WUDC 2013: Berlin

WUDC is the pinnacle of all British Parliamentary debate tournaments. It draws teams from around the world and is held in a different country every year.  This year it was held in Berlin, Germany. Last year it was held in Manila, Philippines. Next year it will be held in Chennai, India.

The Berlin tournament drew 387 two-person teams and 334 judges.  Including observers, there were well over 1,000 attendees representing more than 60 nations from every continent except Antarctica!

Colgate at Worlds
Colgate at Worlds

All debates are held in English, with three divisions: (1) Open, (2) English as a Second Language (ESL), and  (3) English as a Foreign Language (EFL). This year’s Open world championship team consisted of Nita Rao and James Beavis from Monash University (Australia). The ESL world champions are Aaqip Farhan Hossain and Ratib Mortuza Ali from BRAC University (Bangladesh). The EFL world champions are Tiago Vieira Laranjeiro and Ary Ferreira da Chuna from the University of Porto (Portugal).

Colgate held its own, but didn’t win any awards. Nevertheless, everybody had a great time and gained valuable experience.

Below, Anna Proios ’16 writes about her and her fellow students’ participation in Worlds:

As a First-Year and brand new member of the Debate Society, I never imagined that I would have a chance to go to the World Universities Debating Championship in Berlin, Germany and adjudicate debate rounds with some of the world’s best debaters. Thanks to the Debate Society’s initiative to bring two First-Years to Worlds every year to introduce them to the art of world-class debating, after tryouts, I was selected to attend as a judge. It was a great experience!

Colgate brought three teams and two judges to Worlds: Jack Holland ’13 and Alexa Windsor ’13Javed Narejo ’14 and Sebastian Chan ’14Curt Mahoney ’14 and Julia O’Neil ’16, and judges Dan Li ’14 and me, Anna Proios ’16. Never before have I been to a debate tournament where college students from Japan debated their counterparts from China on whether Japan should have nuclear weapons; where students from Pakistan, Israel, Austria, and Canada debated over what to do about Greece’s sovereign debt, or where debaters from the Philippines and Jamaica, Peru and The Netherlands, India and Chile, Vietnam and Poland, Zimbabwe and Romania, Greece and Germany, Hungary and Sri Lanka, Venezuela and Malaysia, France and Australia, and the UK and US be judged by a multinational palette of judges from all over the world.  Debate topics included overpopulation, religion, war, and economics. It was truly an eye-opening experience, to be able to see how these students from around the world viewed and debated about the world. In the end, we saw Portugal win the English as a Foreign Language final, Bangladesh win the English as a Second Language Final, and Australia win the Open final.

This year, for the first time, the Colgate Speaking Union used Livestream and a smart phone to webcast some of Colgate’s debate rounds live from Berlin. Stay tuned for the upcoming National BP Debate Tournament where we hope to webcast Colgate’s debaters live from California!

Now, Colgate is looking forward to hosting its own international invitational in March, and we hope to bring a slice of the experience back home from worlds.