Stanford Invitational Tournament

May 1st is the deadline for guaranteed admission to your program of choice! To be guaranteed admission (so long as the program is not totally full), sign up online by May 1st and postmark the full tuition by May 4th.

View our 2019 schedule of programsNot sure about which program?  Review our "How to pick the right program" guide.

Policy Debate

The Stanford National Forensic Institute offers a unique national caliber program conducted by the Stanford Debate Society of Stanford University, a registered student organization of the Associated Students of Stanford University.  The SNFI Policy camp offers two, three and four week options.

The SNFI Policy division, across each of the programs, has received extremely positive feedback from past attending students. In particular, over the four years, over 95% of attending students said that they would recommend the program to others, and more than 90% of students have rated the quality and effort their instructor made on their behalf as a 9 or 10 out of 10 on their end of camp evaluation forms.

The Division Director for Policy Debate is Brian Manuel, the Director of Policy Debate at the Stanford Debate Society.

Director's Note

This summer begins my 13th year of competitive debate coaching. A lot has changed since I started in this activity, but I feel that summer debate institutes have been a constant that serve as the backbone for a truly successful debate career. Since taking over as the Director of Policy Debate at Stanford, I've dedicated my time to assembling a curriculum and staff that will hopefully live up to the expectations that coaches and students have for their summer institute experience. I've worked tirelessly to incorporate students' and coaches' feedback from previous summers along with gathering input from my extensive network of colleagues from all over the country. Utilizing this feedback I believe we can and will offer a one-of-a-kind learning experience for high school debaters at the Stanford National Forensic Institute this coming summer.

Our staff has over a century of combined debate institute experience. I've focused my efforts on increasing the ranks of active coaches at the SNFI, and in so doing we’ve been able to recruit a number of full time high school directors to join us, along with some of the best young minds in the debate world. I believe this carefully balanced staff will effectively bridge the gap between the high school and college debate communities. This year’s staff aren't just colleagues, but friends as well. We have a common bond with one another and work together to achieve a common goal, which is to provide the very best summer debate education for your kids.

Our curriculum has always been a trendsetter in the debate community. Our summer institute ranks as one of the oldest in existence and many of the top debaters and instructors in our activity have either attended or taught at the Stanford National Forensic Institute, or both. Some of the students who committed to multiple years with us, really having SNFI as their major camp experience throughout high school, went on to incredible success including winning top speaker at every major tournament in the country. Our approach is simple; we focus on the process over the product, and do our best to create the foundation from which students can be their own best and most reflective critic, and who can thus improve as rapidly as possible throughout the year. Your students will learn how to become a more well-rounded student of logic and rhetoric while at the SNFI. In addition, once your student leaves Stanford they'll return home able to provide guidance to help build and maintain a culture of excellence on each one of their squads. For students who apply themselves and learn the proper techniques the sky is the limit as to their success in this activity. Upon their return everyone who has the opportunity to work with them will see the leadership skills they’ve acquired over the summer. If they bring serious effort to improve to the table, we will match their efforts every step of the way.

These are just a few of the reasons that I believe if you give us the opportunity to work with your students, we can and will contribute to a truly exceptional experience not only during the camp but into the year beyond. In addition, you have my firm personal commitment that if you send your kids to us this summer to learn about policy debate that I will match the efforts of your students with equally or even more intensive efforts on my end. Whatever level of student you send to us, highly experienced or not, I will be personally monitoring everything that happens at our policy camp to make sure we are helping your students reach their most extreme potential. As a staff we will do everything we can to set them up for a tremendous and memorable competitive year in the season ahead. If at any point you need to reach me in reference to your students' progress, I will be available to you just as I will be to your students.

Thanks for considering the Stanford National Forensic Institute's policy program in your summer planning. I hope you will give me and the staff I've helped assemble the chance to work with you and your students this summer, and in the years to come! Please feel free to contact me directly if I can answer any questions for you about our program.

