Stanford Invitational Tournament

Our 2016 schedule of summer programs is now open for enrollment!

Parliamentary Debate

At SNFI we believe that there isn't a single "correct" way to do parliamentary debate, but rather that in order to succeed at the national level in both high school and college, parliamentary debaters need a well-rounded set of skills and the ability to borrow from numerous regional styles.  That belief is embodied in the staff we've assembled--at SNFI you'll work with some of the best minds in each parliamentary format!

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.  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.

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.

Director's Note:

Parliamentary debate offers high school students a unique opportunity to master a broad range of valuable skills – critical thinking, persuasive public speaking & knowledge of world affairs – that will help them succeed in the classroom & in the “real world” of business, government and community.

The fact that mastering these skills also translates into a high level of competitive success at the high school level is what makes parliamentary debate so rewarding to coach.

My goal in structuring this year’s SNFI Parliamentary Debate program is to make sure every student walks away with a deeper understanding of the fundamentals of persuasion, a variety of useful frameworks for debating questions of policy/value/fact, a toolbox full of proven tactics for first & second speakers, and a big-picture context for evaluating world affairs.

Since the norms of parliamentary debate vary from judge-to-judge & region-to-region, our goal is to broaden the tools & strategies that our students can use to succeed in any situation.  Rather than teach a one-size-fits-all method to parliamentary debate, the broad skills of our instructors and a newly expanded lecture/practice format is designed to give you the opportunity to drill down in areas of interest while maximizing your exposure to new perspectives and winning ideas.

I look forward to working with you all this summer to help you get more than ever out of your experience with parliamentary debate!

-Bryan St. Amant, Co-Division Director, SNFI Parliamentary Debate

2016 Parliamentary Debate Staff Members Include:

Check back closer to the start of camp for details on our 2016 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.

2015 Parliamentary Debate Staff Members Included:

Stanford National Forensic Institute - Bryan St. Amant (Division Director, Parliamentary)

Bryan St. Amant, Division Director, Parliamentary

Bryan St. Amant co-founded Windsor High School’s parliamentary debate program in 2007.  Under his leadership, Windsor has won or reached the final round of parliamentary debate at UOP, James Logan, Claremont, Bishop O’Dowd, Santa Clara Spring, the Windsor Invitational and the California State Championship.  In 2015, three Windsor parliamentary debaters finished in the top-10 in of the NSDA's national ranking, including the 1st & 2nd ranked parli debaters in the nation.  Bryan's unique perspective on persuasion and argumentation draws from his distinguished career as a marketing executive/CEO in addition to his experience as a national-circuit policy debater -- winning the California State Championship for Damien High School and serving as captain of the UC Berkeley debate team.  Bryan holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from UC Berkeley, an MS in Management from MIT, and is Founder & CEO of VinterActive LLC.

Stanford National Forensic Institute - Taylor Blackburn (Parliamentary Instructor)

Taylor Blackburn, Parliamentary Instructor

Taylor Blackburn is a recent graduate of Bates College, where she majored in Rhetoric and competed for the Brooks Quimby Debate Council in both British and American Parliamentary formats. She was champion of the Yale IV, Brandeis IV, and was the first American woman to win the United States Universities Debating Championship in 2014. She also proceeded to finals at the North American Universities Debating Championship, and twice to outrounds at the World University Debating Championship, where she was the top North American female speaker. While competing on the American Parliamentary Debate Association circuit, she received numerous team and speaker awards, including 4th place Team of the Year in 2014. Taylor will continue her debating career as a graduate student at Loyola Marymount University where she will begin her MFA this fall.

Stanford National Forensic Institute - Nick Cugini (Parli Instructor)

Nick Cugini, Parli Instructor

Nick began his debate career at Cypress Ridge High School in Houston, Texas. During his time there, he was a two-time state champion in Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking, a two-time state finalist in Student Congress and a finalist at the MBA Round Robin. During his senior year, he placed 3rd at the 2009 NFL National Championship in Domestic Extemporaneous Speaking. Nick went on to graduate from Yale University with a degree in political science. While competing with the Yale Debate Association, he won 9 individual tournaments, was a finalist at the APDA National Championship in 2012 and a semi-finalist at the World University Debating Championship in 2011. During the 2014-15 season, Nick coached the Yale Debate Association, which won its 7th consecutive Club of the Year Award. He currently serves as a coach for the Stanford Debate Society.

