The Lafayette Debates is an international platform for student dialogue and debate founded by the Embassy of France to the United States and The George Washington University 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 France and the United States, but also the world.
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. The Lafayette Debates were revived in 2013 by Emilienne Baneth-Nouailhetas, former Attache for University Cooperation, and Paul S. Hayes, Director of Debate for The George Washington University Debate & Literary Society. For more information on the history of the Lafayette Debates, click here.
The 2021 Lafayette Debates U.S. National Championship will be held online on Saturday to Sunday, April 24-25, 2021. The championship rounds of the debates will be judged by topic experts and stakeholders recruited by the Embassy of France. For 2021 and beyond, Lafayette Debates tournament information will be available here.
The 2021 Lafayette Debates will challenge U.S. students to scrutinize the following topic, "Governments should impose civil and/or criminal penalties on social media companies providing platforms for violent extremism." During the debates, students will research and critique the tension between free speech and violent extremism. Debates will occur online.