of the World Debating Championships
This History of the World Debating Championships comes in 3 parts.
From 1976 to 1990 it is taken almost word for word (with the exception of
a section on the 1972 Sydney claim and the 1978 World Debating Festival both by
Colm Flynn)from the 1991 Toronto WUDC Tournament booklet.
Who wrote it isn't known but it was provided by Randal Horobik.
At the start of the section on Worlds in 1981 is an extract from an
e-mail by Clark McGinn, Convenor of Debates, GU Union 1980 -81 and 1981 and
Convenor of the First World Debating Competition, 1981.
The history since 1991 has been compiled by Colm Flynn, Chair of Worlds
Council 2002 and DCA 2003.
THE ORIGINS OF WORLD
taken from the 1991 WUDC tournament booklet
Many countries share the credit for the survival and growth of world
university debating over the past 15 years. North Americans remember the
University of London’s hospitality in the mid-to-late 1970s. The Worlds would
certainly not have been possible without the strong McGill initiative and
Glaswegian involvement in the early 1980s.
But it is the flashes of brilliance, moments of laughter, lightning wit,
and sustained participation of debaters drawn to the competition from around the
world is what makes the Worlds possible - and worth holding - today.
International parliamentary debating goes back to at least the early 20th
Century, when teams from Oxford toured the United States. Later, in the 1950s,
debaters were sent from England to tour in India, among other places, as well as
the United States. Women took part to the extent permitted by their
institutions. One woman won a place on a 1954 tour representing the Queen
Margaret Union at Glasgow, only to be rejected by higher authorities for reasons
of gender. While not allowed to join the Glasgow Union, women could and did
participate full in the debates there. This was actually more egalitarian than
hart House at the University of Toronto, which did not admit women as members
until 1972. until then, women could be accompanied to formal debates, but they
had to sit in the gallery and were not allowed to speak.
Canadians and Americans have competed with each other regularly for many
years. While strictly speaking these were international competition, they were
not terribly exotic. However, these tournaments laid a solid foundation for
later adventures into the rest of the world.
The past years of multilateral competition are rife with tales of people
who spent a great deal of time cold, wet, broke, lost, tired, making great
friends in the adversity and generally having the time of their lives (in
retrospect). In that respect, debating is the same wherever you do it. Hosting a
world tournament has sometimes been an unsought honor. More than once, the
school that actually hosted the Worlds was the one that kindly offered to step
in when the successful bidder’s organization fell apart.
1976 London TAUSA
International tournaments find their beginnings in the spring of 1976,
when the first Trans-Atlantic University Speech Association (TAUSA) tournament
was held in London, England, hosted by the University of London and organized by
John Telfer. About 50 teams attended, including Oxford (who won) and possibly
Cambridge. For either, let along both, to attend was unusual; normally the
Oxbridge people would only compete with each other. Funds were provided by an
Anglo-American committee for the celebration of the U.S. Bicentennial. Telfer
himself was a university administration official of some kind, and organized the
event through contacts with individuals rather than university debating
1977 McGill TAUSA
In January of 1977, the second TAUSA tournament, a McGill-Loyola
production, was held in Montreal. About 60 teams competed and Matt Morley and
Samuel Abady (not Jonathan Kessler
and Cobwesk Boski as earlier believed) from Colgate in the United States claimed the debating
victory. The public speaking competition was won by Gray’s Inn, England. The
TAUSA tournament replaced McGill’s Winter Carnival tournament that year, and
the TAUSA winners are rumored to be engraved on the McGill Tournament trophy.
1978 London TAUSA
In April of 1978, the third and final TAUSA took place in England, hosted
again by the University of London. About 70 teams attended, and the Glasgow Union took
first place. Michael McCulloch and David Shulman for Victoria University placed
THE 1978 WORLD DEBATING
FESTIVAL: The "HONEYWELL"
by Colm Flynn
1978 also saw another of the fore runners to the World Debating
Championships. The World Debating
Festival (often called the Honeywell although this is because it was sponsored
by Honeywell International). This
was hosted by the University of Sydney Union.