Stanford National Forensic Institute - Daniel Foltz (Parliamentary Instructor)

Daniel Foltz, Parliamentary Instructor

Daniel Foltz will be a freshman business student at Babson College in Massaschusetts where he plans on establishing a parliamentary team to continue his competitive career in college. He was a four-year parliamentary debater at Palos Verdes Peninsula HS, where he learned both traditional and progressive styles of parliamentary. Over his four years of competing, he won the Oxford Debates(twice), the Fullerton Invitational, and the Cypress College Invitational. He also reached semifinals at the Parliamentary Tournament of Champions, the Jack Howe Invitational, and  the La Costa Winter Classic. He spent four months ranked #1 nationally in his junior year and ended his senior year as the NSDA's #3 individual, along with receiving awards for 1st speaker at Jack Howe and Oxford and 5th place speaker in Worlds Debate at the National Championships. As a SNFI alumnus, he is ecstatic to be returning as a coach and hopes to share all that he's learned over the years with all campers. 

Stanford National Forensic Institute - Sebastian Miller (Parliamentary Instructor)

Sebastian Miller, Parliamentary Instructor

Sebastian Miller is an incoming freshman at the University of California, Berkeley, who plans to major in history. He competed in parliamentary debate for Windsor High School all four years of his high school career, and taught at the Windsor Debate Institute for three years during the summer. His competitive successes include winning the 2012 UOP invitational, placing 5th at the 2015 State Championship, and being ranked as the top parliamentary debater by the National Speech and Debate Association for the 2014-2015 debate season. Additionally, during his senior year, he reached quarterfinals or better at every invitational he attended, including the Long Beach Invitational, the UOP Invitational, the Colt Classic, the Wolf Pack Invitational, the MLK Invitational, the Stanford Invitational, the 2015 Tournament of Champions, and the 2015 California State Championship, while also winning top speaker at MLK. He plans to debate for Berkeley’s APDA debate team while preparing for a career in law.

Stanford National Forensic Institute - Nick Robinson (Parli Instructor)

Nick Robinson, Parli Instructor

Nick Robinson has over a decade of debate experience as a coach and competitor in LD, public forum, and parliamentary formats. He coached the Whitman College parliamentary debate team from 2009 to 2011, winning two NPDA season sweepstakes championships. In 2011, Whitman placed first or second at 10 different tournaments, qualified a record six teams to the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence and placed three teams in the top 10. As a competitor at Willamette University, he won 17 major speaking awards and finished his career ranked fourth in the country. In the fall, he will pursue a masters degree in political communication. He enjoys basketball, Calvin and Hobbes comic strips, and travelling.

Stanford National Forensic Institute - Zoe Seaman-Grant (Public Forum Instructor)

Zoe Seaman-Grant, Public Forum Instructor

Zoe graduated from Academic Magnet High School (SC) in 2013 where she was the captain of her team and competed in public forum. During her senior year she advanced to semifinals at the Blake tournament, octofinals of Blue Key, qualified to the Tournament of Champions, won the South Carolina District tournament, placed 2nd at the SC state tournament and finally finished 7th at NFL nationals. She is now a rising junior at Bates College in Maine where she studies English and women's and gender studies. In college, she competes in parliamentary debate, where she was a semifinalist at the 2015 national championship and advanced to elimination rounds at the Worlds University Debating Championship in 2015.

Upcoming Camps

1-Week Parliamentary Program

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 22 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 ...

2-Week Parliamentary Program

Our two week Parliamentary program will provide students with the opportunity to participate in more practice debates and attend more lectures with our faculty on theoretical and practical issues that are critical to success in Parliamentary debate.

Please view our one week Parliamentary program for more details of what a student will experience during the SNFI Parliamentary program.

Director's Note:

Parliamentary debate offers high ...

Worlds Schools Parliamentary

This camp will focus on the Worlds Schools style of Parliamentary debate.

More details will be posted late in the spring.