On Tuesday, September 20, for the second consecutive year, UM Debate hosted iDebate Rwanda in a public debate on the motion, Aid to Africa Does More Harm Than Good.

Rwanda is a country in East Africa known for only one thing; the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi people. In the space of 100 days, one million innocent people died for the sole reason of being born Tutsis. And, when all of this was happening, the world turned its back on Rwanda because Rwanda was not a place of strategic interest. When the genocide ended, the victims had no choice but to return to live in the same communities with those that killed their relatives and friends.

Twenty-two years later, Rwanda is a new country. The country that was once known for murder and destruction is now known for hope, peace, and as a model of development. Rwanda has acquired lessons and insights on reconciliation, healing, identity, and the importance of speaking up. It is with that spirit that iDebate Rwanda organized the 2016 iDebate Rwanda USA Tour: Voices from a Post Genocide Generation, a two-month tour of U.S. universities and high schools sharing the stories of ordinary Rwandans who are living inspiring and impactful lives.  Through debate, students from different backgrounds learn to how disagree in a peaceful way, and how to passionately oppose each other’s ideas without the need to use violence against each other. UM was fortunate to serve as a host for the Rwandan tour. 

In the debate, held in Shoma Hall, three Rwandan debaters defended the resolution, with the fourth Rwandan debater teaming up with UM debaters, David Silverman and Juliana Carvajal Yepes to oppose. A vote of the 60-member audience favored the UM-Rwandan team against the resolution.

While in Miami, the Rwandan team also visited Professor Steinberg’s COS 311, Advanced Oral Advocacy class, and Miami Senior High School.

The UM debate can be viewed at:




The UM Debate Team is a co-curricular activity sponsored by the Department of Communication Studies, the University of Miami School of Communication, and a student organization recognized as UDebate.  Participation is open to all full-time UM undergraduate students. Course credit is available. For more information, visit our website at http://debate.miami.edu/ and our Facebook page at University of Miami Debate Team, https://www.facebook.com/UMDebate/, or contact David Steinberg at dave@miami.edu or 305-284-5553. To support UM Debate, please visit http://debate.miami.edu/support/.