Harvard Debate Council Diversity Project (HDCDP) is an Atlanta-based program that provides Black youth access and exposure to accelerated academic training in critical thinking, communication, and civic engagement. HDCDP seeks to matriculate underrepresented students into the Harvard Debate Council's summer residency at Harvard University.
Founded in 2017, HDCDP is a subsidiary of the Harvard Debate Council at Harvard College. Brandon Fleming, Assistant Coach of Debate at Harvard University, founded the diversity pipeline program to fulfill the Harvard Debate Council’s desire to increase minority representation at the summer residency. Fleming organized an executive board comprised of Atlanta’s influential community leaders and launched the initiative in Fall 2017. In the inaugural year, over 150 applications poured in from counties throughout Metro Atlanta. In January 2017, 25 students were selected to represent Atlanta’s inaugural class of HDCDP, who went on to make history by dominating the tournament at the Harvard Debate Council summer residency.
what are the benefits of hdcdp?
Pre-collegiate training - In Atlanta, students undergo a rigorous 10-month intensive training regimen in which they will explore content higher than what is available in a traditional high school setting. Students are exposed to rigorous academic content in the subjects of political science, philosophy, sociology, rhetoric, and much more.
Study at Harvard - Students accepted into this program are simultaneously accepted into Harvard Debate Council's summer residential program at Harvard College. This exclusive educational experience provides unmatched future advantages to our students. (Consider sponsoring a student by clicking here.)
Enhance college application & professional resume - Academic achievement is not enough for top-tiered colleges & universities; they desire students with leadership acumen. HDCDP students gain exclusive leadership experiences that will enhance their college application and build their professional resume.
What do we do?
HDCDP seeks to develop the young social and political voice through our 3 pillars:
1.) Scholarship: An incubator for academic excellence – Our goal is to train citizens and leaders of the world, which requires global consciousness. Students will explore international issues through a rigorous curriculum centered on critical thinking, research, analysis, and academic debate. Students are taught by Harvard instructors, during which they identify, cultivate, and use their voice in matters of social and political justice.
2.) Leadership: A launchpad for young leaders – The fact that young people do not have a vote in elections does not mean they shouldn’t have a voice. This program provides exposure to the challenges that confront today’s voting public through unique non-partisan experiences engaging in local politics and community activism in the city of Atlanta.
3.) Culture: A hub for cultural pride - We seek to cultivate cultural ambassadors that reform the meaning of scholarship into one that is appealing and accessible to black youth. We endeavor to foster a sense of cultural pride through the exploration of African-American history, leadership, and erudition. Our charge is to develop students that will embody the principle, “Lift as you climb” - ascending the ranks of social status while reaching back to pull others up, too.