Our CEO David Sutherland was awarded the 2022 Laurence H. Tribe Distinguished Alumni Award on March 31, 2022 at the opening ceremony of the 2022 National Debate Tournament at the James Madison University. The award was given in recognition National Debate Tournament alumni who have used their debate training to make significant contributions to their profession, to society, and to humanity.
David, alongside his debate partner (and brother) Dan, was the national intercollegiate debate champion in the United States in 1982.
“Debate did teach me a very important set of life skills,” David shared in his acceptance speech. “A great debater looks at the list of arguments and says there are only two or three things that are going to determine who wins and loses this debate…if you want to win the debate you have to focus on the things that are going to make a difference. It was a lesson in debate and that was a lesson in life as well.”
After graduating college, David wanted to focus on what is the most important issue in the world that he can help address. He felt that the core issue that faces humanity is global poverty, because it afflicts billions of people in the world. This eventually led him to International Care Ministries and leading the organization in transforming the futures of people living in ultra-poverty in the Philippines, Uganda, and Guatemala.
“I heard somebody say else say, and this makes sense, ‘Human beings tend to overestimate what they can accomplish in one year, and they underestimate when they can accomplish in a decade.’ That rang true for me as well,” Dave continued in his speech.
In closing, Dave encouraged the debaters in attendance to “Use the years that are to come to make a difference in your lives. Our world has huge problems and I suggest you start by identifying the issues that resonate with you. You should be tenacious and stick with those issues for decades to come so you can leave a legacy.”
Watch David’s full speech in the video below: