The Zuckerman Forum is a new initiative at NYU aimed at encouraging academic and intellectual discourse throughout the University. The competition takes place at the undergraduate level, but through its course will provide a true Forum for critical argument between undergraduates, graduate students, and distinguished faculty.

The Zuckerman Forum offers an excellent chance for students to develop their public speaking skills with a great incentive. All undergraduate students are urged to participate regardless of prior debate or public speaking experience. Multiple resources will be offered to students interested in competing, including partner placement, public speaking training sessions, research sessions about the debate topic, and useful research links on The Zuckerman Forum's web site. Additionally, NYU faculty are invited to work with students inpreparing for the competition.

The Zuckerman Forum also offers generous awards for the eight highest-scoring debate teams:

Champions (2): $15,000 each
Finalists (2): $12,500 each
Semifinalists (4): $10,000 each
Quarterfinalists (8): $5,000 each

There is no limit on the number of entries, and students can participate in the competition for up to five years.

Who is interested in The Zuckerman Forum?

  • students looking for a challenge
  • students interested in proving their skills
  • students who want to learn to speak in public effectively
  • anyone who wants to learn to speak persuasively
  • anyone with a background in public speaking
  • students with career interests that require communication
  • students with career interests that require critical thinking
  • You!

Two-person undergraduate teams will debate both sides of the designated resolution. Each team will affirm the resolution twice, supporting that the US should take the proposed action, and each team will also negate the resolution twice, arguing why such action should not be taken. There will be four rounds of competition for everyone in the preliminary tournament - two affirmative (pro), two negative (con).

In every round each student will give a five-minute speech, a three-minute rebuttal, and participate in a cross examination, once as the questioner, and once as the respondent.

The affirmative, having a slightly higher burden of proof, will begin and end the debate. This means that the negative will have the opportunity to speak twice in a row in the middle of the debate to give depth and detail to their arguments. Speakers will be referred to by the order in which they speak, e.g., the 1st Affirmative Speaker gives the 1st Affirmative Speech and the 1st Affirmative Rebuttal.

The format will follow:

1st Affirmative Speech - 5 minutes
Cross Examination of 1st Affirmative by Negative - 2 minutes
1st Negative Speech - 5 minutes
Cross Examination of 1st Negative by Affirmative - 2 minutes
2nd Affirmative Speech - 5 minutes
Cross Examination of 2nd Affirmative by Negative - 2 minutes
2nd Negative Speech - 5 minutes
Cross Examination of 2nd Negative by Affirmative - 2 minutes

1st Negative Rebuttal - 3 minutes
1st Affirmative Rebuttal - 3 minutes
2nd Negative Rebuttal - 3 minutes
2nd Affirmative Rebuttal - 3 minutes

Each team will receive 5 minutes of preparation time, which it can divide before its speeches as it wishes.

Total time: 50 minutes

Please browse this website for more information.

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