Newsweek hosted eight high school students from Denver, Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C., on April 14 at its global headquarters at One World Trade Center in New York City as part of the publication's partnership with the National Association for Urban Debate Leagues (NAUDL).
Mightier, as the debate-focused initiative has been named, is the latest part of Newsweek's ongoing mission to find areas of agreement within divisive issues and provide spaces for open and honest discourse.
Rhonda Haynes, executive director for NAUDL, noted the significance of the partnership for both organizations, saying it represents "the power of longevity as well as the promise of young perspective in debate."
"These high school students have demonstrated their passion for the exchange of ideas. They see—and remind us of—the power of debate, and the crucial role it plays in encouraging those around us to seek common ground," Newsweek Global Editor-in-Chief Nancy Cooper said about the partnership.
After a visit to the New York International Auto Show, students met with Newsweek staff and executives and toured the One World Trade Center office before participating in a live debate showcase.
The students who took part in the debate were selected based on skills demonstrated while participating in NAUDL's signature debate series, I RESOLVE. The debate topics included immigration, artificial intelligence in the workplace, climate optimism and affirmative action.
While less formal than other Urban Debate events, the evening's activities allowed students time to posit constructive arguments, cross examine each other and provide rebuttal statements.
Alongside the students debating, Newsweek and NAUDL executives addressed the crowd to share their excitement around the new collaboration.
"We live in a polarized country," said Tom Rogers, editor-at-large for Newsweek. "And there is no cure for that other than to expose people to both sides of controversial issues of public importance, and debate certainly does it."
Newsweek Global Chief Commercial and Growth Officer Kevin Gentzel highlighted the skills that organized debate equips students with in preparation for higher education and beyond.
"This ability to share with others in a way they will not only understand but perhaps then implement is a gift," he said. "And it is a gift that will serve you well, I promise you."
NAUDL, founded in 2004, backs more than 20 organizations across the country—predominantly focusing on underserved communities—to help foster "critical thinking, communication and collaboration skills," according to its website.
Along with their visit to the Big Apple, the students will also appear in various episodes of Newsweek's The Debate podcast and will be featured on the Mightier digital content hub, which centers on youth debate.
By Jack Haley - originally published here