Participants at World Universities Debating Championship discuss myriad issues

It is time India did away with subsidies for industry and adopted aggressive free-market policies to increase its economic prosperity, argued Josh Zofferf and Ben Sprung-Keyser of Harvard University, clinching the title at the World Universities Debating Championship, held in the city.

Nearly 1,200 students from 300 universities in 60 countries participated in the event, hosted for the first time in India by Rajalakshmi Engineering College.

Teams that made it to the finals of the week-long debating festival included those from Glasgow, Cambridge, Harvard and Sydney universities.

The debates were based on the British parliamentary competitive debating format, and involved nine preliminary rounds, all ‘power-paired,’ as the tournament progressed, matching the strongest-performing teams against each other.

Thirty-two teams were selected, of which 12 proceeded to the final rounds. “The topics were given to the participants only 15 minutes before the debate and they were assigned the task of being either the opposition or arguing for the proposition. It is all about presenting the best argument,” said Marcus Ewald, one of the coordinators of the event. 

On Friday, when students from the reputed universities debated various issues, a hall packed with people from the industry, students from universities worldwide and academics, listened with rapt attention.

Earlier in the day, the finals for non-native English speakers were held. Speakers from Romania, Sweden, Germany and Belgrade participated in the debate that looked at issues related to countries dealing with their asylum seekers and argued if it was right for a country to pay another country that is willing to accommodate them.