The competition was held in Australian style (teams of 3 two teams in a
debate) and featured a team each from Glasgow (Sco), Cambridge (UK), Oxford
(UK), Columbia (US), Harvard (US), Oregon (US), Adelaide (Aus), Melbourne (Aus),
Monash (Aus), Sydney (Aus), Western Australia (Aus), Auckland (NZ), Cantebury
(NZ). The University of Sydney (Adams, ?, ?) won the competition beating Oxford
(O'Shaughnessy, Harrison & Sterling) in the final. A mini tour was then
provided for teams who had travelled to Australia with additional debates taking
place in Newcastle and Western Australia. The
trophy for the competition was stolen immediately after the final and never
recovered. On 6th January 2000 an article in the "University of
Sydney News" claimed that the World Debating Championships were first held
by Sydney in 1972. there is no
further information about this 1972 competition although it may be possible that
they are confused about the World Debating Festival and the year in which it was
THE YEARS BETWEEN TAUSA AND
largely taken from the 1991 WUDC tournament booklet with some addition by
In the TAUSA years, there was no formal world debating organization; the
schools attending one year just voted on where the tournament would be held the
following year. Often the coordination was left to individuals in each country.
For example the US contact was Larry Frank of St Lawrence College.
However with no budget for TAUSA most of the limited number of debating
societies in US colleges didn't even know TAUSA existed.
Dispite this Chicago was selected in 1978 as the site for the fourth
TAUSA, set for April of 1979, in place of the University of Chicago’s usual
April tournament. April of 1979 came and went. The Chicago TAUSA had been
postponed several times for a number of reasons, including conflict with a Papal
visit to Chicago. By the fall of 1979, it was clear that formal world debating
competition had missed a year. But the transatlantic spirit had taken hold.
Undaunted by the collapse of the Chicago event, McGill invited a few UK schools
to its Winter Carnival tournament. The Scots came over in February of 1980 for
the McGill tournament; Glasgow was the only UK school to attend.
The Glaswegians toured North American in one or more of the fall of 1979;
the spring of 1980; the fall of 1980 stopping variously at Dalhousie and McGill,
and possibly Ottawa and Toronto. In the wake of the collapse of the Chicago
organization, they expressed interest in an international tournament to replace
TAUSA, whether in Glasgow or North America, for the following year.
While touring a number of schools in 1980 and possibly late 1979, the
Glaswegians discovered a great deal of enthusiasm for the idea of a world
tournament in Glasgow the following year, and collected much valuable and
profitable intelligence of which they were to make use in the near future. In a
letter dated 22 October 1980, Clark McGinn formally extended invitations to
“the first ever World Competition Debate to be held in Glasgow University
Union.” The World Debating Championships were underway.
WHY DID WE MOVE FROM TAUSA
TO THE WORLD DEBATING CHAMPIONSHIPS
by Clark McGinn, Convenor of the First World Debating Competition, 1981,
TAUSA ( and the similar Honeywell) - were ad hoc competitions - TAUSA had
no Australian/NZ (or Irish??) teams involved while Honeywell had no Irish or
Canadian. Both were invitation competitions whereas the First Worlds set out to
be (a) more open and (b) cover all of the world (or at least, initially, both
North Americans, both ANZ and all four British Isles and the Caribbean).There
are more details in the Minute Books of the GUU debates committee.
Ironically, the first idea for Worlds had been a TAUSA-like competition
with the top 3 teams from each region who would have arisen out of local
competitions and then 'Mace-like' be flown-to the Union to have the final rounds
- but in 1981 in a UK recession, there was no sponsorship at all - so they made
the competition into an open tournament. Thankfully!
THE WORLD TOURNAMENTS
largely taken from the 1991 WUDC tournament booklet
The first Worlds was hosted in Scotland in January, 1981 by the Glasgow
Union and organized by Clark McGinn. 43 teams competed from 7 nations.
Registration was £10 but teams from outside the British Isles paid no
registration as they were at a financial disadvantage for travelling so far.
