Let the global debates begin!
For the first time in India, the World Universities Debating Championship will be held in the country. One of the largest students’ debating championships in the world, the event will see participants from 82 different countries including debators from universities like Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Oxford and Cambridge Universities.
The bid to host the 34th edition of the event was won by the Rajalakshmi Group of Institutions in Chennai. The event which will be held from December 27 to January 3, will see a total of 364 teams including 12 teams from colleges in India.
“We hope that with this event, we will be able to pioneer a lot more debating championships in the countries. This trend is evident in countries like Malaysia, which hosted the championship three times after hosting it once,” said Vignesh Vishwanathan, student convenor for the debating championship from Chennai.
Speaking at the curtain raiser of the event, held in the city on Friday, he said that debating as seen in India, during TV shows and political debates in parliament has become aggressive and confrontational rather than an exchange of points of argument. “Debates that we see in the country have become all about pushing forth one’s perspective. Nobody wants to hear what the other person has to say,” he said.
The event which will be in the British Parliamentary style of debating will include four teams divided into two categories namely ‘Government’ and the ‘Opposition’, with two teams speaking ‘for’ the motion and two speaking ‘against’ the motion. The students will be given the topic of debate on the spot with 15 minutes of preparation time.
The adjudication will be led by Michael Baer and Harish K Natarajan, Michael Baer is a prominent debater from Stanford University and was also the adjudicator for the WUDC at Botswana in 2011 and many other countries. Harish was the former Director of Debating at the Cambridge Union.
At the event scholarships will be awarded to participants from countries like Afganisthan, Iraq, Botswana and Kosovo. The competition will also have special knock out rounds for countries where English is a foreign language. There will be a special ‘Women’s Night’ for women debators on topics related to women empowerment.