Topic outline

  • 2023 HS spUN Debates Program


    2023 High School (H.S.) spUN Debate Program


    Author:  Frances Dellutri,  NSS Dir. of Education, spUN Debate Program Manager

                   Apoorva, B.R,  NSS High School spUN Debate Program Manager




                Debater Alexandra from Romania is making a point. The 2023 spUN (space policy and UNiversalization) Debates will mark the sixth year of these international debates.  
    The High School Program is 100% virtual and teams of 4 debaters (ages 14 -18) come together from different parts of the world who learn to work together and appreciate different perspectives,  cultures, and languages to learn the art of debating and have tons of fun on an international level!  


    Tentative Date of the Final  2023 VIRTUAL spUN Debates -  Saturday,  May 27, 2023 !

    The high school double elimination tournament will be begin in early May, 2023.

    This website will be periodically updated to bring you up-to-date on the details and how to apply for this fantastic opportunity!  

    The official application window for the 2023 H.S. spUN Debates begins Nov. 1, 2022, however applications are open NOW!  Information is posted on this website to guide you to the application.  

    Here's a 3-min video that gives you a quick overview and lets you know of the importance of this program:

    This site will let you know pertinent information for spUN Debate 2022 Application and the events for the 2023 spUN Debate season.  This is an international event and invites the participation of a diverse group of students ages 14 -18 from all countries.  

    Never debated before?  Our program helps you get started so that when you are assigned to a team, you know the fundamentals of debating and are ready to learn, develop skills in research, critical thinking, organization, persuasion and communication.  You will have an opportunity to experience cultural perspectives that impact how we develop working relationships here on Earth and consider paving the way for successful harmonious space settlements.


    The University - Level Tournament  2023 spUN Debate Program can be found at:

     2023 Univ spUN Debates.

    Stay tuned for more information! 

  • 2023 spUN High School Debate Schedule

    2023 H.S. spUN  Debate Schedule:

    Nov. 01, 2022: 2023 H.S. spUN Application Window Opens

    Dec. 22, 2022: Application Window Closes. Fee waivers are also due.

    Jan. 2, 2023 - Debate Candidates Response Deadline for Intent to Continue and Prep Course Opens

    Jan. 6, 2023 - Debater Selection Announced

    Jan. 15, 2023 - Debaters Complete on-line Course

    Feb. 01, 2023: 2023 spUN  Final team selections and Announcements sent via email to Debaters

    Feb. 5, 2023: Debater Code of conduct & Photo/video releases due

    Feb. 10, 2023: Teams begin working with coaches

    Mar. 12, 2023: Mentor sessions for debate prep

    Mar. 25, 2023: Practice tournament

    Preliminary 2023 spUN debate rounds: Apr. 22, 23 - 29, 30 - May 6,7 - 13, 14

    Final Debate Round: May 27, 2023, 8.30 to 10 am CT  live-streamed from NSS ISDC

    Jun 18, 2023: Awards Ceremony

  • Resolution and Information

     2023 HS spUN Resolution:

    Government funding of astronomical and planetary space projects should be prioritized to support humanity's survivability on Earth.

    Consideration of important words found in the resolution are:

    Earth -- The earth can be defined as the immediate planetary body without its atmosphere or inclusion of the atmosphere up to 100km, which is what the U.S. military defines it.

    Humanity's Survivability -- this could be defined as  "the continuation of the human species", or it could be defined as "the continuation of a modern civilization", or a more liberal definition might be "the ability to live in decent life with food, clothing, shelter, and medical care." 

    Astronomical and Planetary -- from astronomy and planet; this could be defined as a phrase that indicates "any projects whose objective is exploration of any object in space other than the earth". 

    Universalization -- the next phase of human development, marking the transition from nation states to a single world view of humanity where all individuals are treated fairly without regard to nation of origin, race, sexual orientation, and physical or mental ability.

    Please see attached videos for more information on the concept of Universalization. A reference and connection to universalization in the debate arguments and in the team activities will be part of the debate assessment during the tournament.

    It will be important for the affirmative team to clearly indicate the types of projects they would like to defund or reduce funding and the type of projects they want to prioritize. This should be in their affirmative plan. 

    The affirmative team has the "burden of proof" to establish why the resolution is necessary. Take a case on space debris, for example. The affirmative team can make arguments to establish that space debris could result in a Kessler effect, make lower earth orbit unusable, and then explain how this impacts humanity's survivability. But then the affirmative must explain how their re-prioritizing of projects will solve this problem. Are there enough funds in other projects to create a proper program to combat space debris? Exactly which projects will be eliminated to do this; all projects? 

  • Information on the Universalization Concept

    The spUN Debates began in 2017 at the National Space Society's International Space Development Conference in St. Louis, MO, USA.  Dr. LJ Edmonds gave a presentation to international students on the topic of universalization, a concept for cooperation and living that will greatly impact space development.  Several students and a teacher engaged in an animated discussion of the impacts universalization could have on space settlement but also on how we successfully and harmoniously move forward in Earthly policies and interactions!

