AP Government students participate in senatorial debate Groups will focus on foreign policy

Government teacher Joseph Juliano helps to clarify any questions students have. Students were required to offer their own recommendations for the policy that reflected their personal opinions on the topic. "The foreign policy debate is a unique assignment," senior Anna Liang said. "My role in this debate is to persuade chosen students that the most powerful country in the world, the United States, should guide other governments based on U.S. principles. This is because globalization has created threats that the U.S. needs to address, as the international community has relied on us to maintain peace and order under democracy and free trade." Photo Credit: Zhen Wen

For those who have thought about what it is like to be a U.S. Senator, seniors in Mr. Joseph Juliano’s AP Government & Politics class participated in a Foreign Policy Debate.

“This project is designed to help students understand foreign policy and the debates that surround our government’s actions abroad,” Juliano said. “I expect that students will be able to support their positions with clear evidence and reasoning.”

To persuade the committee, students will be divided into groups and will be called upon to testify on Foreign Relations of the U.S. Senate.

“I’m hoping to learn a lot more about foreign policies and how us as teenagers, going into the adult world, are essentially going to be voting to pass policies and acts that could essentially change things for America,” senior Cecilia Gonzalez said.

While reviewing scholarly articles and legal documents, students will consider four distinct alternatives for U.S. Foreign Policy. They will then be asked to offer their own policy recommendations that reflect their personal beliefs and opinions.

“I hope to see a lively debate that encourages the exchange of opposing views,” Juliano said. “[The activity] is a role play, so I hope that students will have some fun with it and act in the role of experts and senators in order to have an engaging experience.”

Members in each of the groups will choose one of the “policies that should be pursued” as their topic during their testimony. Students will be asked follow-up questions and will be graded on how well they present their option. Each group will have four minutes to present their position while the committee decides on the option that will be adopted.

“I hope students will gain some understanding about the complexity of policy making,” Juliano said. “This assignment should help them appreciate the tough decisions that need to be made in a powerful country like the United States when it comes to how we use that power.”