Frequently Asked Questions


What is the Global Debate and Public Policy Challenge? 
The Global Debate and Public Policy Challenge (GDPPC) is an annual scholarship competition and educational initiative designed to engage undergraduates in on-going debates on issues of global importance.

What is the theme of the 2013-2014 Challenge?  
This year’s theme “Rethinking Drugs” examines the current state of global actions against the spread of illicit substances. Participants will be asked to analyse the issue through the lenses of economics, health policy, criminal justice, law, human rights and international relations, and to propose policy recommendations based on a number of hypothetical scenarios.

What are the deadlines of submission?
The submission deadline for Task One is 30 October 2013. The submission deadline for Task Two is 28 February 2014. The final stage will take place in Budapest, Hungary from 23 to 27 June 2014.
Besides the opportunity to receive a $10,000 scholarship and trip to Budapest, why should I enter this Challenge?

  • To engage in a discussion and debate on a topic of global importance
  • To sharpen your advocacy skills
  • To learn to write effective public policy briefs and receive expert feedback
  • To receive training from experienced debate and public speaking coaches
  • To join a growing global debate and public policy community by interacting with participants from all over the globe on the Facebook page

What do I need to do to join the Challenge?

  1. Register for the Challenge
  2. Review the themereading list and writing guidelines (Task OneTask Two)
  3. Write your policy paper
  4. Submit your policy paper

What are the tasks of the Challenge and how do I win?  
The Challenge consists of Task One, Task Two and the Budapest Forum. Task One and Task Two are qualifying stages for participation in the finals in Budapest, also known as the Forum.

  • Task One: All participants submit a policy memorandum (800 to 1200 words, excluding list of sources and citations in footnotes) in response to one of four scenarios.
  • Task Two: Up to 200 participants with qualifying scores from Task One will be invited to submit a policy brief (1500 to 1800 words, excluding list of sources and citations in footnotes) in response to one of two scenarios.
  • Budapest Forum: Up to 12 finalists will compete for the prizes through two components: team debate (in teams of two) and extemporaneous speaking. Finalists will receive scores for both components. The total score (team debate and extemporaneous speaking) for each finalist will be calculated, tabulated and ranked. Finalists with the top 5 scores will be the winners of GDPPC.

Is there a cost to participate? 
No, there is no fee to register or to participate in the Challenge. 
Who is eligible to participate? 
Any university undergraduate student currently enrolled in an accredited college or university anywhere in the world, as well as recent graduates, can participate.
How do you define “undergraduate programme’’?  
An “undergraduate program” shall be defined as including any first degree/certificate course in a tertiary educational establishment/university anywhere in the world. 
How do you define recent graduate for the purposes of the Challenge? 
“Recent graduates” shall be defined as including any person who has graduated from an undergraduate program on or after 28 February 2013 and has not yet enrolled either part-time or full-time in a graduate program before 1 March 2014. 

I am in high school. Can I participate?
No, this programme is for university students and recent graduates only. If you are interested in attending local debating programmes, please check our website on the following page:, where we have compiled a list of debating societies by country. 
Is there an age limit to the competition? 
There is no maximum age limit. However, all participants must be at least 18 years old as of 1 March 2014.  
Is there a Facebook page for the Challenge? 
Yes, you can receive the latest GDPPC information and updates and meet your fellow participants here.

What are the rules of the Challenge? 
The rules of the Challenge can be found here.
What are the prizes and what can the scholarships/stipends be used for? 
Up to five winners receive a scholarship award of $10,000 towards graduate studies or as stipend to work one year in non-profit institution in a field related to public policy. 


How do I register for the Challenge? 
Visit and follow these steps: 
Step1: In order to join the Challenge, you must have an IDebate username and password, which is free and takes just a second to do. If you do not have an IDebate username and password, you need to register first here. If you already have an IDebate account, please log-in and go here.

Step 2: After logging with your IDebate username and password, you must visit the Challenge registration pagewhere you will need to answer a few questions about yourself to complete the registration process. You will then receive the GDPPC ID necessary for submitting your task.

I forgot my username and password. How can it be reset? 
Please email us at
I need to change or update my personal information. How can I do that?  
Please email us at
Where do I find my GDPPC ID? 
Your GDPPC ID appears on the homepage when you are logged in to The GDPPC ID is the code you received when you registered for the Challenge and is composed of two alphabets and five digits. E.g. AB12345.


What is a policy paper? 
A policy paper is a commonly used advocacy and policymaking tool. It provides policymakers with the essential information they need to address an issue of importance. It should break complex issues down into core facts, evaluate possible solutions and recommend a particular course of action.

Task One asks you to write a policy memorandum from a government perspective. Task Two asks you to write a policy brief from a partisan perspective. For detailed information, please read the Writing Guidelines for Task One and Task Two

Can I use a fictional country or must it be a real country? 
You must address an existing government/country. You may choose to address the country you live in or another country of your choice. For Task Two only: If you choose to respond to the international scenario, you have the option of addressing an international actor such as the UNODC instead of a national government.

Do I have to write about each scenario or just one? 
You must choose only one scenario. Please specify which scenario you are responding to on the first page of your paper.

