Welcome to the home of Columbia Debate, the official Parliamentary Debate Team of Columbia University in the City of New York!

We have a long history of success amongst intercollegiate debating societies in North America, and proudly represent Columbia University across the country and the world. The Columbia Debate Team is an institution dedicated to helping individuals express themselves, improve discourse, and enact positive change. Representing students with a wide variety of passions, our team is a home for thinkers of all backgrounds.

On this site you will find information on what we are all about. Use the navigation bar at the top of the page to find information about who the team is and how we are structured, how you can join us, and how to participate in either of the two tournaments we host throughout the year.

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american Parliamentary debate

Parliamentary debate is an off-topic, extemporaneous form of competitive debate which stresses rigorous argumentation, logical analysis, quick thinking, breadth of knowledge, and rhetorical ability over preparation of evidence. The format pits two two-person teams against each other in a contest of argument, wit and rhetoric which roughly simulates debate in a House of Parliament. The Government (proposing) team prepares and presents a case for debate based on a topic or resolution announced only 15 minutes before the beginning of the round. The Opposition attempts to rebut the Government's proposal through counter-argument and refutation.  A different resolution is debated in every parliamentary debate round. Resolutions are chosen from a wide variety of political, philosophical, economic, cultural and humorous topics, and debaters often have a broad scope in which to define the specific case for debate which is drawn from the resolution. For more information on American Parliamentary Debate, visit APDA’s website at apdaweb.org.

british parliamentary debate

British Parliamentary Debate is an extemporaneous format practiced by over 30 countries around the world and is the official debate format of the prestigious World Universities Debating Championship. Each round of debate calls for four teams of two. The team’s goal is not just to win the debate for their side, but for their team by generating unique arguments and frameworks. Topics range across politics, philosophy, economics, and culture, and debaters are given 15 minutes to prepare for every round. British Parliamentary holds a heavy emphasis on both rhetorical style and logical argumentation, making it very enjoyable for the average spectator when conducted at the highest level. For more information on British Parliamentary Debate, see the WUDC Debating and Judging Manual.