The Toronto Debate Academy offers debate and public speaking classes and workshops to middle and high school students and to private clients. Our instructors are highly successful competitive debaters themselves, with years of experience competing and judging across Canada and the world.

We offer weekly classes in North York and online. We also provide specialized workshops to academic and corporate clients. We adapt our curricula to suit your organization’s needs. To arrange for the Toronto Debate Academy to conduct a workshop at your school or workplace, please contact us.


Coaches

Rudi Lof

Rudi is a JD/MBA graduate who practiced law at a national firm before establishing the Toronto Debate Academy. Rudi is an accomplished competitive debater, and has spoken both at the National Championships and the World Universities Debating Championships. As a debate coach, Rudi has led students to success at the regional, provincial and national levels. His students’ recent competitive successes include being finalists at the World Schools Debate Championships and winning the Jr. National Championships, as well as, multiple top-ten finishes and championships at regional events. In addition to coaching debate, Rudi teaches a class in Law at York University.

Mars He

Mars has a BA in Philosophy from Harvard University and debated in Canada throughout high school. He is a HWS Round Robin Finalist, Worlds’ University Debate Championships (WUDC) top 10 speaker and United States Universities Debate Championships champion. Previously, he’s been the President of the American Parliamentary Debate Association and a Chief Adjudicator for Harvard’s and Stanford’s debate tournaments and the North American Debate Championships. He currently coaches the Harvard College Debating Union.

Joanna Nairn

Joanna has 10 years experience as a practicing lawyer at firms in Washington, D.C. and Toronto. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School and clerked for Mr. Justice Morris Fish at the Supreme Court of Canada. She was a competitive debater for many years, winning the World Universities Debating Championships, the North American Debating Championships, and many other tournaments in Canada and around the world. She has also served on numerous adjudication teams, including as a Deputy Chief Adjudicator at the World Universities Debating Championships.

Alexandra (“Lex”) Sundarsingh

Lex has a BA in Political Science and an MA in History from the University of Toronto. She is currently pursuing a PhD in History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC).  She is a World University Debate Championships (WUDC) quarterfinalist, the champion of the Yale IV, a 2 time finalist at the Cambridge IV and a 2 time quarterfinalist at the Oxford IV as well as reaching elimination rounds in over a dozen other tournaments. She has also been the Chief Adjudicator at the North American Debate Championships and North American Women’s Debate Championships in addition to judging numerous elimination rounds at other events.

Allan Cocunato

Allan is an accomplished debater who finished in the top ten at the 2011 and 2012 Provincial High School Debating Championships, and finished 12th at the 2011 National High School Debating Championships. He was a semifinalist at the University of Western Ontario Debating Championship and the York University Debating Tournament, and was a top ten speaker at the Queen’s University Debating Championship and the Osgoode Hall Invitational Debate Tournament. Allan is graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School.

Alykhan Jetha

Alykhan is a first-year student of Economics and International Relations at the University of Toronto. As a member of the Canadian National Debate Team he represented Canada at tournaments across 4 continents, including the World Competition and the Pan-Americans. He also succeeded in national competitions, winning the Canadian National Championship and the prestigious Hart House High School Competition in 2018. He has been debating for 8 years and is also a former TDA student.

Archie Stapleton

Archie Stapleton is a fourth year Philosophy Honours student who has debated since 2012. He was the Captain of the Western Australian Debating Team in 2015, coming in the top 10 speakers at the Australian National Debating Tournament in 2014 and 2015. At university, Archie won the Hugill Cup 2016, broke at Brandeis, broke at the Novice Championships at UBC, and was elected the training director of the University of British Columbia debating society in 2016. Archie has coached debate for over 5 years, taking students to the break rounds at Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Georgetown, Western Australian Debating League, BC Provincial championships, NSDL China, as well as having one student make Team Canada in 2020. He is an expert in Public Forum, British & Canadian Parliamentary, Mock Trial, Public Speaking, and Australs/World School styles.

Arghya Dev Biswas Aryan

Arghya has two Master’s degrees, one in Development, Management and Practice & one in Psychology and Counselling, respectively. Prior to joining TDA, he worked as a high school physics teacher in Bangladesh. Arghya has been involved with debating for more than ten years as a debater, adjudicator, coach and administrator. He has been an Independent Adjudicator at multiple major tournaments including UADC, ABP, AUSTRALS and WUDC. He made history by being one of the first two adjudicators to have broken from Bangladesh at WUDC. He has also coached and mentored numerous students who qualified to represent Team Bangladesh at WSDC and have tournament success including winning the WUDC (ESL), AUSTRALS (ESL), and UADC.