In exchange for this fee there was a promise of "a bed for every
competitor". There were four days of debating with a day off in the middle
to visit Edinburgh, and then the finals. Steve Coughlan and Andrew Taylor took
home the first place honors for the University of Toronto, defeating John Rankin
and Marcel Mongeon of McGill. Andrew
Taylor also took home the best speaker award. It was a strong year for Canada;
three of the top four teams were Canadian. Not many English schools attended;
they thought Glasgow was too far from home. It was Scotland. It was winter. It
was raining. The Canadians couldn’t believe how warm it was. The Americans
couldn’t believe how cold it was. While reports from the championship are rare the history of
APDA reports "the creation and infrastructure of that tournament took on
soap-operatic dimensions". One
indirect result of the championships was the foundation of APDA itself.
As 4 US debaters (Princeton's David Martland & Richard Sommer and
Amherst's David Bailin & J. J. Gertler) toured Scotland after the
championships plans for APDA were drawn up in the back of a Ford Cortina.
Hart House Toronto 1982
The University of British Columbia won the bid for the 1982 tournament. A
letter sent out by Joe Pollender in the fall of 1981, however, cites a 42-day
Canadian postal strike as the cause for a change in the program. The second
Worlds was moved to the University of Toronto and organized by the undefending
champions, Steve Coughlan and Andrew Taylor, when the UBC effort fell apart.
About 40 teams competed, with first place going to Stuart Bugg and David Kidd of
the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Stuart
Bugg was the best speaker. The
dinner hosted by the Royal Commonwealth Society at Casa Loma was a high point of
the tournament. In return for such wonderful hospitality, a debate featuring one
competitor from each of the six countries represented was presented as after
dinner entertainment. Debaters included Andrew Taylor, representing Canada; J.J.
Gertler for the United States; Anthony Fisher of Australia; David Kidd from New
Zealand and Clark McGinn, the Scot. The best line was from Anthony Fisher:
“the Queen is the only person in the world without an accent.” The Royal
Commonwealth Society was pleased. That
year, an idea arose that one year’s winners should become the following
year’s hosts, as this system had worked so well for the second Worlds.
Auckland was duly selected as the site for the 1983 Worlds.
Princeton took up the torch when the University of Auckland failed to
organize a tournament. There had been a great deal of talk of subsidized airfare
to New Zealand, but this all suddenly went quiet. Frank McKiergan and John
Nicholson of Glasgow Dialectic met and defeated a University of Toronto team of
Jeff Nankivell and Francis Daniels. John
Geisnell is recorded as the best speaker but his University is not known.
For better or worse, the World Debates council was formed at this
tournament. The general idea was to get a bit more organized, and possibly
prevent world tournaments from evaporating completely. Prior to that, issues
such as the next tournament location and haggling over who should get to go had
been decided by a general meeting of all teams present. Given the track record
on bidding and hosting the tournament, a World Council probably couldn’t hurt.
The 1984 Worlds was hosted by the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
Sixty-four teams competed, and the University of Sydney beat Oxford to bring the
first place honors to Australia. A number of people went to Glasgow afterwards
to film “Mr. Speaker, Sir!” for the BBC. Willie Hamilton was on one side;
Nicholas Tolstoi on the other, on a resolution abolishing the monarchy.
McGill (Montreal) 1985
In 1985, the Worlds returned to Canada. Hosted by McGill University in
Montreal, it was run by Scott Keating, Melanie Garret and Elizabeth Jarvis. A
total of 120 teams took part, in the grand McGill tradition of tournament on a
grand scale. The final round was held in Redpath Hall. Judges included Francis
Fox, former Solicitor General. Marcel Mongeon and Trish Dodge hosted a reception
for the overseas debaters, at which guests met former Prime Minister Pierre
Trudeau. Mr. Trudeau was in a bit of a rush, however, and had to leave early to
take his kids to karate class. That year, Sean Murphy and Damian Crawford took
home a richly deserved first place for King’s Inn, Dublin.
Fordham (New York) 1986
In 1986, Fordham University in New York hosted the Worlds. Over 100 teams
attended, including competitors from Sweden, and Jesuit University in the
Philippines. University College Cork (Brian Hassett & Siobhain Lankford),
won the competition for Ireland making it 2 in a row for the Irish.
