Global leaders and the World's top speakers

Kishore Mahbubani
Ex-President UN Security Council, Author of Has China Won?

Kishore Mahbubani is a Singaporean civil servant, a career diplomat and an academic. During his stint at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from 1971 to 2004, he served as Singapore's Permanent Representative to the United Nations and held the position of President of the United Nations Security Council between January 2001 and May 2002.

After stepping down, he served as a Senior Advisor at NUS during a nine-month sabbatical at various universities, including Harvard University's Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation. He is currently a Distinguished Fellow at the Asia Research Institute.[4] In 2019, Mahbubani was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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Stephen Dunbar-Johnson
International President of The New York Times

Stephen Dunbar-Johnson is the president, international of The New York Times. He was appointed in October 2013. Previously, he was Publisher of The International Herald Tribune (IHT), a position he assumed in January 2008. Prior to that, he was executive vice president of the IHT with responsibility for worldwide operations and strategic development.

Before that, he held the position of senior vice president and commercial director, with primary responsibility for newspaper revenue streams. He also played a key role in the integration of advertising and other aspects of the IHT’s operations when The New York Times took full ownership of the IHT in 2003. Before joining the IHT, Mr. Dunbar-Johnson worked at The Financial Times for 12 years, holding various positions.

Mr. Dunbar-Johnson was educated at Worth School, Kent University, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and the Columbia School of Journalism.

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Ismaël Emelien
Former Chief Advisor to President Macron | Founder of EnMarche!

Ismaël Emelien is the co-founder of En Marche! and served as President Emmanuel Macron's chief advisor, in charge of the presidential strategy, communication and speeches.

He first met President Macron in 2009 and later worked for him at the French Ministry for the Economy and Finance. In 2016, Ismael quit his job at the ministry and founded En Marche! He was also chief strategist to then candidate Macron during the 2017 French presidential campaign.

After Emmanuel Macron was elected president, the country’s leading newspaper Le Monde described Ismaël as “one of the three people ruling France“.

He recently published a compelling –pragmatic, yet hopeful– work translating his experience in and vision for France into a wider, global appeal: The New Progressivism: A Grassroots Alternative to the Populism of our Times.

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Naomi Panovka
World Women's Debating Champion | Harvard World Schools Champion

Naomi Panovka is from Canada, and a second year student majoring in political science at McGill university. She spent two years on the Canadian national debate team, where she reached the finals of the World Schools Debating Championship, and was the top speaker and two time champion of the Harvard World Schools Debating Championship. 

She is currently a volunteer coach for the Panama National debate team, and is highly involved in the debate community. She has been on the adjudication core of tournaments based in Canada, Panama, the UK, Malaysia, and Slovenia, and has reached the finals of over ten competitions since starting university debate.

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Rabbi Bergman
World Union for Progressive Judaism President

Sergio Bergman is an Argentine rabbi, politician, pharmacist, writer, and social activist. Bergman serves as rabbi of the synagogue of the Congregación Israelita Argentina. He is CEO of Judaica Foundation and president of Argentina Ciudadana Foundation, as well as executive director of Action Network and Community Initiatives for Social Enterprise.

On May 11, 2020, the World Union for Progressive Judaism announced that Rabbi Bergman would become its new President effective June 1, 2020, transitioning from Ambassador Rabbi David Saperstein who completes his year-long term.

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Susan Thornton
Former Assistant Secretary of State for Asia under president Trump

Prior to working at the State Department, Thornton worked at the Foreign Policy Institute where she studied and wrote about Soviet politics and contemporary Russia. She speaks Russian and Mandarin Chinese. Thornton is a career diplomat who has worked at the State Department since 1991.

She was appointed as acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian Affairs on March 9, 2017, and on December 24, she was nominated as the Assistant Secretary of State by President Trump

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Harish Natarajan
Debating Multi-Champion  |  First human to debate A.I.

Harish Natarajan is the world record holder for most debate competition wins and the first human to debate agains AI. He is a graduate of the University of Oxford and University of Cambridge.

