The 8 teams in the semifinals of the 2014 National Universities Debating Championships are all from Java-based institutions, including Binus University Jakarta that has held the title for the last three years. The geographical hegemony has stood although the education ministry this year expanded the number of participation to 112 from 96 that gave 16 more slots to non-Java institutions.
In the first semifinal, reigning champion #2 Binus University (Rivera Kathrin & Marchella Febriyanti) must overcome challenges from #7 Universitas Sanata Dharma (Sekartiyasa Kusumastuti & Tethy Pesoa), #3 Universitas Pelita Harapan (Saagar Teckchandani & Dharma Dwitama Harja) and #14 Universitas Padjadjaran (Erfan Supradhono & Omar Azfar) if they want to secure their fourth title in as many years. The two last teams eliminated one of the tournament's favourite, NUDC 2009 champion #6 Institut Teknologi Bandung.
In the second semifinal the country's two top powerhouses, #1 Universitas
Indonesia (Aulia Anggita & Dennys Kapa) and #4 Universitas Gadjah
Mada (Indriani Pratiwi & Wida Wahyuni), will clash along with #12
Universitas Brawijaya (Zelly Sidi Zamzami & Fahri Akbar) and #16
Universitas Ahmad Dahlan (Muhammad Iqwan & Karjongko). The semifinal motion reads "This House Believes That People Have the Right to be Forgotten".
UI debaters have secured the right to receive state financing for
their participation in the 2015 World Universities Debating Championship
after they broke first into the knockouts. More WUDC funding packages
will go to three NUDC 2014 finalists. The ongoing national BP tournament
is taking place at Universitas Batam in the Riau Islands.
Non-Java squads Universitas Syiah Kuala from Aceh and Bali's Universitas
Udayana gave spirited challenges in the quarterfinals but came short from
becoming the first from outside of the main island to reach the top 8. Aceh and Bali, provinces that have won the national high school championship before, have strong squads at the pre-varsity level but their universities need to attract those talented debaters to stay home to extend success into varsity level. Some debaters from those provinces are now debating for UI.
However, it was also refreshing to see there was a team from far eastern
Indonesia, Universitas Pattimura from Ambon, in the octofinal although
they could not advance into the top 16. That shows serious training, including from organizations like On That Point that try to empower disadvantaged regions, can make a difference. This issue has nothing to do with race, ethnicity or any other personal background. The best Indonesian debaters are hard working individuals who come from all kinds of social groups. The matter is institutional. It is about how institutions and institutionalized training can provide the right exercise, materials and environment for eager debaters to enhance their skills and knowledge. Without them, even the most talented with the gift of the gab would never shine on the debating stage.