About the Cambridge Union
From its small beginnings as a debating society, the Cambridge Union currently has over 70,000 life members worldwide and is the oldest debating society in the world, and the largest student society in Cambridge. The Union remains a unique forum for the free exchange of ideas and the art of public debate.
In the past the Society has hosted such great figures as Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt and the current Dalai Lama, and it continues to provide Cambridge students with the opportunity to meet and question the people that shape our world, and has grown into the central forum for student discussion in Cambridge.
Our public debates and guest speakers continue to generate passionate student engagement, and our university and school debating competitions remain the largest and most prestigious in the country.
Conferencing and Events
The Union has come a long way from its old fashioned origins as a private members’ club.
Set in the heart of Cambridge, The Cambridge Union provides a stunning backdrop to any corporate meeting or event, providing a platform to inspire and excite with its history, heritage and delicious catering option provided by The Orator, bar and restaurant on site. Choose from a variety of spaces and settings for all occasions, so whether you are looking for an intimate client meeting or large scale company briefing, you can be sure to be inspired in our historic venue.
An Educational Charity
Education is at the heart of the Union’s charitable activities. The Cambridge Schools’ Debating Competition, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2016, is the largest in the world with over 600 teams competing. Children between 15 and 18 across the country are coached by Cambridge students in public speaking, and many cite it as the main reason they gained enough confidence to apply to university. The Union also runs the International Competition for Young Debaters’, for those between 13 and 15, to encourage younger students to try debating.
The Union provides free debating and Cambridge access workshops to local schools, and we also provide weekly workshops for all student members in Cambridge, at every level of ability, to train themselves in public speaking and learn how to competitively debate. It is this training that produced the top two debaters at the World University Debating Championships in 2015.