Public Forum

Per Harvard's policy, all in-person students are required to be fully vaccinated.

Public Forum


We provide students of varying levels of experience with the opportunity to explore aspects of Public Forum Debate in a guided setting. From learning basics to advanced strategies, the workshop meets students at their current level and propels them to the next level. Individualized instruction focusing on skill development is provided to each student within a small group laboratory setting (6:1 student to instructor ratio). Students debate an average of 14 rounds (within lab, between labs, and tournament rounds). A workshop practice tournament is held the final two days to provide each student with competition experience.

Session One Tentative Schedule

Level: All Levels

Appropriate for all experience levels. Students are tracked by experience level in small group lab settings.

Summer 2024 Sessions

In-Person: Session One -- June 30-July 12 [As of April 1, session one of PF is now full]
In-Person: Session Two -- July 14-July 26


Resident: $3,999
Commuter: $2,849
Online: $1,499

We recognize PF is one of the most popular forms of debate and we welcome students from across the US and from abroad. Harvard Debate Council believes in the ability of debate to help engage and change the world and is a leader in international debate experiences, providing students from around the world the opportunity to study different forms of debate on the Harvard campus each summer.

Knowledgeable faculty lecture on topic areas relevant to resolutions debated throughout the year as well as on key public forum strategies and techniques.

After the first week, the workshop focuses on preparation for the tournament practicum. Two days are dedicated to intensive practice including interlab stop/start and redo debates as well as debates within lab. The final two days are devoted to the practice tournament. Throughout the practice tournament, the staff continues to find teachable moments – from modeling tournament practices, to encouraging students to refine arguments and techniques, to strategizing with students, helping them to improve their debating in each successive round. All students not competing in elimination rounds of the practice tournament will judge.

About the Program


Experienced and dedicated coaches – working in concert with recent high school and college debate competitors – are committed to individualized student learning and personal improvement, enabling students to achieve their goals for the next year. This happens in a unique and rigorous ivy league atmosphere, inspiring students to achieve.


Workshop Schedule

The online workshop will run from 10AM – 6PM EST.

A detailed daily schedule is available on the Canvas site.

Learning Objectives

  • Topic Analysis: Learn how best to approach and research topics
  • Research Techniques: Research using the most efficient and reliable methods
  • Case Construction: Craft cases ready to win at the national level
  • Debate Strategies: Learn argumentative and rhetorical strategies for winning
  • Debate Tournament Experience: Extensive experience debating with other students in front of faculty

Hear from Students

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


Martin Zacharia

Curriculum Director

Martin Zacharia is the Director of Social Studies at Niles West High School in Skokie, Illinois. He previously was the Head Debate Coach at William Fremd High School in Palatine, Illinois. By his last year as Head Coach, the team consisted of 120 active members competing in Public Forum, Lincoln-Douglas, and Congressional Debate. He is a One-Diamond Award Recipient from the National Speech and Debate Association and State Manager of the IHSA State Debate Championships. Under his leadership, Fremd Debaters won ICTA N/JV State Championships in all six competitive divisions in LD, PF, and Congress. During his last three years as Head Coach, Fremd consistently earned the greatest number of State medalists of any school in Illinois, including multiple top speakers and State Runners-up. In 2017, Martin was elected the Illinois Communication and Theatre Association Head Coach of the Year.

Jennifer Schraeder


School Affiliation: Battle Ground Academy (TN)

Title: Director of Speech & Debate Number of Years at School: 2 years (2021-present)

High School/College Debate Experience: Policy debater at Groves High School (MI) and Wayne State University (MI)

Coaching Experience: 2 years policy at Wayne State University, 2 years parli in South Korea, 2 years public forum in China, 7 years all events at Archbishop McCarthy

Years Previously Taught at other workshops: 10 summers teaching at HDCSW (public forum, parli, public speaking and argument), 2 summers teaching at JDI (policy)