The format of the competition saw 14 preliminary round debates
between teams of 2 and two teams per debate. The final motion was on
censorship of the press.
UC Dublin 1987
In 1987, University College, Dublin hosted the worlds in Ireland. It must
have felt like the world showed up, too. The local newspaper reported that 220
teams were there. Even if that turned out to be 220 people, it was a sizeable
invasion. Glasgow (Kevin Sneader & Austin Lally) were the World champion
that year. New Year’s Eve was a
study in contrasts as the debaters who gathered in evening attire for a cold
buffet in the Lord Mayor’s Hall found themselves ringing in the new year next
door to a heavy metal rock concert, complete with “a bunch of guys in leather
jackets and girls in red lipstick cracking gum.” The importance of
understanding local cuxtoms was amply demonstrated to all who had not found out
ahead of time that Dublin offers no public transportation on new Year’s Eve.
The evening ended with what is variously described as a rainy two, three or four
mile walk in formal wear.
At the Worlds in Sydney in 1988, had 90 teams. Oxford brought the first place trophy home to England, while
Francis Greenslade (Adelaide) was best speaker. Competition and judging
conventions differed from one Worlds to the next, and part of the idea is to do
things according to the customs of the host school. Some competitors, used to
making frivolous definitions, were disconcerted with a certain Australian rule
aimed at banning such frivolity. If a resolution lent itself to economics, for
example, you had to debate economics. This led to at least on unfortunately
literal debate about whether it really was better to live on your knees than die
on your feet.
Princeton hosted the 1989 Worlds. Aaron Blumenfeld and company ran the
event, which was won by the previous year’s hosts, Sydney, Andrew Bell and
Warren Lee. Second place was won by Justin MacGregor and Dave Conklin of the
University of Toronto. About 110 teams attended. That year saw a marked increase
in international participation. Singapore and Greece attended; the Soviet Union
sent observers and competed the next year at Glasgow. There were a lot of
prizes, including, for the first time, recognition for debaters for whom English
was a second language. The format
was 10 preliminary rounds with teams of two and two teams per debate.
“This tournament will run on time,” debaters were told at every
meeting, long after they were tired of hearing it, but it worked. While not all
Worlds have featured a prepared topic, at Princeton it was “Socialism has
failed.” One may recall that 1989 was quite a year for socialism…but this
was only January. How could they have known?
There were divisions for both comic and serious public speeches, but the
idea of having to stand up and know that you were expected to be funny was more
than many cared to deal with. The competition offered a number of unusual ideas,
including object speaking; a debater was handed an object, and then had to build
a speech around the object.
Glasgow played host to the Worlds for the second time in 1990. Yale
University (Matt Wolf & John Wertheim) took home the first American victory
in the history of the tournament, over a field of about 165 teams.
Hong Kong was represented, and the American Academy in Athens, Greece
returned. A Polish team was there, too. The previous summer, a group of 10
people had toured Eastern Europe to teach debating. One of the Soviet teams the
group had met on the tour came to the Worlds that year. Princess Anne was the
honored guest at a reception for the Debating Union Presidents before the final
round. She presented the award to the winning team from Yale, who were the
victors in the finals against three Australian teams.
WORLDS SINCE 1991
By Colm Flynn
Hart House Toronto 1991
The 1991 championships were hosted by Toronto for the second time.
These championships were held under the North American style of debating
which involved just 2 teams in each debate and Double Octo-finals.
The eventual winners were McGill (Chris Wayland & Mona Gupta)
defeating Dalhousie (Stephen Pitel & John Haffner) in the final.
Stephen Pitel would go on to debate for and coach Cambridge and poineer
the case book approach which would come to dominate teams tactics at Worlds.
Steve Bibas (Oxford) was the top ranked speaker.
TC Dublin 1992
Words in 1992 were hosted by Trinity College Dublin.
Here around 150 teams competed. The final was competed by 3 Australian
teams ANU (who broke 1st), Sydney A (Who broke 2nd) and Sydney B (who broke
11th). The Fourth team was Glasgow
(Robin Marshall & Gordon Peterson) won the final and the
championships. The competition was
not a total disappointment for Australia as the top speaker award was shared by
James Hooke (NSW) & Richard
Douglas (ANU). The winning Glasgow
team was not actually included in the initial break as the tab system failed
early on and manual calculations were used which later turned out to be flawed.
