Stanford Invitational Tournament

We are currently accepting applications for our 2014 summer programs.  Sign up before your preferred session is full!

Parliamentary Debate

The Stanford Parliamentary Debate program returns this summer, bringing the same professionalism to parliamentary debate that SNFI has brought to policy debate and Lincoln-Douglas debate for the past 18 years. Serious student of parliamentary debate wanting to take their activity to the next level are encouraged to attend, as are those just beginning in this style of argumentation. A special Advanced section is planned for this summer. Small group activities ensure that students of all experience levels can be accommodated.

This exclusive one-week programs feature:

The camp is held in an intimate setting that allows plenty of question and answer sessions and one-on-one interaction with instructors, not just rote learning. Students are allowed to develop in a relaxed and supportive atmosphere with excellent supervision. Students will emerge from the program as more confident public speakers and as experts on the rules, style, and strategies of parliamentary debate, ready to compete in the fall.

Director's Note

If you want an opportunity to learn all manners of arguments and debating cultures, parliamentary debate is the format for you! Parliamentary is the most popular form of debate in the world and the most popular form of collegiate debate in the United States, and I have traveled all over the world in academic conferences and taking high school competitors to tournaments. It is a format that is accessible to students of all different background and perspectives, and, since the topic changes every single round, emphasizes knowledge and research in a breadth of issues.

My name is Matt Vassar, and I, for the fourth year, will be returning as the director of the parliamentary debate camp (and for the sixth year, as an instructor at the Stanford National Forensic Institute). With a master’s degree in communication, I’ve spent all of my adult life in education, and have trained students as far as the semi-final round at the elite International Tournament of Champions and the semi-final round of the North American Debating Championships. I am joined by a truly extraordinary staff with impressive accolades of their own, and a dedication to teaching and learning.

The camp is rigorously structured in such a way that emphasizes both theory and practice, with classroom lessons running from morning to night, and exemplary instruction offered throughout. In the context of only a week-long camp, there will be an extraordinary fifteen (15) practice rounds evaluated by professional critics who are college competitors and coaches; the fifteen rounds comprise roughly one-third of the total time spent at camp. The rest of the time is spent learning communication theory from professionals and academics, practicing strong research methods, and utilizing small-group exercises to enhance the students’ understanding of the techniques taught. The fundamental premise is that through a combination of theory and practice, the students will not only understand how to write speeches with strong argumentative rigor, but also how to present them in an effective manner to their colleagues and critics.

Parliamentary debate is the most popular form of debate in the world, and it’s only growing. By emphasizing a liberal education approach to debate, where breadth of knowledge is placed at a premium, it is enjoyable to students of all different backgrounds and approaches. At SNFI, we take a student’s passion for debate and argumentation, and use it in order to teach them life skills such as effective presentation, critical thinking skills, and research in an academic setting.

-Matt Vassar, Parliamentary Academic Dean


2014 Parliamentary Debate Staff Members Include:

Check back closer to the start of camp for details on our 2014 staff

We will continue to add additional staff members as enrollment and availability dictate. Details are posted on additional staff members as they are confirmed.


2013 Parliamentary Debate Staff Members Include:



Upcoming Sessions
* Tentative and Subject to Change

No Sessions Currently Scheduled For This Camp