UM Debate Wins 2018 Lafayette Debates!

UM Debate Wins 2018 Lafayette Debates!

Posted by brackman in Debate News

On Sunday, April 8, Leandra Lopez and Julia Lynch, representing The University of Miami, defeated student debaters from École de Guerre, the French War School to win the 2018 Lafayette Debates.  The final round was held at the French Embassy in the United States.  Leandra and Julia, as tournament champions, have also won a study tour of France sponsored by the French Embassy.

For the next year, The University of Miami will keep a truly remarkable “traveling trophy” symbolizing the deep and longstanding relationship between the United States and France, an elegantly framed map, “Carte Réduite Des Côtes Orientales De L’Amérique (1778).”

Issued during the American Revolution for use by the French navy and merchant marine, this two-hundred-and-thirty-five year old map of colonial America locates the city of “York”, also known as Yorktown, which soon after the map was issued was the scene of the French naval blockade that was the immediate cause of the surrender of Cornwallis and the end of the Revolution.

The Lafayette Debates is an annual civic debate series sponsored by the Embassy of France to the United States and George Washington University. This year’s topic focused on the 1968 Paris Revolt & General Strike and the closing statement was delivered by a judge who was a student in Paris at the time and intimately involved with the student civil disobedience that sparked the nationwide strike (after which he was expelled from Paris for a speech advocating the overthrow of the French government.)

This is the first time a team composed of two women has won the Lafayette Debates.  Leandra and Julia were also recognized as among the top ten speakers in the competition.  Leandra is a senior from Miami, majoring in Political Science with a minor in Communication Studies.  Julia is a sophomore from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, majoring in Legal Studies and Finance with a minor in Political Science.  As one of the top five teams in competition, the University of Miami received a bye into the quarterfinal round of the tournament where they defeated the team from Cornell.  In Semifinals, Miami won their debate over the top seeded United States Military Academy before facing Ecole de Guerre in finals.

Organized by the Higher Education Departments of the French Embassies to the United States in partnership with The George Washington University, The Lafayette Debates seek to promote international civil society and enduring relations between the United States and France by engaging tomorrow’s leaders today on the opportunities and challenges facing our rapidly globalized world. A core feature of The Lafayette Debates is the unique dialogue that emerges not only between the competing students, but also between the students and the French and U.S. professionals, scholars, soldiers, diplomats and others serving as judges for the competitions. This dialogue is continued on the Young Ambassadors study tour to Paris on which tournament champions explore the Lafayette Debates topic in conversations with leading French officials, academics and topic experts.

The Lafayette Debates tradition began in 1824 during the “hero’s tour” to the United States of General Marquis de Lafayette and his son, George Washington Lafayette. During the tour General Lafayette and son attended a meeting of the debate and literary society of the Columbian College and the Lafayette Debates became an annual tradition at the college (which later changed its name to The George Washington University.) The Lafayette Debates were revived in 2013.  Previous winners include Loyola Marymount University, Emory, The University of Michigan, Stanford, and Morehouse College.

During this summer, Leandra and Julia will visit Paris as part of The Young Ambassadors Program, an annual study tour to Paris awarded to tournament champions on which the debaters continue their exploration of the year’s topic firsthand in discussions with French diplomats, politicians, academics and other French thought-leaders. During the tour the tournament champions serve as “Young Ambassadors” for their country. Afterwards the debaters are inducted into the Young Ambassadors Alumni Network to promote ongoing transatlantic dialogue and networking.

For more information about the Lafayette Debates, you may visit  To learn more about UM Debate, visit   UM Debate is a co-curricular activity sponsored by the School of Communication.  The program is directed by Director of Debate David L. Steinberg and Assistant Director of Debate, Patrick Waldinger.  Participation is open to any full time UM undergraduate student.

10 Apr 2018