Our Committee

We’re excited to announce our committee for 2016!

Lynne Featonby, President


Lynne started debating as a year 9 student in the DAV Schools Competition. At Monash University she continued debating and took up adjudicating and committee participation. In between 4 Easter, 4 Australasian, 2 Worlds and numerous other debating intervarsities, Lynne adjudicated at and coordinated many DAV interschool debates, participated in the DAV Adults competition and joined the DAV Executive.

Lynne tests her persuasive abilities in her professional life as a barrister, practicing in criminal law.

Carmel Wallis, Immediate Past President

Carmel Free Debate

Carmel has worked as an adjudicator and as a debating coach for the past four years, as well as competing with the Monash Association of Debaters. Working with the Debaters Association of Australia, she has adjudicated and trained high school students in public speaking as well as in debating, coaching speakers through to the finals series of statewide competitions.

As a debater, she has competed at the Australasian Intervarsity Debating Championships as well as the Australian Intervarsity Debating Championships, and has served on the executive of the Monash Association of Debaters.

Carmel has an Arts/Science degree from Monash University.

Nora Mansour, Secretary

NouraSince 2005, Noura has been involved in the establishment of debating competitions and events, debating organisations and debating programs internationally.

Noura has also facilitated debating programs and workshops and judged tournaments in countries such as Turkey, Netherlands, Palestine, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, South Korea, Mexico and others.

Noura’s teaching and training experience stretches from elementary schools all the way to universities, with a special focus on training trainers and debate coaches.

She is an organizational consultant and an educator with a masters degree in International Relations and bachelors degree in Education and Political Science

Sam Whitney, Treasurer

Sam Free Debate

Sam Whitney is the current president of the Monash Association of Debaters and is extending his talents to serve additionally as this year’s treasurer on the Free Debate executive.

Sam joins us having just returned from America, where he recently campaigned on behalf of Barack Obama in Ohio, while continuing to study his Arts/Law degree. Sam has debated at the Australasian Intervarsity Debating Championships and coached at both Wesley college and St Catherine’s school, where he has overseen teams through to finals in a state-wide competition. Sam is additionally a senior adjudicator for the Debaters Association of Victoria, where he serves as a regional coordinator.

Ajay Kevat


Ajay works as an intensive care doctor at the Royal Children’s Hospital, in Melbourne.  He studied Medicine at Monash University, completing an elective term in Nepal and graduating with first class honours. He is a former president of FreeDebate.
His primary school teacher first introduced him to the concept of debate in a classroom activity in 1998. He focused on adjudication and mentoring, presenting at seminars on debating at Victorian high schools and adjudicating the finals rounds of the 2008 World Universities Debating Championship in Thailand.
Ajay joined Free Debate and on his first project, in partnership with Victorian Arabic Social Services, worked with young adults and teens in a workshop on confident speaking and advocacy.  After follow-up contact let him know that the tips and training from this workshop meant that one of the participants went from failing all his school oral presentations to getting an A-minus, Ajay was confident FreeDebate’s work could make a world of difference for some.  During his time as President of the organisation, FreeDebate partnered with a number of schools and other organisations including the Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights, Teach For Australia and Asylum Seeker Resource Centre.
Ajay believes that the ability to inform oneself and speak confidently and persuasively is vital for disadvantaged individuals and groups so that they can advocate for themselves and better engage with their communities. He hopes his ongoing involvement with Free Debate can promote empowerment in disadvantaged groups and effective communication between all.

Victoria Vilagosh

Barbora Jezek

Barbora was first introduced to debating at Monash University through sheer chance but was soon sucked into the world of debating. She found it to be an incredibly useful skill, particularly in formulating well thought-out arguments and being able to think on your feet. Barbora believes debating is a skill that extends well beyond the debating world and one that can allow people to build confidence in expressing and communicating important ideas, particularly for those who have never had the opportunity to learn the art of persuasive communication.

Barbora is a lawyer and currently works as a Judge’s Associate, so she sees the importance of clear and persuasive communication every day in the Court room

Sophia Frentz

SSophiaophia has been trying to leave debating for a solid two years but somehow keeps being dragged back into it – but having said that, Free Debate is a group she can really get behind. She’s coached high school students in debating in both Australia and New Zealand, provided public speaking workshops to university students, and convened the Australasian InterVarsity Debating Championships in 2014.

Sophia Frentz is a PhD student in Genetics at the MCRI and the University of Melbourne, looking into potential treatments for early-onset mitochondrial disorders. She’s heavily involved with Women in Science and Engineering, and is a passionate advocate for science communication and diversity in STEM. Her latest passion project is learning Auslan!

Sophia feels like there is a barrier to engaging in political discourse in Australia, and hopes that through her work with Free Debate she can help minimize that barrier for marginalized groups.