This time it is a debating event

Chennai, which played host to the recently-concluded World Chess Championship, will be witnessing another mega event, the World Universities Debating Championship (WUDC) 2014, which was inaugurated on Saturday.

The nearly-week long event will see 1,200 students, described by speakers as future leaders, from almost 60 countries, presenting their debating skills. It is for the first time that the debating tournament, conducted annually, is being held in India, which is considered a rare honour.

The World Universities Debating Council has selected the Rajalakshmi Institutions to be the host for the championship to be conducted till January 3 on the institution’s Thandalam campus. Besides presenting an opportunity of intellectual stimulation to youngsters, the championship would enable them to make friends.

In the last 33 years, the championship has been held across Europe, North America, North Asian and African countries. Popularly referred to as ‘Worlds,’ it will be held using the British Parliamentary debate format. It was held in Berlin last year, according to the organisers.

Presenting a fitting introduction to the event, Tamil Nadu Governor K. Rosaiah, who was the chief guest, traced the origin of debating from the philosophical debates of ancient Greece. Debating societies emerged in London in the early 18 century. By the middle of that century, London fostered an incredibly active debating society and culture, and debating topics ranged from current events and government policy to love and marriage. The societies welcomed participants from both genders and all social backgrounds, making them an excellent example of the enlarged public sphere of the Age of Enlightenment.

“Debate should be of interactive and representational argument, of logical consistency, factual accuracy and should have an emotional appeal to the audience.” It brought about a creative and critical analysis and thinking on the subject or a given theme, he said.

The presentation should be lucid with proper modulation, presentation of facts and refrain from making individual and personal attacks, he explained.

Thangam Meganathan, chairperson, Rajalakshmi Institutions, pointed out that debating was one aspect of delivering actual knowledge the best way.

Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT, Madras, Harish Natarajan, Chief Adjudicator, C.R. Muthukrishnan and K. Jayaramakrishnan, the institution’s Advisor and Chief Executive Officer, highlighted the various aspects of the championship and the importance of debating.