Following complaints by other colleges (not Glasgow who by their own
admission were in bed with a serious hangover) Edinburgh were dropped from 32nd
position and Glasgow were added in and had to be woken from their beds to debate
in the octo finals.
Worlds in 1993 was hosted by Oxford.
The convenor was Matthew Christmas (an apt name considering the time of
year). He headed a committee which
spanned 2 pages of it's booklet, a sign of things to come with the ever
increasing complexity of running Worlds. The
prizes were designed to remind the winners of Oxford and so Rowing Oars (from
the famous "Boat Race") were chosen.
How exactly these were brought home by the eventual winners, Harvard
(David Friedman & David Kennedy), is not remembered.
Daniel Mulino (ANU) was best speaker.
Former British Prime Minister Edward Heath addressed the championship
dinner during which the Irish and Scots discovered that the bread rolls while
unpalletable made fantastic weapons in a food fight.
Worlds council had to select a new host for the 1994 championships after
Sydney, who had been awarded the championships in Trinity had to pull out. They came with another college prepared to host (Melbourne).
This caused some resentment on the council and a rival bid was quickly
presented by another college (don't remember which one).
Rumour has it this bid was presented on the back of a napkin and was
voted down in favour of Melbourne.
Melbourne hosted the 1994 championships after the University of Sydney
found themselves unable to host having won the bid in Trinity.
After 5 years of cold wet championships this must have been a nice change
for the teams in particular Glasgow (Manus Blessing & Duncan Hamilton) who
won the competition. Ben Richards
(Monash) was the top speaker. The
growth of the international aspect of the championships were seen here with
teams from France, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Malaysia, Philippines,
Singapore, South Africa, South Korea and Zimbabwe.
Princeton hosted once again in 1995.
While the overall winners were University of New South Wales B (James
Hooke & Jeremy Phillips) who defeated Oxford A (Rufus Black & Rod
Clayton) in the final the competition is perhaps most noteworthy for a
significant break through by the English as a Second Language contingent. Chitra
Jenardhanan from Nanyang in Singapore became the first ESL speaker to win the
Best speaker award in the competition. At
Princeton council meeting two colleges bid to host in 1997.
Stellenbosch and Deree. After
presentations and questions Stellenbosch was selected as the host by a vote of
13-6-1. Australia also proposed
standadarisation of format to British Parlaimentary after a heated discussion
between Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, Singapore and Germany in favour of
standardisation and United States and Canada against a motion was passed to
delay consideration of the issue until the following year.
Princeton also had serious problems with judge numbers.
Most colleges failed to send a judge and the 2 team per debate required
twice as many judges as normal. In
the preliminary rounds many rooms had only one room.
As a result the N-1 rule was mooted for future championships thus
ensuring that sufficient judges would be available but it would not be until
Stellenbosch 97 that council would vote to enforce this guideline.
There were also reports of financial irregularities and a decision of
worlds council to ban Princeton. No
records of this exists but it is worth mentioning as it is often cited as being
a ban on all future teams from Princeton and a ban on any future American hosts
for worlds. Council has no such ban
in place but this rumour is often quoted as an example of the anti American bias
of the council.
UC Cork 1996
Cork hosted the championships in 1996.
Macquarie (Fenja Berglund and Ben Way) won the competition with Adam
Spencer (Sydney) as best speaker. The
final was held in Cork City hall and highlights were televised by the Irish
National broadcaster RTE. There
were a number of problems at this championships which combined to give a bad
perception of the championships as a whole.
The Tab system was missing several results or had results entered
incorrectly resulting in a Princeton team losing out on a break position.
Official results were never released although a team tab was circulated
in the US and, in the absence of any is now taken as the Cork Tab.
The Tab also could not guarantee a 3,2,2,2 for positions with all teams.
Council requested that position allocation be made crucial in future
championships. This caused serious
problems with future tab systems generating large brackets of 3 or 4 points in
rounds 4 and 8 combined with a popular move back to pure power pairing instead
of brackets to protect the top teams, for future championships.
