Campus Liberty Tour Debate Series

The Ed Snider Center, in collaboration with the Steamboat Institute, brings high-profile debate events to the University of Maryland, College Park campus, attracting an audience from across campus and around our region.

Since 2018, these debates have fostered engagement with critical issues of the day, such as the role of business in society, the value of free speech, and paths to advancing human potential and progress. Our focus is on teaching students – and all who attend – how to think, not what to think.

The debates are shining examples of robust but civilized discourse, with an emphasis on critical thinking skills. We cannot maintain our democracy without a populace capable of critical thinking and civilized discourse.

Past Events

Addressing grand challenges requires expanding viewpoints, seeking out new perspectives and engaging in rigorous dialogue. To do that, the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business once again welcomed the Steamboat Institute’s Campus Liberty Tour to campus.

This year’s event, held on Tuesday, Oct. 24, at the Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center and hosted in partnership with the Smith School’s Ed Snider Center for Enterprise and Markets, saw participants discuss whether environmental, social and governance goals should impact investment and business decisions. The official resolution in question: “Be it resolved, environmental, social, and governance investment practices are harmful to the economy.”

Read more about the 2023 debate and watch the debate video.

The 2022 debate featured Steven E. Koonin, PhD, author of “Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters” and Daniel Schrag, director of Harvard's Center for the Environment and former member of President Obama's Council of Advisors for Science and Technology. Science was not up for debate at this debate moderated by Washington Examiner's Sarah Westwood and attended by close to 300 people including students in the Smith Business Leadership Fellows program. Koonin and Schrage debated timeline and approach in a lively discussion about the best path forward for managing climate change risk.

Read more details on the debate.

Read more about the 2022 debate and watch the debate video.

This event featured Bakari Sellers, CNN Political Commentator and Charles Payne, host of "Making Money with Charles Payne" on the Fox Business Network. The discussion was moderated by Tom Rogan of the Washington Examiner and Steamboat Institute Tony Blankley Fellow. This event allowed students, faculty, and community members the opportunity to discuss the good and bad of both levels of regulation. This debate was also held at the University of Texas-Austin.”

Read more about the 2021 debate and watch the debate video.

This free event was part of a nationwide debate tour featuring Yaron Brook, author of "Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand's Ideas Can End Big Government," and Bhaskar Sunkara, author of "The Socialist Manifesto: A Case for Radical Politics in an Era of Extreme Inequality." The discussion was moderated by Jillian Melchoir of the Wall Street Journal. Capitalism vs. Socialism: A Debate and Discussion gave attendees a chance to experience a rich dialogue on these two economic systems. In addition to the University of Maryland, other stops on the tour included the University of Texas-Austin and the University of Colorado-Denver.

Read more about the 2019 debate.

Featuring Nigel Farage, UK Independence Party leader, and Vicente Fox, Former President of Mexico, this debate was one of a series of stops on a nationwide tour. This debate was moderated by Mary Kessel, Wall Street Journal Editorial Board member and was live-streamed and recorded by CNN. Farage and Fox debated issues related to trade, politics, government, and technology for an audience of more than 600 attendees at the University of Maryland.

Read more about the 2018 debate.

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