Topic outline

  • 2023 HS spUN Debates Program


    2024 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 2024 spUN (space policy and UNiversalization) Debates will mark the seventh 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 important space policy issues and have tons of fun on an international level!  


    Tentative Date of the Final  2024 VIRTUAL spUN Debates -  Saturday,  May 25, 2024 !

    The high school double elimination tournament will be begin in early May, 2024.

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

     Applications will open Nov. 1, 2023.  

    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 2024 Application and the events for the 2024 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  2024 spUN Debate Program can be found at:

     2024 Univ spUN Debates.

    Stay tuned for more information! 

  • 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 Jan. 6, 2023. Your confirmation message will direct you to the link for the payment of the $15 application fee, also due on Jan. 6, 2023. A fee waiver is available and  is found in Section  5. The announcement regarding selections for the debate teams is expected around Jan. 15, 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!