Finally while most championships with debate problems could rely on
successful social events to offset the ill feeling Cork’s social events were
seen as poor. A “Pizza night”
was reduced to farce when the pizza company could only deliver ~12 pizzas every
30 minutes to a room full of 1000 debaters.
The resulting ugly scene of dozens of people fighting for one pizza was
captured by local media and featured on the front page of the next day’s local
newspaper with the headline “Talk your way out of this one”.
A comedy night featuring a wet tee-shirt competition also did not go down
well. The Championships were also
note worthy for two decisions by Worlds Council. Firstly the creation of the Deputy Chief Adjudicator position
to make sure that the interests of debaters outside the host nation were
represented on the organising committee. Secondly
this council voted on the Australian motion from the previous year to
standardise to the British Parliamentary style rather than allow the host to
decide the style. As in Princeton
this was an extremely contentious decision and at one stage featured a walk out
by delegates who were either opposed to standardisation or favoured another
style. The motion was passed and
for better or worse this paved the way to the creation of Worlds Rules as we
In 1997 the Championships were hosted in Africa for the first time by the
University of Stellenbosch. In fact
this was the first time a host nation came from outside the original 7 nations
(called the “Charter” nations). After
the problems with the previous two charter nation worlds (Princeton & Cork)
this gamble by Worlds Council paid handsome as Stellenbosch 97 is widely
regarded as the benchmark worlds setting new standards against which all future
Worlds would be measured. This was
in spite of a campaign by some American debaters to boycott the championships as
they were being held in the birthplace of aparthide and an outbreak of Ebola in
Africa which had the World's media in overdrive. The competition ran smoothly and the social events in warm
African summer were very successful following two cold climate worlds.
This was also the first championships to have Deputy Chief Adjudicators
to provide external expertise to the organiaing committee Ray D'Cruz and John
Long being the first to fill the role. Stellenbosch
also struggled with the number of judges. As
a result the council finally voted to enforce the N-1 rule for all future
championships. Council at
Stellenbosch voted to introduce verbal adjudications after the first 6
preliminary rounds. The ESL Final
was contested by 2 teams from Singapore, one from the Philippines and one from
Greece and NU Singapore emerver with the win.
The main competition was won by Glasgow A (Andy Hume and Derek Sloan) who
were faced with the task of taking a large trophy in the shape of an Elephant
home. It had to be carried into the
final by 4 men. Andy George was
Deree Athens 1998
1998 saw a mainland Europe country host for the first time.
Deree College Athens hosted the championships billing itself as
“Debating coming home”. Grays
Inns A (Neil Sheldon and Andy George) won the competition with Neill Sheldon
also taking the top speaker award. The
championships were also saw the change in voting rights on council which
loosened the grip of the “Charter” nations and rewarded countries who sent
the most teams. The council also voted to set up a World Debating Committee
to work on issues between championships. There
were problems with delays and judges continually judging at the same level (i.e.
the top 3 judges would be in the top room and the bottom 3 ranked judges always
judged the bottom room). This lead
to frustration among the judges seeing a steady stream of weak teams (and
frustrated teams seeing a constant stream of weak judges), culminating in a
large no show from bottom ranked judges at a delayed round 9.
As a result of this the concepts of top ranked “chair” judges in
every room and rotating judges around the tab became common.
Athens had ESL semi finals for the first time to allow the top 8 ESL
teams break. Athens were the first
championships to publish results during the competition.
While this did not meet the requirements of Council in Stellenbosch (for
which Athens were criticised) it was the first time teams had a clear picture of
how they were performing at the end of each day. For many debaters Athens is best remembered for Mike's bar.
A bar located in between the two championship hotels.
The fact that the official social events did not meet with widespread
approval helped Mike claim he could put his children through college from the
profits of that week.
Ateneo Manila 1999
1999 saw the trend of first time host continents with the first Asian
host, Ateneo de Manila in the Philippines.
There was advance discussion on some American/IONA lists as to the safety
of the Philippines and then the Asian Economy collapsed creating a financial
headache for organisers and participants alike.
