American Parliamentary Debate Association



League Information

Parliamentary debate is designed after the style of platform debate of Oxford University. Parliamentary debate is an extemporaneous form of debate that stresses logical reasoning, rhetoric, and persuasive speaking skills over preparation. This form of debate is modeled after the type of debate used in the House of Parliament; it has two, two member teams battling one another in a contest of wit and rhetoric. A topic is given to the competitors fifteen minutes prior to the debate, and then the Proposing team (called Government) makes the proposition and the Opposition opposes. The American Parliamentary Debate Association (APDA) was, as stated on their official website, “like so many of us, conceived in the back seat of a Ford (as stated on the leagues website).” David Martland and Richard Sommer from Princeton and David Bailin and J. J. Gertler of Amherst were all driving together for holiday after the conclusion of the first Parliamentary World Championships held at Glasgow. They were discussing how dysfunctional Parliamentary Debate competition was due to lack of structure and the event’s ever growing size. Finding places to compete at was challenging as well due to there only being three leagues in the U.S., all in various places across the country. Thinking they had to develop some way to structure and regulate all leagues, the task seemed daunting. That was until someone realized they could just form their own league! Not soon after, the APDA asked all interested schools to send a representative to help vote for officers and to submit a date of request for the first season (1981-1982). The APDA is fairly free-form. Most rules are tournament specific and this allows for every tournament to have their own unique ticks and irregularities. The mission statement of the league is to simply allow and promote competition.

Key Officers 

President: Adam Goldstein

Vice President of Operations: Alex Taubes

Vice President of Finance: Samantha Hynes

Member at Large: Rich Boltizar

Member at Large: Pam Brown

Member at Large: Will Crocker

Events Offered 

Parliamentary Debate

2009 Finalists 

Teams of the Year: 2009 Princeton: Daniel Rauch and Zayn Siddique

National Champions: 2009 Yale: Andrew Rohrbach and Grant May