Dear friends of rhetoric,
After a breath-taking debating tournament in 2013 and a flabbergasting final to celebrate our 20th anniversary last March, the FDA now moves on to the next stage of its development. In some cultures 21 years is considered the age of reason, in others it is the age of maturity – for us it will be age of Shakespeare! Yes indeed 2014 will also mark the 450th anniversary of the birth of the great Bard and at the FDA we have decided to celebrate this occasion by teaming up with the “Société Française Shakespeare”/“French Shakespeare Society” to turn our 2014 final into a truly memorable event.
(For more information on the other celebrations organized by the Shakespeare 450 Committee please go to: http://www.shakespeareanniversary.org/shake450/fr/ ).
We are also delighted to continue the expansion of our association by welcoming two new members this year: the Pôle Panthéon-Sorbonne pour les Nations Unies (Pôle ONU) at the University of Paris 1 and the Institut d'Étude des Relations Internationales (ILERI). We feel sure that they will add an extra dimension to the usual rhetorical cut and thrust already omni-present in our tournament. This brings the total number of our members to 22, of whom at least 19 will be participating in the 2014 edition.
The FDA is equally delighted and honored to once more have the enormous privilege of being granted the use of the Ballroom of the Hôtel de Lassay, Residence of the Speaker of the French National Assembly, as the sumptuous location for our final. I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank President Claude Bartolone, Speaker of the French National Assembly, for once more providing us with his confidence and placing our final under his ‘haut patronage’. We are truly grateful for this recognition and look forward immensely to providing both the President and the audience with as spectacular an event on March 31st, 2014, as last March (with William Shakespeare’s help).
We were also extremely privileged in being granted the opportunity by the British Ambassador, Sir Peter Ricketts and by Lady Ricketts, to hold one of our semi-finals at the Ambassador’s residence last March. We thank them both warmly for their continued support and look forward to celebrating another anniversary (to be announced) during our 2014 edition.
The FDA has always seen its remit as helping to encourage debating in whatever form in France and beyond. It is for this reason that I am delighted to announce that the first ever French School’s Debating Tournament in English took place this year under our auspices. Next year this particular event promises to be even greater. Our sincerest thanks go to our joint Schools’ Officers, Alice Bernard and Seadna O’Maoldomhnaigh, as well as to all the dedicated schools’ coaches, for their initiative and hard work.
In addition our “veterans’ section” continues to meet regularly and prove that there is still life after the FDA tournament.
I would also like to take this opportunity to encourage FDA supporters to throw their weight behind several other initiatives which we fully endorse:
The Transatlantic Debating Championship ( http://transatlantic-debates.com/ ), under the stewardship of Ian Sielecki, truly came of age in 2013 and is promising us a major event in late 2014 of spectacular proportions – we wish them the best of luck and will provide them with whatever assistance we can.
Similarly the Franco-British Comparative Project, ( http://www.fb-connections.org/ )under the presidency of Jean-Pascal Sibiet, has had a bumper year in 2013 and we encourage this initiative both in terms of debating and other cultural events.
2013 also saw the first ever World Debating Tournament in French organized by the Fédération francophone de débat ( http://federationfrancophonededebat.org/ ) and our congratulations go its President, Romain Decharne and to all its members for making this Francophone debating dream come true.
So, dear friends of rhetoric, we can certainly look forward to an action-packed debating year in 2014. The Executive Committee of the FDA (joint SecGens, Alice and Alaa, VP, Dorothée, PR Officer, Kathryn, the aforementioned Schools’ Officers) and all the extremely dedicated coaches and former debaters/judges, as well as myself, will certainly do our best to have the coming season live up to it promise.
Declan Mc Cavana,
French Debating Association