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Some of the brightest stars in the world of high school and college debate will soon gather for competition at the prestigious fifth annual Old Parkland Debate Tournament being held at the Old Parkland campus in Dallas. The annual two-day event will take place February 9-10, 2017 and will include a college exhibition debate, a high school tournament, a luncheon and an awards ceremony.

The tournament is hosted by Old Parkland Debate Tournament, a nonprofit organization created to foster education, discussion and debate of critical issues.  For the first time, the public is invited to attend the tournament Championship Debate that will take place on Friday, February 10th at 5:00 p.m. Tickets are complimentary and available on a space available basis through EventBrite https://oldparklanddebate.eventbrite.com

Six high school teams from all over the world will compete in the tournament alongside six teams from the United States. Argentina, Canada, England, Germany, Peru and The Netherlands will send high school students to participate in the tournament with teams from Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and Washington D.C. Having teams from the northern, southern, western and eastern hemispheres, brings a unique dynamic and a wide range of perspectives to the issues being debated.

The high school teams will participate in a round robin tournament, debating topics such as human genetic engineering, the democratic value of Wikileaks, legalized assisted dying and the use of economic sanctions in foreign policy. The winners advance to the Championship where they will debate the motion: “Capitalism is the best system to decrease long term poverty. 

Two college teams will open the tournament by participating in an exhibition debate Thursday, February 9th at 5 p.m. Cornell University returns from last year’s exhibition debate  and will be challenged by Stanford University in the motion “This House Believes:  The global wave of nationalism threatens human rights.”

“Most of us think of the presidential debates when we hear the word ‘debate,’” said Harlan Crow, chairman and CEO of Crow Holdings.  “Argumentative banter back and forth, while not responding to the question, often occurs in those formats. The Old Parkland Debate, however, is a fact-based discussion of topics from two different points of view -- one for and one against the stated proposition. The emphasis is on engaging in informed discussion in a civil manner. Our political leaders could probably learn some constructive lessons from these young, bright minds.” 

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will speak to the debaters, coaches, judges and other guests during a luncheon in the Pecan Room at Old Parkland Friday afternoon. “I’ve judged the tournament in the past and am always amazed to see how fast these kids think,” said Mayor Rawlings. “I see them as our future leaders. They stick to the subject and give reasons for their position while responding to their opponents’ points of view at lightning speed. Anyone who thinks debates are boring hasn’t been to this tournament. I’m honored to be able to interact with the teams again this year.” 

Debate is an often-overlooked elective in schools today. However, the need for enlightened debate has never been more important. Crow’s belief that the art of critical thinking and respectful conversation should be fostered and championed led him to create the beautiful Debate Chamber at Old Parkland. In addition to the annual high school debate tournament, Old Parkland is working with think tanks and other organizations to host additional debates on a wide range of issues. The National Review Institute (NRI) and Hoover Institute held a debate on immigration at Old Parkland in 2016, and NRI returned last year for a debate on trade. This year, plans are already underway for an additional NRI debate on crime, and a debate fostered by the National Constitution Center, in conjunction with the Federalist Society and The American Constitution Society, regarding term limits for U.S. Supreme Court Justices.  

Located on a beautiful 9.5 acre site, Old Parkland features 334,000 square feet of master-planned, Class-A office space and a spectacular array of amenities. The heart of the campus is a building that served as Dallas’ first hospital, the 102-year-old Parkland Hospital that Crow Holdings meticulously preserved and renovated in 2008 as its corporate headquarters. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the office campus community uniquely blends Old Parkland’s rich history of innovation and education with thoughtfully placed art and architectural elements that invite reflection on the nation’s heritage and stimulate new ideas and answers to today’s issues.

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