Newsweek covered the Minnesota Urban Debate League’s 11th annual Mayors Challenge event in Minneapolis this week. The coverage is part of Mightier, a partnership with the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues to illustrate the ways in which debate strengthens the skills young people need to promote civil discourse in a multicultural democracy.
The Mayors Challenge is an annual event at which exceptional high school debaters show off their skills and engage with local and state political leaders before a crowd of supporters. MNUDL, a program of Augsburg University, provides resources and programming to support competitive academic debate for more than 1,000 students at 40 partner schools in the Twin Cities.
“After the event, Abdihafid Mohamed was glowing,” wrote reporter Lauren Giella. “Not only did he feel the adrenaline rush of speaking in front of 200 people, but he also achieved his goal of meeting new people and making connections. Even though his side lost the debate, he said he felt like a “famous celebrity.” He was overwhelmed with people congratulating him on a job well done and exchanging cards, emails and LinkedIns.
“The highlight of the program, he said, was talking face to face with Mayor Frey. Sharing the stage with Frey, Attorney General Ellison, the governor and the first lady made Mohamed feel like he could one day be a leader in his community.
“”Being part of this [MNUDL], seeing them all, means that we’re not far from each other,” he said. “I have the opportunity and possibility to be in their shoes.””