Saturday, January 4, 2014

WUDC 2014: Victorious Harvard Debaters End US Drought, Aussie Reign

#4 Harvard University A (Josh Zoffer & Ben Sprung-Keyser) became the first American team for more than a decade or even two, depending on how one sees it, to triumph in the most prestigious debate tournament on the planet. Their victory in the 2014 World Universities Debating Championships in Chennai ended a long drought for the United States since New York University Law School won it in 2002.

Interestingly, both of the NYU Law speakers were students from the United Kingdom. The last true American pair to win WUDC also came from Harvard but they did it in 1993 when the format was 2-on-2, not the 4-team British Parliamentary style that is currently used.   

Harvard A (Ben Sprung-Keyser/Josh Zoffer)
In the recent final, Harvard acted as the Opening Government and proposed the motion "This House Believes That India Should Adopt Aggressive Free Market Policies" in front of an audience that included top government officials of India's Tamil Nadu state. Their stance arguing that India can only rise to become a world economic power if they radically change their protectionist policies stood until the end.

The victory was an upset because many had placed their bets on Closing Opposition #1 University of Sydney B (Chris Bisset & Elle Jones) who set a new record on points collected in the preliminary round with a whopping 26 from 8 wins and a second place finish. The other finalists were  #10 University of Cambridge B (Ben Adams & Kitty Parker-Brooks) and #27 University of Glasgow (John McKee/Duncan Crowe).

Harvard also stopped a four-year Australian reign. A Sydney team won it in 2010 and then their countrymen from Monash University secured the title for three straight years. The Australian strength was apparent on the speaker tab. The top four all come from Australia with Sydney's Elle Jones as the number one debater in WUDC 2014.

No comments:

Post a Comment