World Universities Debating Championship

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World Universities Debating Championship
Established 1980
Region International
Format British Parliamentary Style
Number of Teams ~250-400
Record participation ~400 teams (2012)
Current champions University of Sydney
Most championships University of Sydney (8)
Website http://www.wudc.net/

The World Universities Debating Championship (WUDC) is the world's largest debating tournament, and one of the largest annual international student events in the world.[1] WUDC is parliamentary debating tournament held in British Parliamentary Debate format (involving four teams of two people in each debate). Historically, the format of WUDC was determined by the host country which allowed for the American Parliamentary Debate format (two teams of two people).[2] Each year, the event is hosted by a university selected by the World Universities Debating Council. The tournament is colloquially referred to as "Worlds" and the winners of the open competition acknowledged as the "world champions". The current world champions are Kevin Lee and Bostan Nurlanov from the University of Sydney.

History

Predecessor Tournaments

The Trans-Atlantic University Speech Association held tournaments in London (1976 and 1978) and at McGill University, Montreal, in 1977. Chicago was to hold a tournament in 1979 but this was postponed and then abandoned. A "World Debating Festival", sponsored by Honeywell was held in Sydney in 1978. The TAUSA event attracted mostly Northern Hemisphere tournaments, the Honeywell was largely Southern Hemisphere.

Format

The championship is usually held in the days following the 25th of December, since many of the institutions attending from the Northern Hemisphere where the championship originated take vacations at this time. Although many countries that do not celebrate Christmas have become participants at the competition, the timing has remained the same. In most recent years, the nine preliminary rounds of the tournament have been held over three days from 29–31 December, with the elimination rounds being held on 2 January and the Grand Final on 3 January.

In recent years, the championship has varied from about 150 to 400 teams, depending on the capacity of the host institution. With judges and organisers, this involves 500 to 1,000 participants in all.

The competition involves nine preliminary rounds, which become "power-paired" as the tournament progresses, matching the strongest-performing teams against each other. Two teams form the "government" ("proposition" in the UK and North America) and two the "opposition" in each debate room. The process of scoring and pairing these teams is known as "tabbing". The scoring of teams is done by judges, most of whom are students or former students from the competing institutions, who return "ballots" with their scores to the adjudication team, led by a Chief Adjudicator who is assisted by one or more deputies. The deputies are not members of the host institution.

The nine preliminary rounds are followed by a "break" at which the teams proceeding to elimination rounds are announced. This is traditionally done on New Year's Eve, although this is subject to the timing of the tournament. In the current tournament format, the top 16 teams from the preliminary rounds proceed to the octo-final round. The teams ranked 17-48 also break into a partial double octo-final round, and the winning teams from this round join the teams ranked 1-16 in the octo-finals. While preliminary rounds are usually judged by up to three judges, the break rounds are judged by panels of five, and the finals by panels of seven.

Separate breaks are announced for the English-as-a-second language (ESL) and English-as-a-foreign language (EFL) team competitions, for the individual public speaking competition, and the "World Masters" tournament which is participated in by judges (most of whom are no longer students) representing the countries where they studied or of which they are citizens. In addition, a comedy competition is also open to all participants in Worlds.

Governance

The World Universities Debating Council consists of representatives of every country that competes at the World Universities Debating Championship. Each country selects one council delegate (the national debating association president, or selected from the participants at Worlds). The Council is responsible for setting the rules and awarding the right to host the championships.

A Worlds Committee is elected to discuss issues during the year as Council only meets at the championships itself. This Committee consists of a mix of elected officers and regional representatives from Africa, the Americas, Australia and New Zealand, Continental Europe and the Middle East, and the British Isles (referred to in debating as Islands of the North Atlantic thought more politically acceptable than British Isles).

The Council formerly operated not unlike the United Nations Security Council, with seven nations holding "charter member status" – the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. A two-thirds majority of these countries was required for changes to the championship's constitution, irrespective of how the general vote was tallied. However, as the number of non-charter nations attending grew, many fielding far more teams than some of the upper tier, and the championship began being hosted outside the Charter nations, pressure grew for the distinction to be eliminated.

The modern championship grants voting strength of between one and four votes per country, based on numbers of institutions attending recent championships. To allow for fluctuations in participation due to the financial difference in attending championships nearer or further in succeeding years, nations lose or gain their voting strength gradually.