What materials are available to help me prepare my task? 
We provide the latest and most relevant information on the GDPPC topic on the Reading List, which is updated weekly. Complete information is available in the Writing Guidelines for Task One and Task Two to guide you through the process of preparing your policy paper.

What is the word limit? 
For Task One, the word limit is between 800 and 1200 words, not including the list of sources consulted or bibliography. For Task Two, the word limit is between 1500 to 1800 words.

What information should I include in my paper?
Put your GDPPC ID (not your name), the government you are addressing, the issuing organization, scenario, date and word count on the top-left corner of your first page. The GDPPC ID is the code you received when you registered for the Challenge and is composed of two alphabets and five digits. E.g. AB12345.

What citation format should I use? 
Use APA embedded citation. This is a citation style where a short form of the source is given in brackets in the main text after the statement that requires a source. The long form of the source is stated in the bibliography at the end of the text. Please consult the Writing Guidelines for Task One and Task Two for more information. 


How do I submit my paper? 
Submit your paper by uploading it through this link before the deadline (midnight local time). The deadline for Task One is 30 October 2013. The deadline for Task Two is 28 February 2014.

What do you mean by midnight local time?
You can submit your paper up to midnight in your local time on the day of the submission deadline. This means that you can submit your paper up until 23:59 (or 11.59 PM) of 28 February 2014.

In what format should I submit my paper?
Submissions with your name on them or sent via e-mail will not be accepted. You can upload your submission as a Word document (.doc, .docx) or a PDF (.pdf) in a font not smaller than 11 point.

Can I e-mail, mail or fax my submission?
No, you must upload your submission through the website here.

I have a question that is not addressed in this FAQ. Who should I contact?
If you have further questions, please email us at  


How will my submission be evaluated? 
Judges will evaluate your submissions based on the qualities and structure outlined in the Writing Guidelines for Task One and Task Two, so carefully following them means you increase your chance of success. Your policy papers will be graded on four criteria: analysis and argumentation, recommendation, structure, and citation.

Who will be judging my submission?
An international panel of judges with public policy experience and expertise will be responsible for reading and marking each paper submitted in accordance with the evaluation criteria defined for each stage.   
I am not a native English speaker. Will this affect my score?
No, judges use an evaluation criteria and grading rubric to assess each participant’s paper. The evaluation focuses on the participant’s ability to critically assess and develop arguments based on evidence, not language ability.
What does double-grading mean?
There will be one primary judge tasked with grading your paper. A second judge will then closely review your paper and the score assigned to it. In cases where the second judge disputes the scores given by the first judge, a chief adjudicator will assign the final score.

Will I receive feedback on my submission?
Yes, all submissions will receive feedback from the judges. Papers will receive short feedback explaining the score attributed to each of the criteria, recommendations on what the author can build on to improve the paper, and what the strengths of the paper were.  
What is plagiarism?
Plagiarism is the representation of another person’s thoughts or words as though they were your own. In order to avoid plagiarism, make sure you always acknowledge (i.e. cite) the work of others in your paper. Participants will be disqualified for plagiarism.

How will you prevent cheating?
Judges will check that all submissions comply with the guidelines on citation and plagiarism that can be found in the Writing Guidelines for Task One and Task Two. When a student is caught submitting work that is plagiarised, the student will be disqualified from the Challenge.  
When will I receive my results?
After reviewing all papers submitted for each stage, the Organisers will notify all participants of their results by email.


When will the Budapest Forum take place?
The final stage of the Challenge will take place from 23 to 27 June 2014 in Budapest, Hungary. Forum participants will be expected to arrive the day before, i.e. 22 June 2014, and depart the day after the Forum, i.e. 28 June 2014. The Organisers will aim to release other details regarding the Forum in February 2014.
What if I need a visa to come to Budapest?
The Organisers will arrange a visa sponsorship invitation letter and any necessary proof of accommodation. You are responsible for filing your visa paperwork, including all applicable costs, as well as ensuring that you have a valid passport.
Will I need to show proof of eligibility if I make it to the final stage of the Challenge?
Yes. Prior to making travel arrangements for finalists, the Organisers requests that all finalists must provide proof of eligibility as outlined in Section II of the Rules of the Challenge. This proof must be sent via e-mail to the Organisers and include documentation from their undergraduate education institution, either through a certificate of enrolment, official letter on school letterhead, or diploma for recent graduates.
Who will pay for the costs of the trip?
The Organisers or its partner will cover the cost of travel (including visa application) and accommodation for each finalist to participate in the Forum. Participants are responsible for purchasing their own flights to and from Budapest (flight caps will be communicated to Forum participants). The Organisers will reimburse participants after the Forum has taken place (participants will need to submit their original boarding pass, proof of ticket purchase and any other travel receipts directly related to attending the Budapest Forum). No reimbursements will be made without proof of payment. The Organisers will not be responsible for any other costs that the participant may incur to participate in the Forum (e.g. costs for a valid passport, private consumption, or other incidental costs before, during or after the Forum), unless otherwise agreed by the Organisers.

In case of financial hardship, the Organisers could purchase the flight ticket on behalf of the Forum participants. To qualify for this support, Forum participants must send an e-mail request to the Organisers at with a description of circumstances. Support will be determined on an individual case basis.