Students began to debate competitively in the 1890s, with ad hoc debates between Harvard and Yale. A more formal association of Ivy League debaters began in 1908, when Harvard, Princeton, and Yale agreed to hold three annual debates, known together as Triangulars. Debaters at each college fiercely competed before their faculty members for the coveted slots. These were high-caliber debates: overflowing audiences watched each debate, and judges and presiding officers included university presidents, mayors, U.S. Court of Appeals judges, and even the former U.S. president Grover Cleveland. The debates were avidly watched by the public, even reported on by widely circulating newspapers like The New York Times. One Times journalist remarked in 1896, "It is generally as important to win this debate [Harvard vs. Yale] as to win the football debate in the fall."
This competition aims to expose participant students to the issues of the world and law and to legal American debate techniques. Also, it provides a platform for students to voice out their opinions on current world issues and exploring various solutions to this crisis. Above all, students are able to leverage on this opportunity to improve and demonstrate their debating and public speaking skills.
José Manuel Martínez Sierra: Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Harvard University
César Álvarez Alonso: Institute for Global Law and Policy. Harvard Law School
Ana María Fúnez: Judicial Debate Council
Co-Sponsor: Harvard European Law Association