Deven Cooper


Deven Cooper is the Director of Debate at CSU Long Beach, where he coaches multiple formats of intercollegiate debate, including Policy, Parliamentary, and IPDA. Hailing from Baltimore, Maryland, he debated in the Baltimore Urban Debate League in high school. Cooper was the Cross-Examination Debate Association National Champion in 2008, a finalist at the 2009 Cross-Examination Debate Association National Championship, and a quarter-finalist at the 2009 National Debate Tournament while he attended college at Towson University. At Long Beach, He has qualified several teams to the NDT, including a first-round bid at big team in 2023. Prior to arriving at CSU Long Beach, Cooper became the Director of Debate at Fresno State University, where he coached the first all-black female Policy Debate team in the school’s history to reach the Sweet 16 of the National Debate Tournament.

Rebecca Bosslet


School Affiliation: Enreach Education

Title: Debate and Public Speaking Coach

Number of Years at School: 1

High School/College Debate Experience: Participated in Public Forum in high school

Coaching Experience: 1 year as a coach at Enreach Education in Shanghai.

Bio: IHSA Varsity State Quarterfinalist in 2010, I’ve judged IHSA state for three years and also judged at other NSDA and Illinois local tournaments. I also have volunteered with William Fremd High School’s debate team (Palatine, IL)

Matt Stannard

Currently coaching and teaching for Harbinger Academy, former director at University of Wyoming. Coach of NDT and CEDA elimination round teams, parliamentary debate champions, public forum and LD tournament winners and state champions and successful Chinese public forum teams. Lecturer, lab leader and director at dozens of summer debate institutes.

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.

Ronald W Poole Jr.

In high school, Ronald (RW) participated in every format of debate, earning 3 state titles and 2 national titles in Congressional debate, Public Forum, and Lincoln Douglass. In his first year on the Barkley Forum Policy Debate Team at Emory University, RW received 3 top-speaker awards and made it to the break-out rounds of 4 major tournaments in the varsity division. While he stopped debating competitively after his first year of college, RW has worked as a private debate coach for national circuit policy debate programs in Houston, Dallas, and Atlanta, and as a programming intern and instructor for the Atlanta Urban Debate League. RW graduated from Emory this past May (with Latin honors), and will be returning to the Barkley Forum in the fall as a Fellow on the professional staff.

Paul Jared Wexler

Born and raised in southern California and higher educated in the Midwest, Mr. Wexler is the long-time coach of Needham High School outside Boston, having previously founded the Boston Latin School debate team and worked with other programs. He has coached students to late elimination rounds at NSDAs, NCFLS, and TOCs, including quarterfinals in Public Forum, semifinals in Worlds School Debate (WSDC) , and national runner-ups in Lincoln-Douglas, Congressional Debate, and Original Oratory. Another student was national champion in extemporaneous speaking. Several other debaters have earned high achieving accolades at nationals and major invitationals. At the same time, Mr. Wexler believes that debate is too important to “leave only to the best”, and that it offers a unique home for all students to “love their words and speak their truth” no matter their competitive goals. His speech and debate philosophy is that "if one is learning and having fun, the winning will take care of itself. : Alums have entered professions from animation to zoology. A four diamond NSDA coach and member of the Massachusetts Speech and Debate League Hall of Fame, Mr. Wexler also enjoys a mean game of bocce and entering the occasional story slam competition, with success in both requiring the mindset one often develops in debate.

Donald H. Broussard Jr.

Donald H. Broussard, Jr. is the Educational Consultant for The Bailey Group out of Ridgeland, MS and Debate Consultant for his own company, Urban Education & Debate Connections, LLC. Donald competed in Speech and Debate from 1994-1998 where he competed in LD Debate, Policy Debate, Extemporaneous Speaking, Original Oratory, Declamation, Student Congress & Oral Interpretation and won several District and State Championships throughout his time competing. He started several Speech and Debate programs in Middle School, High School and College from Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama. Donald coached several District and State Champions as well as coached National Qualifiers for NCFL and NSDA since 2001. The passion Donald has for Speech and Debate is great and owe so much to this mental sport and is honored to share my experiences and knowledge to the future minds and leaders of this country.

