Explo's Executive Director and President traveled around the country as a part of the production team for the Commission on Presidential Debates. Back at Explo Headquarters, our team launched Join the Debates in an effort to engage high school students in conversation about world issues.
With just over a week until the United States presidential election, we wanted to take a moment to thank all who participated in our collaborative project, Join the Debates (JTD). Together with the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) and the debate host institutions, Explo ran an educational outreach program for high school students from around the world. JTD featured lively conversation among small groups of high school students from different backgrounds and communities, guided by a trained facilitator.
The inspiration for Join the Debates came from Explo’s executive director and president, Moira Kelly, who has been involved with the CPD since 2000. Every four years, Kelly leaves Explo Headquarters to serve as an associate producer for the debates. She coordinates with the host institutions--various colleges and universities-- and works tirelessly to ensure that the presidential and vice presidential debates run smoothly.
This election season, Kelly took on an additional role with the CPD, as Director of Education & Outreach. This is a natural fit for Kelly, who has devoted her career to education and innovation. Kelly spearheaded the JTD initiative and coordinated with the CPD, contacts at each of the colleges and universities where the debates were held, and even put together a student advisory committee, primarily comprised of Explo student alumni.
Many high school students stayed up late to watch the debates live, and then hopped online to meet with peers for engaging in conversation about what they saw and heard. Most importantly, they got a chance to share what they think--and to be heard. High schoolers, very often highly informed, deeply inquisitive, and quite analytical (perhaps even more than adults!), frequently feel overlooked. These students were thrilled to have the opportunity to discuss world issues with a group equally committed to understanding the facts while maintaining respect for one another.
For her part, Kelly stayed busy with a full slate of debate responsibilities, traveling from one town to the next, participating on a panel presenting to the International Debate Network, coordinating volunteers, and occasionally posing for a can’t-miss photo opp (shown above at Lynn University with some notable players in this race).