Sincere regards,

Brian J. Manuel
Director of Policy Debate
Stanford Debate Society; Stanford University

2019 Policy Debate Staff Members Include:

Check back closer to the start of camp for details on our 2019 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 and as we have complete biographic information available. Staff listing may not be fully up to date or reflect all hires to date.

2018 Policy Debate Staff Members Included:

Stanford National Forensic Institute - Brian Manuel (SNFI Curriculum Coordinator & Division Director, Policy & LD Debate)

Brian Manuel, SNFI Curriculum Coordinator & Division Director, Policy & LD Debate

Brian has been coaching debate for 17 years. He is widely recognized for unrivaled talent in creating and rebuilding programs from the bottom up. Brian is currently the Director of Policy Debate for the Stanford Debate Society at Stanford University, the Director of Debate for Edgemont Jr./Sr. High School in Scarsdale, NY, and a support consultant for the National Speech and Debate Association.

While the Director of Policy Debate at Stanford, Brian has rebuilt the program and most recently coached teams to 3rd place at the Cross Examination Debate Association and elimination rounds at the National Debate Tournament.  At Edgemont, Brian coached the 9th ranked policy debate in the country, four NY state championships in Policy Debate and Public Forum,  established a middle school debate program, and introduced the school to the format of Lincoln Douglas Debate.  In addition, he has had students compete on Capitol Hill in front of the House Judiciary Committee on the topic of Domestic Surveillance.

Prior to Stanford, Brian coached for Harvard University, Lakeland High School, Chattahoochee High School, Cathedral Preparatory School, and Scranton High School. 

Brian’s teams have cleared at virtually every major natural tournament they’ve attended.   He has coached the champions of the 2003 Big Bronx Invitational and 2008 Barkley Forum.  Additionally, Brian has had multiple teams in the elimination rounds of the Tournament of Champions, NDCA, NCFL, and NSDA National Championships with finals finishes in 2007 and 2012.  He has also coached the Phyllis Flory Barton top speaker in Policy Debate at NSDA Nationals in 2013.  Along with his tremendous tournament successes, Brian’s students have attended every major national round robin in the United States.

During the summer Brian serves as the Policy Institute Director at the Stanford National Forensic Institute and has previously taught at the Kentucky National Debate Institute, with the Fellows program, Capitol Debate Summer Institutes, Millennial Institutes, and the Georgetown Debate Seminar.

Stanford National Forensic Institute - Ian Beier (Policy Instructor)

Ian Beier, Policy Instructor

Ian Beier is currently a PhD student and assistant coach at the University of Kansas and the College Preparatory School. In 2017, KU cleared three teams to the elimination rounds of the National Debate Tournament and had one team in the quarter finals of the tournament. In 2016, KU qualified three teams to the National Debate Tournament and made it to the finals of the tournament. From 2013-2015, he coached at Damien High School. During this time, the debate team remained competitively successful and cleared at several national tournaments. In 2015, Damien High School made it to finals of the National Forensics League tournament.  Prior to his time at Damien, Ian was the Assistant Director of Debate at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas from 2010 to 2013. During that time, UNLV qualified six teams to the National Debate Tournament, qualifying with the top seed in the district in both 2012 and 2013.

Stanford National Forensic Institute - Eric Lanning (Public Speaking Instructor)

Eric Lanning, Public Speaking Instructor

Eric is the Academic Director for speech and debate at the National Speech and Debate Association of China. In the last two years there, he has helped expand access to english language speech and debate to thousands of new students and hundreds of new schools in dozens of provinces and cities across the People's Republic of China. Eric has helped coach champions in original oratory and public forum debate at every major tournament in mainland China as well as international competitions in Taiwan, Japan, Korea and the United States. Before joining NSDA China, Eric was an assistant policy debate coach at the Stratford Academy and Westminster Schools of Georgia, who respectively won the Baker award for season long excellence and back to back Tournament of Champions. As a debater in college, Eric won the 2010 National Debate tournament as well as prestigious Kentucky invitational and round robin tournaments, where he was also the top individual speaker. 

