The French Debating Association was founded in 1993 with the main aim of encouraging and promoting the fine art of public speaking and debating in France. Twenty years later, its principal goal has not changed and it still fosters this notion through all its endeavours. However the years have seen the association’s methods and scope broaden. It is thus with great pleasure that in this twentieth anniversary year of the foundation of our association I welcome the various initiatives which have sprung up with the support of the FDA.
Our own Veterans' Association now meets regularly and is a forum for exchange and the renewal of old friendships forged through debating. Its debates are fluid and spirited and take place in venues fitting for such events. Our Vets Officer, Omar Lyachi, must take great credit for this.
After several years of planning, the FDA, in association with several Parisian area high schools, has finally managed to get a mini-schools competition off the ground. This initiative will no doubt continue to flourish in the coming years. Its success is in no small way due to our joint Schools’ Officers, Alice Bernard and Seadna O’Maoldomhnaigh.
The Franco-British Comparative Project, under the presidency of Jean-Pascal Sibiet, has now established itself as a serious player on the Parisian debating circuit and the FDA is always delighted to both support and provide judges for all its debating events.
Révolte-toi, an association for debating in French, set up by students of Assas, Polytechnique and Télécom Paris Tech, many of whom are former FDA debaters and who cut their rhetorical teeth in our tournament, is thriving. The FDA is glad to support such an initiative and to provide logistical help to debating in any form, in any language.
The Trans-Atlantic Debating Tournament based in Sciences-Po fell into silence for several years but will be back in great style in April 2013 now that its co-founder, Ian Sielecki has returned to the Parisian debating scene. Again the FDA is happy to lend its full backing to such an event.
However the jewel in the crown of the FDA is, of course, its 20th anniversary tournament. Once again the new competition is marked by an increase in the number of teams participating and we are happy to welcome Paris Dauphine University to the fold this year.
We would also like to thank the British and Irish ambassadors and their respective embassies for permitting us to hold our two semi-finals in those prestigious buildings in early March 2013.
Our greatest joy is to announce that the new President/Speaker of the French National Assembly, Mr. Claude Bartolone, has thrown his full weight behind our tournament and not only has granted his ‘haut patronage’ for the event but has accepted to allow the ballroom of his residence, the Hôtel de Lassay, to be the venue for our twentieth anniversary final – the FDA is truly grateful to him for so honouring us.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the entire circle of dedicated coaches and teachers who give so much to make our tournament the success it is but I would particularly like to mention our co-Secretaries General, Cécile Oliver-Leblond and Céline Rouquette who along with our Vice President, Dorothée Butigieg and our PR Officer, Kathryn English allow the whole event to actually take place through their diligence and service.
Our aim is to encourage debating, exchange, cross-over in whatever shape, form or language it may take. We also have a penchant for allowing all of the above to occur in an atmosphere of fair-play, fun and felicity. The first nineteen years of our existence have been devoted to such endeavours, we hope that our twentieth anniversary year will live up to the high standard already set. I believe that with the help, support and complicity of all our friends, veterans and newcomers this year should be a vintage one for the FDA.
Declan Mc Cavana
President of the FDA