Debates and Dialogue Committee About Us


About the Hart House Debates and Dialogue Committee

Our Mandate

The Hart House Debates & Dialogue Committee provides University of Toronto students opportunities to find and develop their capacity for self-knowledge and self-expression. It does so in two principal ways:

First, it organizes events in which important topics of the day are discussed and explored. These can be panel discussions, guest lectures, or more formal debating events. Whatever the format, students participate with invited speakers and panelists, both in the event itself and in the question and discussion periods which are a part of each event. These events not only provide the student population at large with opportunities for public discussion, they also give committee members and volunteers the chance to learn how to organize and promote such public discussions.

Past topics include the limits of free speech in a pluralistic, democratic society, sharia law in Ontario, H1N1, Religion and Science, and debates among political candidates at the mayoral, provincial and federal level.

Second, the Debates and Dialogue Committee co-operates with the Debating Club in enriching the opportunities for student debating. The Committee organizes several tournaments in House and liaises with the Debating Club over the selection of, and fundraising for, students to represent Hart House in the World Debating Championship.

Although these two principal activities are different, they are bound together as ways to enable students to enhance their skills at participating, in the broadest sense, in the wider world of dialogue and expression that sustains our political life and allows for a multiplicity of voices in civil society in general.

Past Speakers

Author Christopher Hitchens
Linguistics Professor Noam Chomsky
Former Ontario Premier Bob Rae
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May
Former Prime Minister John Turner
Former Minister of Finance Michael Wilson
Former US President John F. Kennedy
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs Bill Graham

Committee Members

Chair: Venus Wang
Treasurer: Andrew Irwin
Community Outreach Lead: Megan Liu
First Year Representative: Agnes Priscilla Layarda
Communications Officer: Hui Wen Zheng
Recording Secretary: Qiwei Shao
UTM/UTSC Outreach and Liaison: Rajpreet Sidhu
Steward: Arunoshi Singh

Members at Large (4): Benjamin Levy (Business & Science Subcommittee Lead), Mira Pijselman (Arts & Culture Subcommittee Lead), Adrien Blanchard (Politics & Law Subcommittee Lead), Emily Wuschnakowski (Social Justice Subcommittee Lead)