    Here are some videos that resulted from the subsequent spUN Debate Tournaments (pre-COVID-19) in 2018 and 2019. The first video is an overview of the 2018 debates...

    Please take a moment to see the impact the study of the universalization concept made on the student debaters.  

    ...and the second video talks about the practicalities of space living and governing and, how to buy chocolate in space! 

    The next video is from a podcast in which Dr. Lorna Jean Edmonds was interviewed by Starcast about the universalization concept.  This concept is very important in our debates, both to see the concept in the  debate arguments, and also as a guide in  the  conduct of everyone in the NSS spUNPicture of co-founder of spUN Debates - Dr. Lorna Jean Edmonds Debate Organization.

    We hope these resources will  give you great food for thought!

  • High School spUN Information and Application

    .Someone typing on a computerThe completed application must be submitted by Dec 15, 2022. Your confirmation message will direct you to the link for the payment of the $15 application fee, also due on Dec. 15, 2022. A fee waiver is available and  is found in Section  5. The announcement regarding selections for the debate teams is expected around Jan.6, 2023 and will go to your personal email as indicated in your application.

    It is highly suggested that you follow the instructions for your application to insure the application will quickly move through the application process.

    Application Link: 2023 spUN Debate Application

    For further questions kindly contact us at: 

    Instructions for the High School spUN 2023 Application:

    PART A: General Information 

    1.  “Full Name” Generally full name indicates First Middle and Last name, if you don’t have a middle name, you can leave that field blank and just write your first and last name.  These names will be used on your certificates. So take care and fill them out  correctly!

    2.  “Date of Birth”  - Follow the format

    3.  Your age “As of May 27, 2023” for example if you are 16 presently and your birthday is on 3rd Jan, you must fill 17 in the application not 16.

    4.  Your grade (as of May 27, 2023).

    5.  Please fill in your full school name, avoid abbreviations and school address. 

    A press release is planned to reach your school following the tournament, so please ensure that your school details are accurate and complete. 

    Make sure to write out your school entirely without any abbreviations. Many people put abbreviations for their school names, but that won’t be accepted. 

    6.  Your home address. Fill in the information in the format of city, state and Nation of residence. Please avoid abbreviations that are not in common global use.  

    7.  Your personal email address is very, very important.   Please note: All the Debate information will be sent to this email address and  emails may be urgent and require an immediate reply, so make sure you check your email messages every few days!

    8.  Mobile number which you would like us to use to contact you, Please state your relation to the owner of the number. Make sure to mention your country code. This is important for different messaging platforms that may be used.

    Ex: 99-xxxxxx23 (Father) or 97-xxxxxx39 (Personal) or 1-xxxxxxxxxxx56 (Guardian)  The  country code might be 99, or 97, or 1.

    7.  “State your gender identity,” is optional. Indicate the identification pronoun you use, if you wish. (he/him,  she/her/  they/them)

    8.  “Explain any public speaking and debate experience you have had.  (It is not necessary to have formal debate training to qualify for the spUN Debates!) A part of spUN Debates program is to train students in debating space policy.  (20 - 100 words)”

    PART B: Permission/Recommendation, etc.

    1.  “A Parent or Guardian’s Permission is required for any student under 18 years of age at the time of debate to participate in the debate, also that parent / guardian must verify the information filled in the application.”  

    Please  fill in : Parent / Guardian Name and then check the box “yes” if your parent / guardian has permitted you to participate.

    2.  Submit/attach a recommendation from your teacher. Note: The letter will be used in our selection criteria and therefore, is very important. Your recommendation must be unique; if there are multiple students from the same school, you may use the same teacher for your recommendation. However, each teacher must write a unique letter for each student they recommend. If student recommendations are found to be the same, then they will not be considered and the applicant may be disqualified from participating.  Each school may have a maximum of 10 students applying for consideration in the spUN Debates 2023.

    3.  Enter the details about the teacher writing your recommendation such as name, email and phone number with country code, If you are homeschooled your recommendation letter can be written by your homeschool provider  . 

    Please note that the teacher’s email address and phone number might be used to contact you in the event that we cannot reach you by your primary contacts, and remember our goal is to keep you informed!

    PART C: Video, Essays

    PART C  is  the most important part because it helps the selection committee determine your personal attributes that will help build a dynamic debate team.  

    1.  You will need to provide a short video that addresses the following:

    What if somebody told you “Dogs should be the first pets in space”? Please provide a short video expressing your stance on the statement: Do you agree? Do you disagree? Explain your stance.

    Please make sure this video is between 1 to 2 minutes long and that you are not reading off a script. 

