitor and coach in debate. He has coached champions of the TOC and NDCA, a TOC top speaker, and multiple other top speakers and elim participants in LD debate. Eli has an extensive record of coaching First-Round teams in college policy debate and had teams place in the late elims of both CEDA and the NDT. His favorite part of debate is CX and he believes more students would benefit from focusing on mastering this speech. He believes that well-rounded students perform the best each year and is happy to work with students on almost any argument. Eli's favorite debate strategies involve the use of Kritiks, counterplans, and smart case presses.

Colton Gilbert

Colton Gilbert

Colton is a Debate Coach and Teacher at Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas. He has been involved in competitive speech and debate since 2004. In. undergrad, Colton focused on Communication Studies with a minor in mathematics. In grad school, Colton received a Master’s in Communication Studies from Arkansas State University and a Master’s in Secondary Education from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Since 2014, Colton has been Arkansas’s delegate at NFHS Policy Debate Topic Selection where he served as chair of the Wording Committee in Summer of ’22. As a coach, Colton has coached debaters (both policy and LD) to out rounds at national tournaments and regularly qualifies students to the Tournament of Champions and NSDA. He has coached teams with varying argument styles from policy-oriented approaches to kritikal approaches; and everything in between. Colton prides himself on argument development and research practices. In his spare time, he enjoys video games on his Xbox and spending time with his beloved niece. Colton’s areas of emphasis include research tactics, race-centric arguments, kritikal debate as well as IR-based arguments.

Geo Liriano

Geordano debated from 2008 to 2014 for the New York Urban Debate League (Bronx Law) where he was named 2012 NY Junior Varsity State Champion, 2013 Tournament of Champion Double Octo finalist, 2014 NY Varsity Policy Debate State Champion and 2014 Nation Debate Coaches Association Quarter finalist. Geo debated for the A. Craig Baird Debate Forum at the University of Iowa from 2014 -2019. He and his partner were the only freshman-freshman team to clear at the 69th National Debate Tournament in 2015. In 2016 he was named champion of the Mukai invitational at Weber State University and Round Robin. Winner of the 2017 UMKC National Season Opener. In 2018 Geo was part of only a handful of Cross Examination Debate Association final round closeouts being named champion of the CEDA national championship. Geo was named the 2019 Brian Johnston Outstanding Debater of the Year and All American (2018-2019). Geo graduated with a dual degree in Political Science and Communication Studies with a minor in Latinx studies concentrating in Caribbean history. Geo is now completing a law degree and coaching varsity college debate at CSU Long Beach.

Harry Yu

Harry Yu has been coaching Speech and Debate for nearly a decade and have been working at the HDCSW for the past 5 summers. As a competitor in High School, Harry focused on LD and Extemp., but transitioned to Policy Debate in college at Trinity University. Following in the footsteps of his coach, Harry became a Speech and Debate coach striving to provide opportunities that were given to him. As a coach, Harry has coached multiple finalists at the local, state and national levels in multiple events, including the NSDA National champion in Congressional Debate twice. Currently he is coaching at Memorial High School in Houston, TX with a focus on LD, PF and Policy debate. This year, he his team obtained 7 TOC bids in LD and Congress. Harry likes being ironic and collecting comic books. He hopes to pay it forward by inspiring someone to be a debate coach one day.

Elijah Onik

Elijah Onik debated at Glen Rock High School for three years, and debated as an independent entry for Glen Rock BergenTech his senior year. In that time he amassed 6 bids to the Tournament of Champions and was ranked as high as 6th in the nation. Notable results include championing the Peninsula Invitational, Semifinals at TOC Digital Speech and Debate Series 1, and quarterfinals at James Logan and The UK Season Opener. As a coach, Elijah founded the GRHS Public Forum team, coaching students from beginners in novice to breaking at national tournaments.

Alex Lee

Alex Lee

Alex is a prospective Harvard student, one of the captains of and a returning member of Team USA, as well as a two-time NSDA national champion with the West Los Angeles Violets. Having competed in World Schools for three years, he championed the Vietnam World Schools Debating Championships as the alternate, the Harvard World Schools Invitational, Greenhill, UC Berkeley, Harvard-Westlake, Malaysia, Jack Howe, and Rato Bangala. He has reached late elimination rounds and earned top speaker awards at Pacific Schools, Hong Kong Invitational, Oldham Cup, Doxbridge, NDCA, Tufts, Damus, and UPenn. You can usually find him struggling through computer science assignments, playing with his archetypal Asian dog, or learning the newest Laufey song on the guitar. Whatever he’s up to, though, Alex cannot wait to meet everyone at Harvard Debate Council’s Summer Workshops!

Chelsea Hu

Chelsea Hu

Chelsea Hu is currently serving as a co-captain of the USA National Debate Team. She was also honored to represent the United States at the 2023 World Schools Debating Championships, where she and her teammates brought home the World Champion title for the first time in 29 years! There, she also placed 11th as an individual speaker. With Team USA, Chelsea has championed and top-spoke the highly prestigious Harvard World Schools Debating Invitational twice. She has also won or reached elimination rounds at over 25 international or national tournaments, including two installations of the Doxbridge tournament. Outside of debate, Chelsea is passionate about critical writing. She was one of six high-school students solicited for an internship with The Harvard Crimson. Her works have also gained commendation at multiple writing competitions, including the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and the John Locke Essay Competition. Beyond that, Chelsea is also interested in studying economics, chemistry, and French, achieving national awards in all three activities. She is incredibly excited for a summer of debate and fun!

