The HSPDS Mission

Pursuing Excellence in Public Speaking

The Harvard Speech and Parliamentary Debate Society is Harvard University's premier competitive debating organization, bringing students to American Parliamentary, British Parliamentary, and other tournaments across the US and the world. We have won more APDA National Championships than any other university and we consistently field one of the strongest and deepest teams year after year. In addition, we bring public debate and discourse to the Harvard student community, including last fall's wildly successful debate between Professors Noam Chomsky and Alan Dershowitz.

We are proud of our constitution's purpose statement: "The intent and purpose of the Harvard Speech and Parliamentary Debate Society (HSPDS) is to develop and pursue excellence in public speaking and oration in the Harvard community, and to represent Harvard University in intercollegiate speech and parliamentary debate competitions. In addition, HSPDS will seek to sponsor, organize, and run speech and parliamentary debate tournaments, public speaking events and demonstrations, and community service projects in the best interests of public speaking."

To these ends, we allow members of the Harvard community from any class, any school (including graduate schools), and any debating background to join our organization following the completion of a simple "comp" process. We put a high premium on training, practice, and commitment, but we strongly believe that unnecessary exclusion damages the potential of our organization.

If you would like to find out more, please e-mail our Comp Director, Kyle Bean, at .

Executive Board

Teamwork and Leadership

Unlike many student organizations of its kind, the Harvard Speech and Parliamentary Debate Society is entirely student-run. Most of the responsibility is shouldered by a group of five elected officers that comprise the team's executive board. Elected on an annual basis, the executive board has many responsibilities, including (but not limited to):

  • organizing the annual Harvard Debating Championships
  • training new members and helping them through the comp process
  • handling team finances to enable members to attend tournaments all around the world
  • representing HSPDS at American Parliamentary Debate Association meetings
Any comped member of the team is free to run for the executive board in elections usually held at the beginning of spring term. Currently, there exist five executive positions:

  • President: Head of the executive committee, principal representative of HSPDS, manager of HSPDS's parliamentary debate tournament schedule, and responsible for overseeing all of HSPDS's activities and committees.
  • Vice President of Campus Events: Organizer of HSPDS's parliamentary debate tournament and other events aimed at promoting public discourse on campus.
  • Vice President, Internal Development: Leads recruitment and training, administers all comp requirements, and maintains records of membership status.
  • Vice President, Finance: Maintains an accurate account of all team finances for regular review by the executive committee, produces a yearly budge, and coordinates all fundraising activities.
  • Vice President, Outreach: Organizes and maintains an alumni network, produces a team newsletter at least once each term, maintains the team website, and assists VP Finance with fundraising and sponsorship.

Current HSPDS Executive Board:


Kyle Bean, 2010

VP Campus Events

Cormac Early, 2010

VP Internal Development

Wes Hopkin, 2011

VP Finance

Jaymin Kim, 2012

VP Outreach

Alex Loomis, 2012

Members at Large

The five executive officers of the team appoint and work in conjunction with a group of officers known as members-at-large, who head various sub-committees created by the executive board and to help in the administration and organization of HSPDS.



Over a quarter of a century has passed since the founding of HSPDS in 1983, when a small group of students came together with what was then mostly a plan to spend a little time off-campus together with friends from other universities--and maybe hone their debate skills along the way. Never in their wildest dreams did they imagine that the team would have such longetivity as it has had, flourishing over the years to become one of the greatest competitive forces in American debate today. Each year, Harvard sends delegates from HSPDS to tournaments all around the world, including the annual World Universities Debate Championships, and the mark that we leave is indelible.

Yet, the central values of the team have remained fairly consistent throughout the decades, and perhaps it is this to which our success can be mostly attributed. We aren't talent scouts searching only for those who are able to get in front of a crowd and speak without batting an eye; many people join the team without any prior experience in public speaking, and many of our veteran members still know how it feels to have butterflies in their stomachs prior to a debate. Instead, we're simply a large circle of friends who love each other's company.

Past Executive Boards

President Dianna Wu
VP Campus Events Elizabeth Graber
VP Internal Development Kyle Bean
VP Finance Siodbhra Parkin
VP Outreach Anton Chaevitch
President Anthony Carlson
VP Campus Events Kyle Bean
VP Internal Development Andrew Laing
VP Finance Cormac Early
VP Outreach Dianna Wu
President Michael Birnbaum
VP Tournament Tim Hwang
VP Comp Director Allen Ewalt
VP Finance Karima Porter
VP Operations Connie Cheng
President Alexander Schwab
VP Tournament Zachary Cafritz
VP Comp Director Saw San Myat San
VP Finance Piotr Brzezinski
VP Operations Allen Ewalt
President Scott Lichtensten
VP Tournament Alexander Schwab
VP Comp Director Arianna Kelly
VP Finance Georgios Theophanous
VP Operations Rich Powell
President Alexander Blenkinsopp
VP Tournament Jason Wen
VP Comp Director David Kimel
VP Finance Faud Faridi
VP Operations Emily Dupraz

Last Update: April 1, 2009. E-mail us at with any corrections or technical issues.
The Harvard Speech and Parliamentary Debate Society is a registered student organization of Harvard College.