    Speak your first and last your first name and last name to title your video. Do not shoot in open spaces or a hallway and try to look directly into the camera, speak clearly and slowly and try not to read your information. Make sure that your video is clearly understandable and avoid any echo effect. Be sure that you share your video with us through an internet link. YouTube or Google Drive may be provided in the space on the application. Ask a friend to test your link to make sure it is accessible and viewable.

    2.  After uploading the video link, for the next  requirement is an essay.

     Each essay must be from50 to 150 words. The selection committee wants you to impress them so allow yourself to be thorough.

    Here is the essay question:

    Unlike any other territory governed on Earth, control of outer space has global significance for all communities residing on Earth. What would be the implications and consequences of a country other than your own governing outer space? How would this make you feel? 

    Unlike any other territory governed on Earth, control of outer space has global significance for all communities residing on Earth. What would be the implications and consequences of a country other than your own governing outer space? How would this make you feel? 

    Respond to the prompt in at least 50 words and at most 150 words. Put your first and last name in the document title.

    Your answer should be unique and suitable for the question.  Plagiarism will result in disqualification. Submit your answer  in a word document or a pdf and attach it in the application. The Selection Committee wants you to voice your personal ideas, so be aware that  if two or more students have the same answer or the answer shows plagiarism and the application may be disqualified.

    Before you finally submit your application, make sure all your application fields are completed to the best of your ability. 

    A confirmation message will inform you that your application has been received and will direct you to the NSS store to purchase your $15 payment to complete your spUN application process.

    We wish you the best of luck!

  • Instructions to Purchase a spUN Application Fee from the NSS Store

       2023 HS spUN Debate Fee

    Screenshot of HS Fee Landing Page in NSS StoreThis is the landing page for the NSS store, spUN Debate  HS Application fee.  You may enter more fees for more than one debater.

    Enter how many fees you would like to pay and continue.  

    This is the Shopping Cart screenshot from the NSS Store.  Check to see if you have correctly indicated  the number of fees you wish to pay and the High School spUN Debate Fee.Screenshot of the HS spUN 2023 Application Fee in the NSS Store Shopping cart

    Screenshot of Checkout for the Fee Purchase showing where to enter the name/s of the debater/s for whom the fee is paid.This is the bottom of the checkout information.  Continue to complete this form  and there is a very important part here-  The comment section MUST have the name of the student/s whose fee/s is/are  being paid.  If this purchase covers the spUN Application fee for several students, the full names of  each of the students needs to appear in the comment box.  We can only verify the applicant who is being paid for if the name/s appear in this comment box.

    Then proceed to confirmation and check out.  Keep records of your payment.

  • Waiver for 2023 H.S. spUN Application Fee

    Requests for the  $15.00 2022 spUN Debates Fee Application Waiver maybe submitted until midnight (Central Time) December 15, 2022.

    Information on how to apply for to be considered for the waiver is found:    

                                       HS spUN Fee Waiver                           


  • spUN Coaches Needed!


    The National Space Society's SpacEdge Education Team  is seeking experienced debate coaches who are interested to work on the SpUN Virtual Debates 2023.  Coaches work virtually with students from around the world to prepare for space policy debates. (Commitment is from Feb. - May, 2023).

    This is a great opportunity for you to add to your resume and to help students from around the world articulate ideas and consider STEAM careers ! 

    The TASK:  coaches work virtually (at least once a week) with diverse teams to prepare/consult. The 2023 Resolution is:   


    Government funding of astronomical and planetary space projects should be prioritized to support humanity's survivability on Earth.

    Coaches will refine strategies for research, cases, rebuttals, teamwork, presentation style, speed (NO SPREADING).
    Dates:  The registration window opened on Oct. 21, with an official opening on Nov 1, 2022.  Coach commitments  begin in February 2023 when team and coach assignments are announced. The debate season spans February- May 2023.
    What’s in it for you?:  In addition to helping debate become an international skill, coaches would recieve:
    • $500.00 compensation for your 2023 spUN Debate Season Efforts
    • A 1- year full year membership to the National Space Society
    • Certificate of international coaching participation suitable for Professional Development or for your professional file

    Challenges:  students compete from around the world, so finding times /platforms for communication can  be challenging. (Meeting times are up to debate coach/debaters to determine.)

    To be considered for a spUN Coaching spot, please complete: 

                                             spUN Coaches Application

    f you have questions about being a part of this amazing opportunity, please contact :

                    Frances Dellturi ( .

  • 2023 HS spUN Debate Format

    The 2023 High School Debate Format follows.  It can also be downloaded from the attachment.

    • This is an image of the 2023 High School Debate Format.The 2023 spUN Program Debate format calls for a debate session of 60 minutes and allows a presentation of Pro and Con arguments to:

      1. educate the participants about the resolution topic and the weaving of the universalization concept in the approach of the resolution topic that addresses space policy.

      2. educate the spectators of the debates in the space policy debate topic and the use of universalization to address and explain the resolution topic.