At Oxford you are encouraged to think critically and to debate ideas. Where better than the Oxford Union, the world’s most prestigious debating society?
Twelve British Prime Ministers have cut their teeth and honed their skills in the Debating Chamber. Harold Macmillan described it as “the last bastion of free speech in the western world”.
In 1933 The Oxford Union passed its famous motion: "This House will in no circumstances fight for its King and Country" causing a maelstrom of political and public ire; Winston Churchill called it "that abject, squalid, shameless avowal."
A packed calendar of debates and notable speakers throughout the year
The Principal Debates, preceded by dinner, take place each Thursday evening in Full Term, kicking off in Michaelmas with the debate "This House has no confidence in Her Majesty's Government", in which key members of the Government and the Opposition go three rounds in a debate which has occurred every year since the Society was founded in 1823.
Perhaps the most unique feature of the Oxford Union is the opportunity members have to meet, listen and to question some of the world’s most notable and interesting people, including numerous Heads of State, in the renowned ‘speaker meetings’ which take place continually throughout the year. Past guests have included everyone from Richard Nixon to Malcolm X, Albert Einstein to Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama to Diego Maradona.
Becoming a member
You are eligible to join The Oxford Union if you are studying at Oxford for a year or more. If you are at Oxford for two or more years, you can become a lifelong member. As a member you can bring up to three guests with you to debates.