He was the first person to participate (and win) in a public debate against IBM's Project Debater in 2019, which was covered in major publications around the world, a documentary film, and in a book by a New York Times best selling author.

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Ian Sielecki
Founder of Transatlantic Debates | Presidential Speechwriter

Ian was speechwriter to President Macri of Argentina and Chief of Speech and Strategy to the country’s Foreign Minister, Jorge Faurie.

Previously, he worked for the New York Times Democracy Forum as organizer of the Great Debate and securing the involvement of young global leaders. He was the only sub-30 member of the forum’s prestigious Advisory Board. In addition, he is the founder and former president of the Transatlantic Debates Association, which has held exceptional debates over the years with the world’s top young speakers, and ministers, ambassadors and Nobel laureates.

He also worked at the US Senate for the late Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and at the Assemblée Nationale in France, where he wrote speeches for the assembly’s President.

Ian studied Political Science and History at Sciences Po and the University of Cambridge (Jesus College). He then completed a Masters of Public Affairs at Sciences Po, where he was president of the Student Council of his campus. He was debating vice-champion of France in 2014 and has given Masterclasses on the Art of Rhetorics at venues such as the US Embassy in Paris.

In his home country, Argentina, Ian has written several remarked opinion pieces on the nation’s leading newspapers.

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Stephen Rapp
Former United States Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues

Rapp has been a lawyer in private practice, a Democratic member of the Iowa House of Representatives, and a Staff Director and Counsel for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. Rapp ran for the U.S. House of Representatives for Iowa's 3rd congressional district twice, losing to Charles Grassley.

Currently, Rapp is a Senior Visiting Fellow of Practice at the Blavatnik School of Government, Distinguished Fellow at The Hague Institute for Global Justice, a think tank in The Hague, Netherlands, and a Global Prevention Fellow at the Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide.

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Brian Wong
Founder of the Oxford Political Review | Rhodes Scholar

Brian is a Rhodes Scholar (2020) from Hong Kong, pursuing their DPhil in Politics at Balliol College, University of Oxford. Brian is the Founding Editor-in-Chief of Oxford Political Review, a publication that aspires to bridge the theory and practice gap.

As a columnist for the Hong Kong Economic Journal and ThriveGlobal, Brian writes regularly for TIME, Aeon, Times Higher Education, the Diplomat, Nikkei Asia, and SupChina. 

They are the first ever Hong Kong-born Chinese to have advanced to the open semifinals of the World Universities Debating Championships.

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Sharmila Parmanand
Cambridge PhD | LSE Fellow in Gender an Human Rights

Sharmila is originally from the Philippines, and has lived in Australia, the US and the UK. She has a PhD in Gender Studies from the University of Cambridge on a Gates scholarship. She is a Fellow in Gender and Human Rights at the London School of Economics and Political Science. 

She has worked as an on-site debate trainer or invited judge in debating events in over 45 countries and has been appointed to chief adjudication panels of most major international debating championships, such as the world championships at the universities and schools levels, and the European, Asian, Austral-Asian, North American, and Pan-American university debating championships. She is a board member of the International Debate Education Association.

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Matt Caito
Matt Caito
US National Championship Quarter Finalist

Matt is from the US and a recent graduate of Bard College, where he studied International Relations. He has appeared in the elimination rounds of over twenty international debating competitions, most notably the finals of the 2017 Hart House Inter-varsity.

Matt is an accomplished debate judge, having adjudicated late elimination rounds at the Oxford and Cambridge Inter-varsity tournaments. Matt will begin his MSc in International Social and Public Policy at the London School of Economics this fall.

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Trent Kannegieter
Top US Speaker I Schwarzman Scholar

Trent is from the United States, and currently a student at Yale. He is currently in the final year of his degree is in History and Human Rights. He will be a Schwarzman Scholar in 2021. Trent has extensive experience in competitive debating.

He was the top US speaker at 2020 North American Universities Debating Championship. While in high school, Trent was a national champion in Congressional Debate, and won multiple state championships.

