Registration is NOW OPEN! Click here for more information.

Here's The Deal

  • Local Rounds hosted in local Universities during Spring 2015
  • Finals Day in the historic Cambridge Union on Saturday 2nd May
  • Compete against over 800 students from countries across 4 continents
  • In-depth feedback and advice from our experienced Judges
  • Interesting and challenging motions
  • Full and partial means-tested bursaries available
  • Optional additional packages available for international teams.

All for just £45 per team!

Find out more »


This year Cambridge University will again host the International Competition for Young Debaters.

This is a debating competition for school students aged 12-15. It is a great opportunity to get involved in competitive debating and improve the invaluable skills of public speaking, constructing arguments, researching topics and engaging with current affairs.

Above all, it is lots of fun and a great way to meet students from all corners of the world.

Cambridge University is one of the top Universities in the world and has at its heart a desire to always question the world we live in. We are proud that debating at any level allows this questioning to thrive.

Those who successfully proceed to Finals’ Day will have the opportunity to debate in the Cambridge Union Society, the oldest debating society in the world and Cambridge University’s largest student society. Founded in 1815, it has welcomed speakers from across the world and across generations, from Prime Ministers to Presidents, authors to actors and singers to sportspeople.

You can see more on debating in Cambridge on the main Union website.


We look forward to welcoming you to Cambridge in May!



Competition Structure

The competition is run in the British Parliamentary (BP) debating style (see the Cambridge Guide to BP Debating) and is divided into two rounds: the Regional Rounds and Finals Day.

The Local Round will be hosted at a University in your area. Teams from around the area will converge on the host University where they will be put into rooms of 4 teams. Debates will be in the standard British Parliamentary format (click here to download our guide on this style of debating). The first motion for the regional rounds will be pre-announced, although teams will not know their position. The second debate will have its motion announced 15 minutes before the start of the second debate, and teams can use this time to prepare their speeches. There will be two further rounds of debating, with points awarded depending on your position in each debate. After the first four rounds, the four teams with the most points will reach a final. The team that win the final will be crowned Regional Champions.

High-performing teams at regional rounds get the honour of being invited to the Cambridge Union itself to compete on Finals Day. The exact number of teams progressing from regional round will vary according to the total number of teams at each regional round. Finals
Day features a mere handful of teams compared to the number who originally entered, and making it this far is quite an achievement. Finals Day will follow the same format to the regional rounds, with winners of the final being crowned winners of ICYD 2015.

For international teams that reach Finals Day, we offer an additional package. Please see here for more information.


  • 2015 - The Cambridge Union will host the competition for the 5th time.
  • 2014 - The Oxford Union hosted the competition.
  • 2013 - The Cambridge Union hosted the competition.
  • 2012 - The Oxford Union hosted the competition.
  • 2011 - The Cambridge Union hosted the competition.
  • 2010 - The Oxford Union hosted the competition.
  • 2009 - The Cambridge Union hosted the competition.
  • 2008 - The Oxford Union hosted the competition.
  • 2007 - The Cambridge Union hosted the competition for the first time.
  • 2006 - University College Dublin hosted an Irish round to make the competition a truly international event. At this point the National Competition for Young Debaters (NCYD) became the International Competition for Young Debaters (ICYD)
  • 2005 - St. Andrews became the first Scottish University to join the regional rounds. Finals’ Day was held at Birmingham University.
  • 2004 - The National Competition for Young Debaters was formed, the inaugural event was organised by Oxford and regional rounds were also held at Bristol, Birmingham, Cambridge and Durham.
  • 2003 - The Oxford Union held a one day competition for under fifteens which proved that junior debaters had just as much enthusiasm as their senior counterparts.

The Cambridge Union Society

ICYD is run by members of the Cambridge Union Society. The Union dates from 1815, and has a long history of hosting Presidents, Prime Ministers, Statesmen, Celebrities and Sports Stars. The Unions weekly debates serve to engage and to challenge presumptions and prejudices. Finals day will be hosted at the Union itself, with the Grand Final held in the Union's famous chamber.

For more information on the Cambridge Union and to see some Cambridge Union speaker events, visit


In addition to attracting some of the best teams on the schools debating circuit, ICYD offers one of the finest judging pools. At its forefront will be:

Chief Adjudicator - Thomas Simpson

Thomas Simpson is a 2nd year Economics student at Gonville and Caius College. He won the NZ Schools' Debating Competition twice and represented NZ at World Schools' three times. At university level he was named as one of the top ten speakers in the world and won the Yale Intervarsity.

Chief Adjudicator - Jia Wei

Jia Wei is a 3rd year law student at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He was a regular schools debater, and represented Singapore at the 2008 and 2009 World Schools Debating Championships. He is also a keen university debater, having debated for Cambridge at the European and World Championships with some success. He looks forward to being part of a wonderful tournament experience for schools debaters all across the UK!


ICYD is organised by a dedicated team. To email the Convenors, please click here.

Convenor - Asad Khan

Asad is a 2nd year history student at Trinity college, Cambridge. He debated briefly at schools level in Pakistan, and is a keen university debater (though without much success). He convened the Cambridge regional round for ICYD 2014, and is enjoying convening iCYD 2015!

Convenor - Arun Shanmuganathan

Arun is a 2nd year Mathematics Student at Trinity College, Cambridge. He has debated at schools level in New Zealand as well as at University Tournaments for Cambridge. Despite debating having no relevance to his degree, he has enjoyed it a lot. Having personally seen the value of debating for students, he is very keen to host an excellent tournament this year.

Deputy Convenor (Sponsorship)- James Riseley

James is an Australian studying HSPS (Human, Social and Political Science) at Trinity College, Cambridge. During school, he represented his state, Queensland, at the 2012 and 2013 Australian Debating Championships, and his country at the 2014 Pan-Pacific Debating Championships. He has been involved with judging a range of British and Australian schools debating competitions.

Finance Officer - Minaam Abbas

Minaam is a medic and Commonwealth Scholar at St. John’s College, Cambridge. He has maintained an active interest in debates for several years, participating in national and international competitions at school and university. He will be the acting finance officer for Cambridge’s fifth ICYD and hopes this year’s competition will be the best one yet!

Tech Officer - Linas Vastakas

Linas is reading law at Magdalene College, Cambridge. He has participated in a number of international debating tournaments. His achievements include debating in the finals in intervarsities in Moscow and Vilnius. He is also interested in technology, has been running a technology-related project, and hopes to use his technological knowledge to help the competition run smoothly.


What you get...

ICYD is one of the largest and most prestigious schools debating competitions in the world. But, above all, we aim for all those who enter to have a enjoyable and memorable time. Some of the features of the competition include:

  • Regional rounds hosted in local Universities during the spring
  • Finals Day in the historic Cambridge Union on Saturday 2nd May
  • Compete against over 800 students from countries across four continents
  • In-depth feedback and advice from our experienced judges
  • Interesting and challenging motions
  • Full and partial means-tested bursaries available

All of this is available as part of our basic £45 per team package.

Registration Timetable

We are in the process of contacting schools that have registered about payments and bursaries. However, registration will temporarily remain open.

Places will be allocated on a first come-first served basis, although if you do not pay in a timely manner your places may be taken away and given to a team on the waiting list. Payment will be either via cheque or by (online) bank transfer. Invoices can be sent out on request.

The price for this year's competition is £45 per team up to a maximum of 4 teams per
. If you have any questions about the registration system, or about the registration/payment process, please contact us.

Register Now!

Registration is NOW OPEN!

To Register for ICYD 2015 please fill out the registration form, which can be accessed here.