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The NSDA was originally founded as the National Forensic League, which Bruno E. Jacob of Ripon College in Wisconsin created in 1925 to motivate high school students to participate in speech and debate activities. Today, the organization’s mission is to connect, support, and inspire a diverse community committed to empowering students through speech and debate.
We envision a world in which every school provides speech and debate programs to foster each student’s communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creative skills.

Membership is the primary gateway to those benefits, but we also provide leadership in topic development, rule-making, and the setting of competitive and ethical standards that help facilitate the activity at a local and national level. Many resources we create or curate are publicly available for new coaches and programs to get started and create a fair and inclusive environment for speech and debate students.