History & Past Winners

The Lafayette Debates has a nearly two hundred year history highlighting the longstanding relationship between the United States and France and our countries shared intellectual traditions of political dissent and democratic debate.

During General Lafayette's 1824 “hero’s tour” of the United States celebrating his role and the role of France in the American Revolutionary War, General Lafayette and his son George Washington Lafayette were received by the debate and literary society of the Columbian College (later renamed, The George Washington University) and G.W. Lafayette took the floor for a debate with society members. Afterwards, the two Lafayettes accepted honorary membership into the Society and the occasion was commemorated by a debate series entitled, "The Lafayette Debates" in their honor.  

In 2013, the Embassies of France and Germany and The George Washington University collaborated to create a unique civic debate event, The Elysee Treaty Debates. The event was an enormous and popular success and the French Embassy and The George Washington University resolved to build on this success by reviving The Lafayette Debates as an international platform for student dialogue and debate in the belief that now, more than ever, a vigorous and respectful transatlantic dialogue is of the utmost importance not only to the citizens of the French Republic and the United States, but also the world.

Past Winners

2017-18 Lafayette Debates

University of Miami

2016-17 Lafayette Debates

Morehouse College

2015-16 Lafayette Debates

Stanford University

2014-15 Lafayette Debates

University of Michigan

2013-14 Lafayette Debates

Emory University

2012-13 Lafayette Debates (Elysee Treaty Debates)

Loyola Marymount University