List of Tournaments

Year Host City Hosting Institution Winning Institution Best Speaker
2021 South Korea Goyang, South Korea Debate Korea Forthcoming Forthcoming
2020 Thailand Bangkok, Thailand Assumption University Forthcoming Forthcoming
2019 South Africa Cape Town, South Africa University of Cape Town University of Sydney James Stratton, University of Sydney
2018 Mexico Mexico City, México Asociación Mexicana de Debate Harvard University Dan Lahav, Tel Aviv University
2017 Netherlands The Hague, Netherlands Debating Societies of the Netherlands University of Sydney Raffy Marshall, University of Oxford
2016 Greece Thessaloniki, Greece Debating Society of Greece Harvard University Michael Dunn Goekjian, Faculty of Business Economy and Entrepreneurship.
2015 Malaysia Shah Alam, Malaysia Universiti Teknologi MARA University of Sydney Ashish Kumar, University of Cambridge
2014 India Chennai Worlds 2014, Chennai, India Rajalakshmi Engineering College Harvard University Eleanor Jones, University of Sydney
2013 Germany Berlin, Germany Berlin Debating Union Monash University Chris Bissett, Monash University
2012 Philippines Manila, Philippines De La Salle Monash University Ben Woolgar, University of Oxford
2011 Botswana Gaborone, Botswana University of Botswana Monash University Victor Finkel, Monash University
2010 Turkey Istanbul, Turkey Koç University University of Sydney Shengwu Li, University of Oxford
2009 Republic of Ireland Cork, Ireland University College Cork University of Oxford Naomi Oreb, University of Sydney
2008 Thailand Bangkok, Thailand Assumption University University of Oxford Sam Block, University of Cambridge
2007 Canada Vancouver, Canada University of British Columbia University of Sydney Jess Prince, University of Oxford
2006 Republic of Ireland Dublin, Ireland University College Dublin Hart House Rory Gillis & Beth O'Connor, Yale University
2005 Malaysia Cyberjaya, Malaysia Multimedia University University of Ottawa Kylie Lane, Monash University
2004 Singapore Singapore Nanyang Technological University Middle Temple Alex Croft, University of Sydney
2003 South Africa South Africa Stellenbosch University University of Cambridge Wu Meng Tan, University of Cambridge
2002 Canada Toronto, Canada Hart House New York University School of Law Ewan Smith, University of Oxford
2001 Scotland Scotland Glasgow University Union University of Sydney Paul Hunyor, University of Sydney
2000 Australia Sydney, Australia University of Sydney Monash University Andy Kidd, University of Oxford
1999 Philippines Manila, Philippines Ateneo de Manila University Monash University Andy Kidd, University of Oxford
1998 Greece Athens, Greece Deree College Gray's Inn Neil Sheldon, Gray's Inn
1997 South Africa Stellenbosch, South Africa Stellenbosch University Glasgow University Union Andy George, Gray's Inn
1996 Republic of Ireland Cork, Ireland University College Cork Macquarie University Adam Spencer, University of Sydney
1995 United States Princeton, United States of America Princeton University University of New South Wales Chitra Jenardhanan, Nanyang Technological University
1994 Australia Melbourne, Australia Melbourne Glasgow University Union Ben Richards, Monash University
1993 England Oxford, England Oxford Union Society Harvard University Daniel Mulino, Australian National University
1992 Republic of Ireland Dublin, Ireland Trinity College Dublin Glasgow University Union James Hooke, University of New South Wales & Richard Douglas, Australian National University
1991 Canada Toronto, Canada Hart House, University of Toronto McGill University Steve Bibas, University of Oxford
1990 Scotland Glasgow, Scotland Glasgow University Union Yale University
1989 United States Princeton, United States of America Princeton University University of Sydney John Gastil, Swarthmore College
1988 Australia Sydney, Australia University of Sydney University of Oxford Francis Greenslade University of Adelaide
1987 Republic of Ireland Dublin, Ireland University College Dublin Glasgow University Union Michael Hall, University of Oxford
1986 United States New York City, United States of America Fordham University University College Cork Bruce Meagher, University of Sydney
1985 Canada Montreal, Canada McGill University The Honorable Society of King's Inns Ashley Black, University of Sydney
1984 Scotland Edinburgh, Scotland Edinburgh University University of Sydney David Celermajer, University of Sydney
1983 United States Princeton, United States of America Princeton University Glasgow University Dialectic Society John Geisnell
1982 Canada Toronto, Canada Hart House, University of Toronto University of Auckland Stuart Bugg, University of Auckland
1981 Scotland Glasgow, Scotland Glasgow University Union Hart House Andrew Taylor, Hart House

See also

References

  1. ^ debating.net - WUDC history Archived April 27, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ http://www.apdaweb.org/old/guide/rules.html.

External links

  • World Debate Website – General World Universities Debating Championship information page
  • Assumption Worlds 2008 website
  • Cork Worlds website
  • Koc University Worlds website
  • De La Salle Worlds website
  • Berlin Worlds 2013 website
  • Chennai Worlds Website
  • Malaysia Worlds 2015
  • Thessaloniki Worlds 2016 website
  • Dutch Worlds 2017 website
  • World Universities Debating Championships Official Website
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