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Lafayette Debates

In 2013, the Embassy of France in the U.S. and the George Washington University first partnered to organize what would become The Lafayette Debates, a debate tournament that would invite students from top universities across the country to engage in discussions of policy and practice regarding important issues of the day.

The Lafayette Debates are an international debate series which aim to promote dialogue and relations between the United States and France by engaging future leaders on timely topics of mutual interest

In 1824, General Marquis de Lafayette made his “hero’s tour” of the United States to celebrate the bond forged between France and the United States on the battlefields of the Revolutionary War. During his tour, General Lafayette stopped at a small college in the heart of Washington, D.C. and was honored by the college’s debate and literary society.

The school, then known as Colombian College, would later be renamed The George Washington University. The debate and literary society that hosted General Lafayette is still active today. And 193 years later, the University, the debate and literary society, and the Franco-American bond all remain strong.

Students that participate in the Lafayette Debates receive feedback and input on their debate performance from leading diplomats, scholars, topic experts, and professionals. Participating students also have the opportunity to win fully funded study tours to Paris to explore the topic more deeply.