UKIC / Office of China Initiatives / Academies / Public Speaking

Public Speaking

About the UK High School Public Speaking & Debate Camp

The High School Public Speaking & Debate Camp offered by UK Intercollegiate Debate provides a unique opportunity for students to learn how to utilize research strategies and collect evidence to craft arguments in a cross-cultural environment. The Office of China Initiatives works with Intercollegiate Debate to recruit high school student applicants from China to participate in this camp, for which no prior experience is required. Furthermore, an optional English placement test is available for participants from China, so that camp instructors can tailor activities to their language needs.                                                    

Through a combination of labs and guest lectures, the students will learn how to analyze and adapt to various audiences by developing speech content that meets the expectations of their rhetorical situations. Ultimately, this camp will help inspire confidence in our students to effectively deliver their arguments to live and mediated audiences.  

The next UK High School Public Speaking & Debate Camp will take place in Summer 2018 with exact dates to be determined. Please check back as we will post these dates soon! 


  • For interested high school students in China, contact Kathryn T. Bliss, OCI Coordinator, at
  • For interested students in the U.S., click here for more information
  • Camp Location: Lexington, Ky.

Cost Overview

Pricing includes the full cost of instruction, housing in a secure campus dorm and three meals from campus dining or close off campus restaurants.   

We accept applications on a rolling basis, and if we do not accept your child for any reason we will refund the full amount.  

Tuition can be paid in installments, but at least $500 must be paid each subsequent month after the initial registration. The deadline for final payment will be announced soon.


Cost Breakdown:

  • UK High School Public Speaking & Debate Camp: $2895 
  • Registration Deposit (non-refundable): $250  

Sample Itinerary of a Day at Camp

  • 9 am: Lecture — Introduction to Research
  • 10-12 pm: Group Work on Topic Research
  • 12 pm: Lunch (Provided)
  • 1-2 pm: Lecture — Speech Organization & Oral vs. Speech Writing Skills
  • 2 pm: Lecture — Delivery Skills
  • 2:30 pm: Break
  • 3 pm: Group Work on Speech Delivery
  • 4-5 pm: Group Work on Developing Informative Speeches about the Topic

Camp Senior Faculty

Brian Manuel
Brian Manuel

Brian is currently Director of Debate for the Stanford Debate Society at Stanford University as well as the Director of Public Forum & Policy Debate at Edgemont High School in New York. Prior to Stanford, Brian Coached for Harvard Debate, Lakeland High School, Chattahoochee High School, Cathedral Preparatory School, and Scranton High School.

Bilal Butt

Bilal Butt is the Assistant coach at Audrey Kell High School in Charlotte, North Carolina. Recently, Bilal graduated from North Carolina State University, where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry. Prior to coaching Public Forum, Bilal coached Congress, with a top 6 finish at Wake, Bronx, Glenbrooks, Laird Lewis, Emory ’15, Harvard, NSDAs, and TOCs.

Camp Guest Lecturers

Trevor Wells

Trevor Wells, one of the Miller|Wells firm’s founding partners, focuses his law practice in the appellate courts, both state and federal, of the two states where he is licensed to practice law, Kentucky and Indiana. Trevor works with former judges and justices and assists other attorneys to file compelling briefs and deliver powerful and convincing oral arguments. Trevor will be working with students on making persuasive arguments in any context and understanding legal arguments

Dave Arnett

Dave Arnett is the Director of Debate at the University of Kentucky. His teams has been ranked in the top ten nationally each of the last three years. He has twice been named the National Debate Coach of the Year. Before arriving at Kentucky, he was the Director of Debate at the University of California, Berkeley. In his twelve years there he coached ten teams ranked in the top five nationally, including coaching the top team in the nation on three separate occasions.