Stanford National Forensic Institute - Sydney Pasquinelli (Policy Instructor)

Sydney Pasquinelli, Policy Instructor

Sydney Pasquinelli is a Visiting Instructor at the University of Pittsburgh, where she is also a PhD Candidate in the Department of Communication. She has spent the past 7 years studying communication topics at an advanced level, but  came from a political science background at Wayne State University, where she also debated for four years and qualified to the National Debate Tournament twice. Sydney coached policy debate full-time at Wake Forest University from 2009-2011 and at University of Pittsburgh from 2011-2016, and has also coached part-time for Groves High School (MI), University of Oklahoma, and Edgemont High School (NY). She is excited to start coaching part-time for Stanford in the upcoming school year! Many of the teams Sydney has coached have achieved high levels of competitive success, both in regional and national circuits. She has instructed summer labs at the Spartan Debate Institute, the UMKC Summer Institute, and the Mean Green Workshops, but her favorite to work at is the Stanford National Forensic Institute!

Stanford National Forensic Institute - jon sharp (Policy Instructor)

jon sharp, Policy Instructor

jon sharp has been a debate coach for longer than you have been alive. He has coached for Emory, New Trier, West Georgia, the University of Southern California, and the University of Kentucky. He is currently the Director of Debate at the Georgetown Day School. As a college coach, jon has coached teams to the late elimination rounds of every major tournament in the country, including multiple CEDA National championships. As a newly minted high school coach, his teams have won Greenhill, the Greenhill Round Robin, and the Ohio Valley at the University of Kentucky. He has taught at more than 40 debate labs at the Bates, Berkeley, Emory, Kentucky, and Stanford debate institutes, including directing the Kentucky Fellows Program, the Berkeley Mentors, and the Stanford Swing Lab. His former lab students have won every national tournament on the schedule, including the TOC, and include multiple former TOC top speakers.

Upcoming Camps

1-Week Policy Debate Workout

The 1-Week Policy Debate Workout is only offered to students with specific scheduling needs and is not a standalone camp offering that is open to general signups.  SNFI does not suggest that students sign up for only this session as it is merely one week of a larger camp academic experience.

2-Week Core Beginners' Policy Program

NOTE: if you are looking for a beginning debate program and aren't sure if you are specifically intereested in policy debate, we suggest that you review our "how to choose the right program" guide.  We offer a camp for beginning students in each type of debate, although this is the only session sepcifically called "beginner."

The SNFI is proud to offer a policy debate...

3-Week Beginners' Policy Experience

The 3-Week Beginners' Policy Experience extends the 2-Week Core Beginners' Policy Program.  During the third week, students engage in practice debates with students in the 3-Week Core Policy Program to begin the process of transitioning to regular competition that they will face during the year and continue their preparation for the upcoming debate season!

3-Week Core Policy Program

Our approach each summer involves thinking of interesting ways to use the topic as a vehicle for teaching students how to compete successfully during the year. Our 3 Week program is designed to improve students’ critical thinking and strategy: taking well-reasoned argument and tying it to evidence researched by the students on any given topic, and enhancing that argument in later rebuttals with strong analysis and expert vision. Moreover, students should walk out of the SNFI exper...

4-Week Policy Experience

The 4-Week Complete Policy Experience combines our 3-Week Core Policy Program and our Intensive Practice Round Policy Session.  For more information on both programs, please visit their respective pages.

Policy Intensive Practice Round Session

The idea behind the Policy Four Week program is simple in concept, profound in effect. Debaters improve most by debating - especially when challenged by an experienced critic in a stop-and-go format, after which students redo rebuttals and receive extensive feedback. The Four Week Program is fully integrated with the Three Week program, but adds an additional week which focuses primarily on technique, practice rounds, and small group work sessions where students write frontlines and reo...