Global Debate Network

The Bard Debate Union began the work of building an international debate network in 2014 when we started working with faculty at Smolny College in St. Petersburg, Russia. After this exciting relationship and opportunity for collaboration began, the Bard Debate Union began working with faculty members and students at several of Bard’s international partner institutions – Al Quds Bard (Abu Dis, Palestine), the American University of Central Asia (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan), Bard College Berlin (Berlin, Germany), Central European University (Budapest, Hungary), and European Humanities University (Vilnius, Lithuania) – to build and support debate programming and networking. Given the tremendous success and excitement about debate throughout Bard’s international network, we officially launched the OSUN Global Debate Network in January of 2020!

Open Society University Network

The Open Society University Network, founded by Bard College and Central European University, envisions a new model of global higher education—a long-lasting network with deep partnerships among diverse institutions committed to addressing global challenges collaboratively. The OSUN Global Debate Network brings together students, faculty, and staff from across the OSUN Network who have an interest in academic debate – organizing public debates, participating in competitive debate activities, conducting debate outreach work, and using debates in the classroom. The goal of the network is to support the development and growth of debate programming on network campuses while creating meaningful pathways of exchange and collaboration between and among them. Network programming includes: workshops, lectures, and debates for students; mentoring, training, and exchanges for faculty; annual student and faculty conferences; and annual collective attendance of a debate tournament held by a network institution. With a focus on public debates, curricular debate initiatives, and debate outreach work, the OSUN Global Debate Network aims to re-conceptualize the role and function of a university debate program – to position debate not just as an extracurricular activity but as a centerpiece of higher education. Ultimately, the OSUN Global Debate Network aims to open up space for discussion and debate about difficult topics on college and university campuses across the globe, thereby supporting the formation, consolidation, and preservation of open societies in an age of increasing specialization in higher education and polarizing ideological divides in the public sphere.

Learn more about the Open Society University Network here:

Student Debates

We started hosting regular virtual debates among debaters from Bard’s international partner institutions in 2016. Since then, we have hosted 2-3 virtual student debates each semester. These debates – typically featuring two students from each of four schools – provide an opportunity for students from across the world to get to know one another and debate some of the most pressing issues of our times in a fun and collaborative environment. For dates for upcoming student debates, click the “Events Calendar” link under the “Public Debates/Events” tab!

Faculty Trainings and Workshops

With the launch of the OSUN Global Debate Network in 2020, we have now started hosting regular faculty and staff trainings for faculty from throughout the OSUN Network with an interest in incorporating debate into their classes. For dates for upcoming faculty trainings, click the “Events Calendar” link under the “Public Debates/Events” tab!

Conferences and Tournaments

In March 2017, the Bard Debate Union hosted the first Bard Network Debate Conference. During the conference students, faculty, and staff from Al-Quds Bard, American University of Central Asia, Bard College Berlin, European Humanities University, and Smolny College joined together with the Bard Debate Union for five days of workshops, lectures, and debates on best practices for running a university debate program with a focus on public debates and debate outreach work. Since then, the student conference has become an annual event and we have begun the work of planning additional conferences and tournaments for students as well as conferences for faculty, coaches, and coordinators. For dates for upcoming conferences and tournaments, click the “Events Calendar” link under the “Public Debates/Events” tab!

First International Student Conference at CEU 2017