During the championships some small problems initially occured with
registration and the Tab system which were fixed by the adjudication team.
After that the championships are seen as a tremendous success, possibly
the most successful. This first
Asian Championships saw a large number of non-Charter Nations break. Philippines broke 3 teams (one to the Qtr-Finals), South
Africa 2 (Witswatersrand reached the Semi-Finals) Singapore and Pakistan
(Qtr-finals) broke 1 team each. Monash
A (Meg O’Sullivan and Andrew Phillips) won the competition while Andy Kidd
(Oxford) was best speaker. The
Grand final was televised live in the Philippines and opened by President Joseph
Estrada. Manila also saw as new
competition "The World Masters".
This was a competition open to adjudicators and observers and run on a
national basis rather than by college. Ireland
were the first winners. At council
Israel objected to the ESL competition rules.
They felt that some of the teams in the ESL competition were not genuine
ESL and that dropping the ESL semis (which Manila had done) was unfair to
genuine ESL teams (their third motion requesting printed material be banned
whish was heavily defeated). After
a long discussion these first two ESL issues were left to the following year.
University of Sydney hosted the championships in 2000.
The championships were delayed by around a week so that participants
could celebrate the Millennium at home with their families. This meant that a
few hardy souls risked the Millennium Bug and were able to get cheap flights on
near empty flights departing on New Year’s day.
This was seen as a championship that again raised the bar in terms of
standards expected of the host. An
opening night harbour cruise around the most beautiful natural harbour left
people wondeting how the host committee could keep this up for the week.
They did. A popular Sydney
initiative was an effort to help everyone, not just those who drank, to enjoy
the social events. In this regard
all soft drinks were available at a substantially reduced price.
This was also a championship of records as Monash University became the
first college to successfully defend the title, this time through Kim Little and
Cathy Roussow. Andy Kidd (Oxford)
also became the first speaker on record to top the speaker tab two years in a
row. At council the concerns of the
ESL competition carried over from the previous year were dealt with.
The ESL honour system was replaced by a "barrier test" and
teams breaking in the main competition would be excluded from the ESL
competition. After the competition
things started to go a little wrong. The
Tab system had a major bug. When
they tried to export the results to publish them the system wiped all the data.
While they were able to publish the team tab only the top 80 speakers
could be recovered.
The 2001 championships returned to Glasgow for it’s 21st birthday.
After 4 years of warm (or at least very mild) climates hosting the
championship the participants were greeted with the heaviest snow fall in living
memory at Glasgow. Round 9 had to be cancelled after large numbers of teams were
struck down with some form of illness by the pleasant name "Winter Vomiting
Bug". However as the round one motion was announced at the wrong time in
the adjudication briefing and another had to be used we still got 9 motions if
not 9 debates. On top of this the
tab system which was based on a "fixed" version of the Sydney tab
turned out to be even worse than the Sydney version.
At least one team were excluded from the break (Cambridge) and it took
several months before the results were finally published.
In addition there were several complaints that the social events revolved
completely around the consumption of large amounts of alcohol.
Despite all this Sydney (Greg O'Mahony and Paul Hunyor) came through to
win and Paul Hunyor also took home the best speaker award.
A prize of a large "Braveheart" style sword for the winning
team must have made for an interesting conversation at customs.
Hart House Toronto 2002
Toronto hosted the championships in 2002 and once again the participants
prepared for vast quantities of snow. Record levels of snow fell 40Km south of Toronto and 40km
North of Toronto but not a flake was spotted in Toronto during the
championships. Ewan Smith
topped the speaker tab for Oxford. Perhaps
fittingly considering the Tragic events of just 3 months before (and ironiccally
considering they held a rival "international" competition of 12 months
before in which only US teams were permitted to debate), New York University Law
(Rob Weekes and Alan Merson) won the championships for the United states, the
first time since 1993 that an American team won.
Ewan Smith (oxford) was the top ranked speaker.
The motions at these championships were considered insensitive by many
debaters as they covered topics such as Sept 11, Rape, and Aneroxia.