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Geneva Roy
World Championship Semi-Finalist | ex-Chair of Oxford Debating

Geneva is a native of New Zealand, and is a current Philosophy, Politics and Economics undergraduate at the University of Oxford, and has been involved in debating since 2013. She was captain of the national team at World Schools Debating Championship in 2017.

Geneva went on to reach the Semi-Finals of both the World Universities Debating Championship and the European Universities Debating Championship. She is currently Vice-Chair of the World Schools Debating Board, and the former Chair of Oxford Debating. Outside debating, she is a former Treasurer of the Oxford Union.

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Anatole Chouard
French Debating Champion

Anatole completed an Msc Applied Mathematics at École Polytechnique as well as one in Mathematical Modeling at University College London.

He won the French Debating Association annual championship in 2019. His aim is to become a science popularizer in the field of Climate Change, leveraging his amazing talent as a public speaker to make an impact.

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Anh Cao
US National Team Captain I Top Female Schools Speaker

Anh is originally from Arkansas, and she is taking a gap year before attending Harvard College. She is a NSLI-Y scholarship holder, currently studying Arabic under the U.S. Department of State.


Anh has extensive competitive debate experience. In high school, she was the captain of the U.S. National Debate Team. During her time on Team USA, Anh won 9th place speaker at the World Championships and was the highest ranked female debater. Anh was also a three-time state champion.

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Kahlil Greene
Yale Student Body President

Kahlil is a senior at Yale College studying the History of Social Change and Social Movements and served as the first Black student body president at Yale. As student body president, Kahlil united student groups to raise over $57,000 for racial justice organizations through the “Yale Together” movement after George Floyd’s murder and successfully advocated alongside a student movement to enact Universal Pass/Fail Grading after students were removed from campus in the Spring of 2020.


He is a member of the Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy, a John Kerry Fellow through the Jackson Institute of Global Affairs, and the author of Op-eds published in the LA Times and the Washington Post.

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Ameera Moore
Austral-Asian Champion

Ameera is a Law graduate from Malaysia. During her university years, she was a three-time Asian debating champion, who went on to win the Australasian championship, the Cambridge inter-varsity and was the world’s best speaker in the English as a Second Language (ESL) category.


Ameera has an extensive debate judging CV that includes being the co-Chief Adjudicator of the World Universities Debating Championship, and the Oxford and Cambridge inter-varsity championships. She was also a coach to the Malaysian national team when they ranked top at the World Schools Championship. Currently, Ameera is still heavily involved in debate/speech coaching where she has run workshops for over 20 countries on-site/online.

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Jason Xiao
Debating World Champion

Jason is a recent law graduate from the University of Oxford. He is currently studying for his law conversion to be eligible to practice in Canada. During his time at Oxford, Jason was a prolific debater and won World Universities Debating Championships 2020. 

Jason has also built up an extensive Chief Adjudicator (CA) and judge CV around the world, having been the CA of tournaments such as the Oxford IV 2020, the North American Universities Debating Championships 2019, and the HWS Round Robin 2020 along with over 15 other competitions. When Jason isn’t speaking of judging, he coaches Team Canada, which won the Online World Schools Debating Championship in 2020.

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Srishti Krishnamoorthy-Cavell
Cambridge PhD Student | Best Speaker in Europe

Srishti Krishnamoorthy-Cavell is originally from India and now lives in the UK. She is completing a PhD in English at the University of Cambridge, part funded by the Newnham College Principal’s Studentship.
She is part of the Ledbury Emerging Critics program and her essays and reviews have been published in magazine including Jacket2, Poetry School and Poetry Review.

She was the best speaker and part of the top-breaking team in the European Universities Debating Championships in 2019, where she has previously twice been a semi-finalist. She has won 15 other tournaments.

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Louis Collier
UK National Champion | England National Team Coach

Louis is a graduate of the University of Oxford, where he studied Physics. He represented the Oxford Union at multiple international debating events, winning the UK national championship in 2017, and ranking individually as the 4th best speaker at the World Debating Championship in 2019.

