June: World Refugee Day (June 20th)

The United Nations recognizes June 20th as World Refugee Day. According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR): "We are now witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record. An unprecedented 70.8 million people around the world have been forced from home. Among them are nearly 25.9 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18. There are also millions of stateless people who have been denied a nationality and access to basic rights such as education, healthcare, employment and freedom of movement. We live in a world where nearly 1 person is forcibly displaced every two seconds as a result of conflict or persecution."

However, nations are torn on how to address refugees.  America which historically has welcomed refugees with the words of the Statute of Liberty welcoming refugees, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..." is no longer welcoming to refugees and literally building hundreds of miles of walls. Europe and other nations are also closing down borders, stating that they are overwhelmed.

And so this month we address the topic of Refugees as a policymaker. What would you do about the Refugee crisis.

Topic Choice #1: What does it mean to be an immigrant? What does it mean to be a refugee? 

Topic Choice #2: On balance, is immigration beneficial or harmful? 

 

Topic Choice #3: How should the world address the Refugee crisis?

“To be called a refugee is the opposite of an insult; it is a badge of strength, courage, and victory.” — Tennessee Office for Refugees

“No one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.”— Warsan Shire

“The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” — Albert Einstein

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” — Emma Lazarus

“It is the obligation of every person born in a safer room to open the door when someone in danger knocks.” — Dina Nayeri

Deadline: June 30th

Each of our tournaments will kick off on the 1st of each month and end on the last day of each month. Students have a month to prepare and submit a speech. Please submit all entries by the end of day. Unfortunately, we cannot accept late entries for fairness to all participants. 

Original Oratory Tournament

Students record and submit a 1-5 minute video speech delivering an original speech on the monthly topic. Please review our guidelines before submitting. Students can participate in both events of Original Oratory and Speechwriting. 

Speechwriting Tournament

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Students submit a written speech on the monthly topic. Elementary students should submit a 200-500 word count speech. Middle School, High School and College should submit a 500-1000 word count speech. Students can participate in both Tournaments of Original Oratory and Speechwriting. 

Awards

Everyone is a Winner: The #1 fear of the majority of adults is public speaking. So whether you participate in one of our tournaments, or our tournaments every month - you are already a winner and developing lifelong skills. Public Speaking is one of the most powerful superpowers in the world! 

Certificates of Participation: Online Certificates of Participation for all students.

Medals, Ribbons, Trophies. Ribbons, Medals and Trophies are awarded and mailed to the top winners of each division. Divisions include: Elementary School Division, Middle School Division, High School Division, and Collegiate Division. *Please note because of the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine rules, we estimate we will be mailing out awards this summer (July/August). *

School Sweepstakes Awards: Trophies and/or medals are awarded to the schools with the most entries.  The First Place School in addition to their Sweepstakes Award will win a $100 Pizza Party Gift for their Great Debaters and Teachers!

Public Showcase. Top awardees will be featured on our website, social media, and e-newsletters.

* Please note that because this is a free program, we reserve the right at any time to change or cancel any events, awards, certificates. If the number of entries exceeds our volunteer and judge capacity, we reserve the right to limit the number of entries. Additionally, we are not responsible for any lost awards, ribbons, medals, trophies, gift cards, etc. Please understand as a free program managed by volunteers, we reserve the right at anytime to change or cancel any part of our program. And please share with us any feedback so that we can improve our program.

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2020 NYC Elementary School Speech & Debate League