Ashley Pinheiro

Ashley is a Comms & Political Science student at Carleton University. They have broken as a speaker at tournaments such as Hart House IV, Leger Central Canadian Championship & NAU*WDC.  In addition to debating, Ashley has been a part of six Adj-Cores & has chaired outrounds such as the CP National Semi-Final, Lord Dorchester Cup Final & HHIV Novice Final. They are the former President of Carleton Debate and Speech.

Emily Xie

Emily is a student at the University of Western Ontario, currently studying Computer Science. She has broken at the North American Debate Championships, the North American Women and Gender minorities Debate Championship (finalist), Hart House IV (novice champion), Centennial Cup (finalist), and the Central Novice Debating Championship (semi-finalist). She has also broken as a judge at several university tournaments, such as the Canadian Parliamentary National Debate Championship, Leger Cup, and Seagram’s IV.

Isaac Hordiyuk

Isaac has a BA in Political Science with minors in History and Geography from the University of Toronto. He has reached elimination rounds at over a dozen university tournaments, including the Yale IV, Canadian Parliamentary Nationals, and North American Championships, and has won or received a top speaker prize from more than half a dozen other tournaments. He has more than five years of coaching experience, working with various private and school-run programs in Canada and internationally. As a high school debater, he won or received top speaker prizes at more than a dozen tournaments.

Ksenia Podvoiskaia

Ksenia holds a Bachelors of Education and an Honours Bachelor of Arts in history from Queen’s University. Currently, she is completing her Masters in History, also at Queen’s. She is a Canadian National Debating Champion, a Central Canadian National Debating Champion, a breaking World University Debate Championship (WUDC) debater, a 2 time finalist in the North American Women and Gender Minorities Tournament, and an experienced adjudicator. Ksenia is also a former President of the Queen’s Debating Union.

Layla Moumin

Layla is in the third year of her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto studying political science and criminology. She has competed at numerous tournaments throughout high school, winning provincial championships in Saskatchewan and making it to the semi-finals of Junior Nationals. While a member of the Hart House Debate Club, Layla was a finalist and second place speaker at the McGill Central Novice Championship as well as a quarter-finalist at the Seagram IV.

Matas Vitkauskas

Matas has been debating for almost 5 years and has extensive experience in World Schools (WSDC) and British Parliamentary formats having broken in World Schools Debating Championship and several BP tournaments in Asia. Matas was also the best national speaker of Lithuania in 2017.

Monica Ferris

Monica has over ten years of teaching public speaking and debating in both English and French to students of all ages. A former Canadian National Debating Champion (’08), and many-times over BP Champs finalist in both the US and Canada, Monica has a wealth of experience with a wide range of debating styles. Having taught across the world, from China to the US to Ireland, Monica brings a global perspective to her work .

Reza Qurbanali

Reza is a student at Western University currently studying in a Political Science, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) degree, and pursuing an HBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business. In university, Reza was the Semi-finalist at the Central Novice Championships, and has reached the open break at Seagrams and the Lord Dorchester Cup. In highschool, Reza was a champion or finalist at major competitions such as Queens, Western, York, and Northern debate championships. Reza also CA’d at several competitions at both the high school and university level.

Rokas Keršys

Rokas holds a BA in social and humanitarian sciences from The Paris Institute of Political Studies. Starting as the head-coach of his high school debate club, Rokas produced multiple national champions as well as World Schools Debating Championship (WSDC) delegates for the Lithuanian National Team, including some of the best speakers in Lithuanian history. As a debater, Rokas became a national champion of Lithuania in 2012, 2014 and 2015. In 2014 he was part of the Lithuanian delegation to WSDC Thailand. Following his experience in world schools debating and coaching, he moved on to British Parliamentary by establishing a BP debating club at his university in France. Having taught debating in Lithuania, France and The Netherlands to a wide array of age groups from middle-school kids to university students, Rokas brings debating expertise alongside flexibility to adapt to every student’s needs.

Theo Stapleton

Theo Stapleton is a masters student at Oxford University, and has been involved with debating for over 12 years. During high school he captained the Western Australian Schools Debating team and was selected in the Australia A Debating Team. At University Theo ranked as 5th Best novice at the Australian Inter-Varsity Debating Championships in 2014, and also debated at the World Debating Championships and Australasian Inter-varsity Debating Championships. He has since coached the Western Australian Debating team, and has significant judging and coaching experience in Australia, China, and other countries. With degrees in philosophy and Asian studies, Theo is currently completing a masters in contemporary China studies and is fluent in Chinese.

Zach Bloom

Zach is in his final year of an Honours Philosophy Major at the University of British Columbia. He has been involved in competitive debate for almost a decade. In high school, he was the captain of his school’s debate team and regularly broke at DANEIS debate tournaments throughout New England. As a University Student, he has competed in British Parliamentary debate, notably earning the 4th speaker award at the WCNC at UBC. Zach has four years of experience working with middle and high school aged children. As a debate coach, Zach has had a number of his students break and win tournaments, recently at St. Johns in Vancouver.