Participation at NHSDLC tournaments is open to all ESL high school students, and middle school students of all backgrounds, in Mainland China. Our students come from a range of social and economic backgrounds—but they tend to be among the most academically gifted students in their region. Roughly eighty-percent of our students pursue undergraduate or graduate studies abroad. Many of our students are enrolled in international programs at public schools, which prepare students for studying at Western universities.
The NHSDLC conducts debates in the Public Forum style, one of the most popular debate formats in the United States. In a Public Forum round, two teams, each composed of two debaters, argue for opposite sides of a resolution. The resolution is announced weeks in advance of each tournament, allowing students to conduct comprehensive research about the relevant issues. At a tournament, students will debate both sides of the resolution several times. This format encourages the development of academic research, critical thinking, and public speaking skills.
Our resolutions cover a breadth of international public policy questions. In recent tournaments, students have debated about climate change, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the effects of urbanization in China
To judge debate rounds, the NHSDLC recruits English speakers from a variety of academic and business backgrounds in China. For the National Championships, we fly over expert university judges from the debate organizations at Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Princeton, Penn, McGill, UChicago, and other North American Universities.