About the committee
Established in 1919, the Hart House Debates and Dialogue Committee (HHDDC), has been deeply involved in enriching student life at the University of Toronto for over a millennium. Today, it continues to provide University of Toronto students with opportunities to discover and develop their capacity for leadership, self-expression, and communication.
To do so, the Hart House Debates and Dialogue Committee organizes events in which important topics of the day are discussed and explored. Founded on the mission to protect and uphold the principles of free speech and debate in Canada, the HHDDC has hosted leaders in every field, including heads of state, senior Cabinet officials, filmmakers, business leaders, activists, poets, policymakers, and philanthropists. Some of our most notable speakers include John F. Kennedy, Adrienne Clarkson, Noam Chomsky, John Turner, Brian Mulroney, John Tory, Margaret Atwood, Christopher Hitchens, Marie Henein, and Atom Egoyan.
More recently, the Hart House Debates and Dialogue Committee has moved beyond traditional economics and foreign policy discussions to engage a more diverse set of audiences; those interested in issues within arts, sciences, technology, social justice, and the environment should find a home with us. Whether it be in the form of large panel discussions, keynote addresses, or more intimate and experiential sessions, students and community members alike are invited and encouraged to participate in the dialogue.
Always student-curated and organized, our events provide committee members and volunteers valuable lessons and hands-on experience in navigating the pressing issues of their day. The committee also maintains its shared roots with the Hart House Debating Club, working hand-in-hand to provide enriching debating opportunities for students. In addition to hosting an annual Alumni Debate, the HHDDC also assists the Debating Club in the selection of students to represent Hart House in the World University Debating Championships.
As one of the most prestigious student-led organizations in Canada and the only student group directly funded by the University of Toronto to invite speakers and curate discussions on issues that matter, the Hart House Debates and Dialogue Committee has a unique mandate to create accessible and diverse spaces for thought-provoking discourse.
In the recent past, we've hosted panels and keynotes such as:
Canada's Economic Trends | featuring Former Prime Minister John Turner
The Past, Present, and Future of Canadian Foreign Policy | featuring the Honourable Bill Graham
The 2016 US Election: Populism and Discontent | featuring the Honourable John LaFalce
On Green Cities | featuring David Miller
The Future of Canadian Mental Health | Dr. Catherine Zahn, Ms. Louise Bradley, Dr. Carol Hopkins, Dr. David Bloom, moderated by the Honourable Michael Wilson
Should We Be Proud of Canada's Immigration Policy? | The Honourable Ratna Omidvar, Leen Al-Zaibak, Lorne Waldman, Omran Faour, Julie Gilmour
Keynote Speaker Series | featuring Marie Henein, Premier Kathleen Wynne, and Dennis Edney
The Annual Alumni Debates | featuring Michael Kergin, Veenu Goswami, The Honourable Louis LeBel