About Us

Hello! We are the MDU, the Manchester Debating Union, which encompasses all university debating based in Manchester. Since we were founded in 1996, we have grown to be one of the UK’s most active debating societies. Becoming a member of the MDU grants you the opportunity to actively participate in university life.

We are primarily based at the University of Manchester, and accept members from all of Manchester’s institutions of higher education. 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 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 persuasive arguments, and see issues from all sides. The MDU also hosts social events for our members to get to know one another as well as form valuable networks.

We hosted the European Universities Debating Championships in 2013, the second largest debate tournament in the world.

We have a huge range of activities across the year – like our Facebook page for notifications for details on what exactly is coming up.

Some of our regular activities include:

  • Tuesday Novice Training: An opportunity for everyone to improve their own speaking skills. Generally, there will be a seminar on an aspect of debating and then we break off into small groups where you can participate in drills or practice debating without the pressure of an audience. No prior knowledge or experience is required.
  • Monday Intermediate Training: Our intermediate sessions are for enthusiastic members who are familiar with competitive BP debating and are looking to take the next step to train competitively. Training will go further into depth about debate strategy and technique.
  • 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. The MDU will subsidise your participation at many competitions. We also hold two competitions each year, the Manchester IV and Manchester Schools.

Interested in joining?