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Lambert High School debate team in world contest finals
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Forsyth County News

SOUTH FORSYTH — A local high school team will compete for a world championship Saturday, but the sport will be to exercise their minds and win through words.

Lambert’s debate team made it to the final round of the 14th annual International Public Policy Forum, which is set for 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Harold Pratt House in New York City. Members will discuss whether mass surveillance is a justified method of governmental intelligence gathering.

Eight high schools from around the country — including Alabama, New Jersey, Minnesota, Texas Utah and Washington — will compete for a $10,000 grand prize. They emerged from a field of 243 teams and more than 1,000 students from around the world.

Those teams represented 32 U.S. states and 21 countries, all of which in October submitted qualifying round essays on the topic, “Resolved: mass surveillance is not a justified method of governmental intelligence gathering.”

Judges selected the top 64 teams, who then participated in a single-elimination, written debate contest, volleying essays back and forth through email.

From October to March, the field narrowed from 64 to 32, then 16 and finally to the remaining eight.

On Saturday, a semifinal and final round will be broadcast at, where viewers can cast their votes for the winning school.

Founded in 2001, the IPPF is the only international competition that gives high school students the opportunity to engage in written and oral debates on public policy issues for free.

The program is available to all high schools around the world, both public and private.

The final debate will be judged by a panel that includes event sponsor and IPPF founder Bickel & Brewer Foundation’s partner, William A. Brewer III, New York University President John Sexton, ACLU Attorney Alex Abdo and Melissa Maxcy Wade, Emory University’s executive director of forensics.