This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Élysée Treaty, which heralded a profound and historic change in the relationship between France and Germany. In their ongoing cooperation, Germany and France have secured enduring peace in Europe for over six decades. This achievement was recently honored by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which awarded the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union, stating that "The union and its forerunners have for over six decades contributed to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe."
Now, fifty years after President Charles de Gaulle and Chancellor Konrad Adenauer wrote the first chapter of an unprecedented success story of reconciliation, Chancellor Angela Merkel and President François Hollande have inaugurated the "Franco-German Year," a year of celebration of Franco-German friendship.
The Embassy of France and The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, in collaboration with American University and George Washington University, are contributing to this year of commemoration by inviting American universities and students nationwide to participate in The Élysée Treaty Debates. By participating in this tournament, the best and brightest American student debaters will have an opportunity to engage with prominent international relations scholars and professionals on the political and global significance of this exceptional friendship between nations. Prize-winners will be invited to Germany, France and Belgium where they will experience firsthand the realities of European integration.
In its statement accompanying the 2012 Nobel Peace prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee noted that, "over a seventy-year period, Germany and France had fought three wars. Today war between Germany and France is unthinkable. This shows how, through well-aimed efforts and by building up mutual confidence, historical enemies can become close partners." In exploration of this theme, the topic that has been selected for the tournament is:
can render war between two former enemies unthinkable.