Christopher Vincent

Christopher Vincent is the Director of Speech & Debate at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans, LA and has been involved in competitive speech & debate for almost 20 years. He has coached at both the high school and collegiate level where his students have won multiple state championships and reached notable success at almost every major national tournament, including the NSDA National Tournament and the Tournament of Champions. In 2021 he was awarded the Louisiana High School Speech League State Coach of the Year, currently serves on the Louisiana District Committee of the NSDA and is on the Executive Council for the LHSSL. He has taught and directed at several summer workshops including Indiana University, University of North Texas, and the Institute for Speech & Debate.

Michael Bole

Michael Bole is excited to be joining the Harvard Debate Council this Summer. Formerly the Director of World Schools Debate at the Global Debate Symposium, he helped grow the largest World Schools Debate program in the country. He brings over five years of experience in designing and operating unforgettable debate programs. Michael is a proud alum of the USA Debate team. He was the first student from Florida to be selected for the National Team. As a debater, he won the Florida State Championship, made finals at multiple international tournaments, and placed third at the US National Tournament. In 2019, he was recognized by the National Speech and Debate Association as a finalist for the National Student of the Year award. A graduate of both Emory University and Dreyfoos School of the Arts, Michael now works in Deloitte’s Clients & Markets team to support the firm's operations and business generation.

Nicholas Aranda

Nicholas Aranda is currently an instructor and debate coach at Colorado Academy in Denver, where he teaches Honors courses on US history, military history, security studies, and foreign policy. He has extensive experience as a debate coach, including his role as a member of the Greenhill coaching staff, coaching the 2022 Texas State Champions in World Schools Debate, 2022 NDCA WSD National Champions, and the 2023 NSDA national semi-finalists. In 2021, Aranda was recognized with the Volunteer of the Year award by the Denver Urban Debate League. Similarly, Aranda has been a presenter and official at numerous debate conferences and has also taught at debate initiatives around the world, including workshops and seminars at An-Najah National Palestinian University, the Stanford National Forensics Institute, Baylor University, & the Global Debate Symposium. Aranda holds dual undergraduate degrees in Philosophy and Peace Studies from Regis University and an MA from the A.Q. Miller School of Media, Communication, & Journalism at Kansas State University. Aranda has written works and presented at National and International academic conferences on topics related to Argumentation and Debate, Race, Gender, Conflict, Political Philosophy, & Affect Theory.

Ollie Braden

Ollie Braden is a freshman at Princeton University with a prospective major in philosophy and minor in computer science. They were a member of Team USA in the 2022 academic year, and were incredibly honored to be part of the team that championed WSDC Vietnam in 2023. They are now a member of the Princeton Debate Panel, competing primarily in BP, which has been a lot of fun. They’re very excited to help out this year!

Sophia Li

Sophia is a returning member of USA Debate and co-captain of the team. With the USA Debate Team, she placed 3rd at the Pacific Schools Open Tournament, championed the Greenhill Fall Classic, and placed 5th at Hong Kong WSDC International. As captain of her school’s World Schools team, she placed third at TFA State, reached octafinals twice at NSDA Nationals, finaled UT Austin’s Longhorn Classic, championed tournaments including the Coppell Classic, Plano West tournament, and the Grapevine Classic, and reached elimination rounds in the Stanford Invitational and NDCA, among many others. Sophia is currently ranked second in the nation for World Schools Debate. Outside of debate, Sophia is an avid writer with a strong focus on U.S.-China politics. Her articles have been featured in six international publications, totaling 25 published pieces across over 12 nations and garnering over 50,000 views. She is also the youngest staff writer for a startup journalism publication and Executive Editor of her school's print publication. Sophia's passion for writing about U.S.-China politics earned her the National Gold Medal and three National Gold Keys in the Scholastics Art and Writing Awards, America’s longest running and most prestigious scholarship program for young writers, and an invitation to the Carnegie Hall National Award Ceremony. On top of conducting public policy research for UC Irvine, she has spent over 300 hours volunteering, either with an English class she founded for students in China or in the debate camp she founded at Wesley Rankin Community Center. In her free time, Sophia finds joy in making sushi and hanging out with friends. She is excited to be joining Harvard's World Schools Workshop this year!

Courtney Coffman

Courtney Coffman

Courtney is the Director of Debate at Northland Christian School in Houston, TX and serves as one of the coaches for Team Texas. Over her twelve years as head coach, her students have qualified to TFA State, the TOC, and NSDA Nationals in a variety of events. She coached the 2017 TFA State Champion in Foreign Extemporaneous Speaking, the 2018 National Champions in World Schools Debate, and the 2020 TFA State Champions in World Schools Debate. Courtney has spent over fifteen years teaching at summer institutes, and she is very excited to be joining the Harvard Debate Council Summer Workshops this summer; she brings experience from the Global Debate Symposium, Mean Green Workshops, and several winter institutes. When she was a student, Courtney debated for three years on the local and national circuits for Northland Christian School. She values both traditional and national circuit debate and looks forward to working with students over the summer!