The Manchester Debating Union (MDU) is a place where all students of Manchester are welcome to engage in free speech, debate, and merriment. We aim to produce competitive debaters of high-calibre whilst ensuring membership of the society is a pleasurable experience for all. We also aim to be a positive, non-politically affiliated force within Manchester, fostering partnerships with both the university as a whole and the wider community.

Hello! We are the MDU, an award-winning society (Best Politics and Debate Society, UMSU 2012 and 2011) based in Manchester, est. 1996.

We organise the participation of Manchester students in inter-varsity debating competitions, arrange public debates, and host our own competitions at university and school level. We teach people how to speak in public, form cogent arguments, and see issues from all sides. Then we go out and party.

We are primarily based at the University of Manchester, and accept members from all of Manchester’s institutions of higher education, including the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), the University of Salford, and BPP courses. The MDU was founded in 1996 and has since grown to be one of the UK’s most active debating societies.

Our goal is to open up debate and public speaking to everyone. We want as many people as possible to get the chance to see great public speaking and learn how to express their own ideas.

We have a huge range of activities across the year — join our Facebook group and check out the calendar for details on what exactly is coming up.

Some of our regular activities include:

  • Tuesday Training: An opportunity to improve your own speaking skills. Generally, there will be a seminar on an aspect of debating and then we break off into small group sessions where you can practice debating without the pressure of an audience.
  • Thursday Debates: Experienced speakers from the MDU, representatives of student societies, invited experts, academics, and politicians debate topical issues. If you want to get involved you can raise questions from the floor or just sit back and watch.
  • Competitions: Most universities that debate hold their own competitions. They range from small, close-to-home competitions to world-championships with a budget of millions and a range of global locations. MDU membership entitles you to subsidised attendance at many competitions.

The MDU constitution.

Interested in joining?