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Great Debate, NHI Programs

2016 Great Debate Topics Announced

Posted: May 11, 2016 at 10:42 am   /   by   /   comments (1)

The first Great Debate of the 2016 National Hispanic Institute is less than a month away, and NHI has finally announced the theme and topics for this year’s series of competitions.

The overarching theme for this year’s Great Debate concerns the basis for Ernesto Nieto’s Third Reality, the foundational book for NHI programs. According to Nieto, there’s a dichotomy that Latinos in American society face. This dichotomy is presented to our young leaders, both inside and outside of the United States border, in the form of a choice: Adapt to the cultural framework of the American mainstream in order to acquire economic stability and social relevance, or react and reject the mainstream by living life surrounded by language, culture, and belief systems directly opposed to it, in an effort to preserve the integrity of the Latino identity. Nieto also posits a third choice, or “an unexplored reality that is neither a compromise or reconciliation between these two life paths,” which he calls “Third Reality.”

Through the mechanisms of the Great Debate, students will consider the dichotomy that Latinos are faced with while learning more about “Third Reality” and how it offers a path to leadership within the Latino community.

For the Oratory competition, students will be charged with delivering a keynote speech entitled “Somos Latinos,” for a group of thinkers looking to develop new community projects and initiatives that will foster new culture, as well as delineate the community truths and beliefs most appropriate for the future. The speech sets the tone for participants to imagine a new world, a new identity, a new set of priorities, a new perspective, and a new community of people that will usher in the year 2200 and beyond.

For the extemporaneous speaking topic, students will be asked to react to numerous statements and questions relating to past and present dichotomies related to or among the Latino community. Speakers will be asked to agree or disagree with or to have an opinion on the veracity or validity of conflicting paradigms.

Examples of topical exploration may include:

  • What conflicts, if any, exist between traditional Latin American cultural values and modern Latino cultural values?
  • What importance does or should race have to Latino identity?
  • What are the fundamental elements of Latino culture that should be preserved?
  • What are Latino cultural values and traits that might be less appropriate for future generations?
  • What are new values Latino communities should embrace?
  • Is dominance of the Spanish language a necessary element of Latino identity?
  • Is nationality more important to identity than values? Is citizenship?
  • What are community beliefs that are limiting? What are beliefs that are motivating?
  • What value should Latinos place on the western ideals such as accreditation, consumerism, careerism, capitalism, and globalization?
  • What new value systems should Latinos consider adopting for decades?

The Cross Examination debate topic will be: “Resolved that the Latino community reject social movements with agendas based on race.”

The Mock Trial topic will be “The Latino Community v. Parents of High Ability, High Achieving Latino Youth,” and the Issue Proper for Trial is, “Parents of high ability, high achieving Latino youth, because of their emphasis on promoting a scholastic, college accreditation, careerist, public recognition, and economic-driven social narrative for their children, unknowingly ensure the continuation of a values system that is incongruent with the promotion and development of a future self-directing Latino Community.”

In addition to the Texas Great Debate, NHI will host four Great Debate programs in late June and July; more information is available via this previously-published article.

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