Daniel Garrison

Garrison is a returning staff member (9yrs) and is excited to once again be at HDCSW. During his time in HS, he was a public forum debater for 3yrs at Holy Cross School in New Orleans, 2 time chairmen of the school's debate society, and a member of the inaugural USA Debate Team in 2014. A graduate of Loyola University New Orleans and HTH Graduate School of Education, Garrison is currently is a 2nd year social studies teacher which has further expanded his passion of discussing the world thru politics, history, and philosophy.

Michael Swidecki

4 time NSDA qualifier in policy debate. Wyoming State Policy Champion for 2020. 2 years experience in College Policy. 2 years experience coaching all debate events (PF, CX, LD) for Team Wyoming, a coaching program that serves high schools across the state of Wyoming.

Adithya Vaidyanathan

Adithya debated PF for four years at William Fremd High School in the suburbs of Chicago, IL. In his first year on the national circuit, he reached the semifinals at Stanford, Mid America Cup, and several top 10 speaker finishes. Additionally, he received bids from prestigious tournaments like the Glenbrooks. He concluded the year by breaking to the octafinals at gold TOC, becoming the first Illinois team in history to accomplish the feat. On the local circuit, Adithya is a two-time Illinois state champion and two-time captain of the Illinois all-state team. Over four years, Adithya accrued 16 first-place speaker awards, and 18 first-place finishes, only ever losing three rounds. He subsequently set the school record for wins, win percentage, and speaker points. In 2022, Adithya became the first debater in Illinois history to have two perfect seasons. After debating, Adithya coached for his high school, leading three novice teams and the JV teams to sweep their respective podiums at state. Additionally, Adithya volunteered his summers to coach debate at local camps. Adithya loves to teach how to effectively crossfire, organize summary/final focus, and adapt to flay judges. In his free time, Adithya plays baseball, practices karate, and trains to be a pilot.

Sophia Robertson

Sophia Robertson

Sophia Robertson is an incoming Harvard student with four years of competitive PF debate experience on the Cambridge Rindge and Latin team, as co-captain her junior and senior years. In her time on the circuit, she has earned several bids to the Tournament of Champions, including semifinals at the Harvard debate tournament and elimination rounds at Yale, Penn, Princeton, and Lexington Invitational tournaments. She also reached the finals of the Massachusetts state championship and placed as top speaker in the state. In 2022, she created the Cambridge Pre-Debate Summer Program, a one-week program for local middle schoolers to engage with debate and build the pipeline for the high school team. As a debater and a coach, she’s interested in partner dynamics to adapt for lay and tech debate, and loves to coach effective lay appeal and theories of communication.

Virginia Liang

Virginia Liang has four years of competitive PF debate experience on the Glen Rock High School debate team in Glen Rock, New Jersey, and co-captained the debate team her senior year. During Virginia’s time on the national debate circuit, she has championed the Bergen County Invitational Tournament, earned semi-finals in the North American Debate Circuit (NADC) Opal Cup, and advanced in many other major varsity tournaments. In May 2023, she founded a four-week Introductory Debate Program for local middle schoolers to spark interest in PF debate. At camp, Virginia looks forward to teaching how to give analytical rebuttals and organizing responses to gain key offense in the round.

Emma Johnston

Emma is from Glen Rock, NJ and will be attending Tufts University this fall. She has competed for four years on Glen Rock High School’s Public Forum Team. During her debate career she championed the Bergen County Invitational tournament, finaled the North American Debate Circuit (NADC) Garnet cup, and semi-finaled at the NADC Opal Cup as well as excelling at many other Varsity National Tournaments. She is currently co-captain and a coach for her high school’s public forum team and has many years of teaching and coaching experience. She is passionate about creating an interactive and engaging experience for her debaters. She loves coaching how to weigh effectively and how to dominate in crossfire. Aside from debate, Emma enjoys baking, thrifting, and working out.