Many debaters will remember the championships for the 5 star hotel the
Royal York in particular the roaming groups security guards trying,
unsuccessfuly, to prevent room parties. Others
will remember the championships for a scandal which finished off the Welsh (if
you don't know what that means you are better off).
Worlds Council saw three nations bidding to host 2004 Croatia, Malaysia,
Singapore. This selection process
was marred by controversy over the voting allegances.
The Malaysian Government did not recognise the state of Israel and in
spite of written assurances that Isralie teams would have no problem gaining
entry Isralie delegates actively organised a blocking group against Malaysia.
After considerable political manovering and pressure during the council
meeting (which had to be stopped during the Crotian presentation in order to
regain order around the table) this group of nations voted for Singapore ahead
of Malaysia even though a number of the countries had promised their votes to
either Malaysia or Crotia. The fact
that the decision was made on political and not debating issues left a bitter
after effect that continued for several months on mailing lists.
The 2003 championships were hosted once again by Stellenbosch in South
Africa. This championships did not
run as smoothly as the first Stellenbosch Worlds.
Quickly during the competition it became obvious that problems existed
with the tab system which had been tested but with pre-prepared data which
clearly didn't mimic live conditions. A
series of small errors in the design or manual use of the tab system caused
serious delays on Day 1 (finished at 11pm) and Day 2 (round 6 moved to the next
day). Another all night session by
the tab and adjudication teams saw a marked improvement in the running of the
competition on day 3. Four rounds
were held in quick succession up to round 9 when after loading in the key
adjudication panels, carefully prepared by the adjudication team, the panels
were accidently randomised due to a manual error while exporting to the display
system. This resulted in some quick
reworking of the panels in particular to avoid conflicts of interest which had
not been eliminated by the system due to the late randomisation.
However after all that the break was announced on time on New years
night. The rest of the competition
ran smoothly and throughout the championship the social events were generally
considered outstanding helping to keep many people happy and win back some of
those who had been annoyed with the earlier parts of the competition.
Also helping to make up for all the earlier problems Cambridge B (Jack
Anderson & Caleb Ward) won probably the best and tightest final in worlds
history. They won on a split 5-2
decision just ahead of Melbourne A (Perry Herzfeld & Sarah Kennedy). Monash B and Cambridge A were also in the final.
NTU Singapore 2004
In 2004 saw the championships hosted by Nanyang University in Singapore
who defeated Malaysia and Croatia for the right to host.
Before the competition Singapore faced several difficulties.
Their Chief Adjudicator Amanda Keamass resigned to take up a new job
offer. The replacement Ravi Visnawathan was a
relative unknown and this caused some concern when he initially announced that
he would speak in Stellenbosch and not adjudicate.
This would have meant he had no adjudication experience at Worlds prior
to being Chief Adjudicator. However
he did adjudicate break rounds in Stellenbosch and their bid was ratified at
council in Toronto. After that in
early 2003 concerns were raised about the SARS virus sweeping through Asia but
in reality it was not a serious threat to the championships.
After all this the Championships themselves were a great success.
The Middle Temple team of Alex deane & Jermery Brier defeated
Sydney, Singapore Institute of Management and Inner Temple in the
final. Worlds Council however did not run as smoothly.
Council refused to ratify Zagreb as hosts for 2005. Concerns
were raised about the adjudication and financial aspects of the
bid. 24 hours later Zagreb returned with a modified proposal but
again this was rejected by Council. At this stage the bidding
was reopened for 2005 and MMU Malaysia bid unopposed. After all
that UC Dublin won the right to host in 2006 again unopposed.
MMU Malaysia 2005
In 2005 the championships were hosted by Multimedia University in
Malaysia. Even though they had just a year to organise the
competition the championships were generally seen as a success. This
was a good championships for Canada as
Ottawa A (Erik
Eastaugh & Jamie Furniss) won defeating
(Daragh Grant & Joe Devanney),
Oxford. D (Alex
Just & Jonathan Bailey) and Hart House B (Michael
Kotrly & Joanna Nairn) in the final. Worlds council awarded the
University of British Columbia the right to host Worlds in 2007.
Sydney University were unsuccessful bidders and the Dublin Bid was