Intelligence Squared Public Debate Program

Spring 2014 Calendar of Debate Nights

January 15th: Amazon is the Reader’s Friend.

February 11th: Declinists be damned. Bet on America.

March 11th: The US should adopt the “Right to be forgotten” online.

March 31st: The President has exceeded his constitutional authority by waging war without congressional authorization.

April 15th: Abolish the death penalty.

May 13th: Smart technology is making us dumb.



The New York City Urban Debate League is the largest youth debate organization in New York.  Intelligence Squared (IQ2) is the largest adult debate organization in New York.  A perfect partnership!  In 2014 we came together to bring the best debate education opportunities to NYC youth.  We link a monthly youth debate topic to the monthly IQ2 topic which provides incredible education opportunities for our youth.  Each month our debaters can attend IQ2 events, interview top experts on the topics that they are debating, access IQ2’s library of resources and research on each monthly topics, and so much more.



Rethink your point of view with Intelligence Squared U.S. (IQ2US), Oxford-style debates live from New York City. Based on the highly successful debate program in London, Intelligence Squared, Intelligence Squared U.S. has presented nearly 100 debates on a wide range of provocative and timely topics. From clean energy and the financial crisis, to the Middle East and the death of mainstream media, Intelligence Squared U.S. brings together the world’s leading authorities on the day’s most important issues.

Since its inception in 2006, the goals have been to provide a new forum for intelligent discussion, grounded in facts and informed by reasoned analysis; to transcend the toxically emotional and the reflexively ideological; and to encourage recognition that the opposing side has intellectually respectable views.

The Rosenkranz Foundation initiated the Intelligence Squared U.S. Debate Series and continues to provide major support.



The series is based on the traditional Oxford-style debate format, with one side proposing and the other side opposing a sharply-framed motion. Before the debate begins, the audience registers their pre-debate opinion using an electronic voting system. These results are announced later in the program. Alternating between panels, each debater gives a 7-minute opening statement. After this segment concludes, the moderator opens the floor for questions from the audience and inter-panel challenges. This adversarial context is electric, adding drama and excitement. The debaters have one final opportunity to sway audience opinion through their 2-minute closing arguments. The audience delivers the final verdict by voting again whether they are for, against, or undecided on the proposition. The two sets of results are compared and the winner is determined by which team has swayed more audience members between the two votes.



The debates are held at the Kaufman Center, located at 129 W. 67th Street, New York NY 10023. Evenings begin at 5:45 PM with a cash bar reception for panelists and audience members; the live debate starts at 6:45 PM and ends at 8:30 PM. For venue information, click here.



Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates can be heard on over 220+ NPR stations across the nation. Contact your local station for scheduling information orclick here to download the iTunes Podcast Series.



Watch Intelligence Squared Debates U.S. live online, in real time, via, the leading online destination for video programs from the world’s best conferences and events.



Interactive voting for Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates is powered by Unfold. Keeping track of the attitudes and arguments around every topic, Unfold is your trusted resource for staying informed.



2014 Association for Women in Communications Clarion Award:
Radio Regular Feature Program

2014 New York Festivals International Radio Bronze Award:
Best Public Affairs Program

2013 New York Festivals International Radio Silver Award:
Best Public Affairs Program

2013 Telly Award in Film & Video:
Silver Award for Live Events

2013 Telly Award in Film & Video:
Bronze Award for Political/Commentary


Middle School parliamentary debaters are currently burrowing into the nuances of the December topic on the merits of physician-assisted suicide. As part of their preparation, eighth graders Libby Thogmartin, Emily Lucas, Ella Gates and Sara Azcona-Miller were invited to be audience guests at Thursday night’s broadcast of Intelligence Squared, a non-profit public affairs program. The girls were able to attend the pre-broadcast rehearsal in Manhattan that featured two teams debating Oxford style: Princeton philosopher Peter Singer and author Andrew Solomon on the pro side; and two physicians who work with terminally ill patients: Member of Parliament Baroness Ilonay Finlay and Dr. Daniel Sulmasy, a professor at U Chicago. They also got to chat with panel members before and after the debate.  As Baroness Finlay signed the girls’ programs, she commented on how impressive she found their demeanor and intelligence when quizzed on what they planned to do for careers. Urged by the program staff to move along so the auditorium could be closed up, Dr. Finlay tartly demurred:  “These youngsters are more important than anyone else in here and I will finish talking to them.”   “Go off into your lives,” she told Libby, Emily, Ella and Sara, “and use your voices. The world needs you.”

– Jim Shapiro, Teacher & Coach, Brooklyn


Today we were working on this topic and we were reading through evidence, and my Rajendra said “Baroness Ilora?  I KNOW her!!!” – Tyler Beattie, Teacher and Debate Coach of PS 161, Harlem


“Intelligence Squared gives three perspectives about what humanity is, about dignity, disgrace and hope. Daniel Sulmasy created an argument where he said that assisted suicide turns a somebody into a nobody. Everybody can relate to this perspective and this will stay with me forever.” – Feiry Guaba, PS 161, Harlem


“I loved going to Intelligence Squared with other schools and adults who were all as into it as we were. It was awesome to see Peter Singer debate– he was fierce! Today I quoted him in debate practice, and I thought to myself, ‘I know him!’” – Rajendra Singh, PS 161, Harlem