Louis was a member of the England debating team in 2014, which won the World Schools Debating Championship in Bangkok, Thailand. He now coaches the England debating team, while also working at the UK’s leading tech skills organisation.

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Jessica Musulin
Austral-Asian Champion

Jessica is an Australs Champion, WUDC Open Quarter Finalist and AWDC Grand Finalist, and has additionally won almost 20 opens/IVs.

Jessica has been on the core adjudication teams of the World Universities Debating Championships (WUDC), the Australasian Intervarsity Debating Championships (Australs), the Australasian Wom*n’s Debating Championships (AWDC) and the Australian National Championships, as well as over 30 opens/IVs in 8 countries.

She has judged the grand finals of WUDC, Australs (thrice) and the United Asian Debating Championships (twice), where she was also best adjudicator in 2020.

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Daniel Berman
LSE PhD | Renowned Debate Coach

Dr. Daniel Berman is from the US, and received his PhD (2020) from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He has extensive experience in politics, journalism, and debate. He was hired to work in the US Senate and on the National Security Council within the West Wing. 

He coached Debate at Eton College, along with the Welsh National Team. He has broken as both a speaker and judge at the Worlds, European, and North American Debate Championships.

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Shanica De Silva
Secretary-General of the French Debating Association

Shanica holds a master’s degree in Intellectual Property and New Technology Law from the Université Versailles Saint Quentin after spending 4 years at the Université Paris 2 - Panthéon Assas specialising in Private Law. She has worked in various audiovisual production companies, before changing and becoming a legal counsel in a real estate investment company.

After debating for her law school squad and being semi-finalist of the 2014 French Debating Association Tournament, she joined the association in 2015 as Social Media Officer. After 3 years as SMO, she became in 2018 Co-Secretary General of the Association. With the help of her fellow Co-Secretary General, she organizes a yearly tournament gathering francophone students from 21 Schools and Universities around France.

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Teck Wei Tan
Semi Finalist World Championship | Finalist European Championship

Teck Wei Tan studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at the University of Oxford and now works at one of Europe's fastest-growing tech startups. He was the 3rd-best speaker in the world at his debut World Championships and repeated that feat a year later. Teck Wei was also a finalist at the European Championships, a UK National Champion, and the best speaker at the inaugural European Round Robin.

Teck Wei has been on the adjudication core of the World Championships at schools and universities level. He was captain of the national team of Singapore at the World Schools Debating Championships. Last year, he coached Westminster School debaters to victory at Oxford, Cambridge and Durham Schools - the three most prestigious schools tournaments in the UK.

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Matt Song
World Schools Champion | China National Team Captain

Matt is an undergraduate at Yale University pursuing a degree in political science. He was Chinese national champion in both major debate formats, twice national best speaker, and twice captain of the national debate team. During his captaincy, Team China won the world championship for the first time. 

Matt has since been chief adjudicator of the Harvard and University of Pennsylvania World Schools tournaments, as well as grand finals adjudicator at the World Championships.

He is currently involved with the Yale Debate Association, the Urban Debate League, the Roosevelt Institute, and Yale Effective Altruism.

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Hamza Chaudry
Best Speaker in Europe | Author and Activist

Hamza is from Pakistan and is currently pursuing his MSc in International Social and Public Policy at the LSE. He is President of the LSE South Asia Society, moderator of the LSE Public Debate Program, and has hosted discussions with politicians across the world.

As a debater, he is currently the Best Speaker in Europe. He is Best Speaker and Winner of the Doxbridge World Championships.

Presently, he co-authors a book on non-violent Pashtun movements on the Pak-Afghan border. He authored his undergraduate dissertation on the legality of transnational surveillance to mitigate existential risks and is currently interested in the role of transnational student activism in creating progressive reform across the Global South.

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And many more (we're uploading bios slowly...)
The 30 top young speakers in the World are already part of Polemix.

Our leaders also include some of the world's top thinkers, famous actors and a handful of global leaders.
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