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Celebrating the gift of the gab

Student organisers getting ready

Student organisers getting ready   | Photo Credit: Handout_E_Mail

Chennai is gearing up for the World Universities Debating Championship in 2014.

The World Universities Debating Championship (Worlds) is all set to take Chennai by storm. Dubbed the debating world cup and the Olympics of debate, it is arguably the most sought-after championship in the world of debating. Bidding for the event starts two years in advance and the winning bid this year has been made by Rajalakshmi Engineering College (REC), which will host the event in India in 2014.

The British Parliamentary system of debating is the format of the Worlds debates. This was brought to India three years ago by the NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad. October brings us the third edition of this debate. Spreading the popularity of British Parliamentary Debating in India, this tournament last year saw no less than 83 institutions from UK, Germany, Singapore, Bangladesh, Srilanka and many other countries participating.

Now the Worlds is quite another thing. About 6000 teams compete to participate in the 400 available slots. “Registration will open in March and we expect that within five minutes or so it will be filled up,” says Vignesh Viswanathan, final year, biotechnology department, REC. Vignesh is the convener of the event. He and his college mates are organising the event with only external support from the management. The committee which includes Anuprasan A.R., senior director of HR, Swarvanu Sengupta, Senior Director of PR and S. Aranya, senior Director of cultural, will be visiting, if not participating in the 2012 Berlin Worlds, where they will hold an India night, to give an impression of what to expect when they come to India. “We are planning to have the theme of colour, brightness and festivals of India which we believe will showcase the best of India,” says Aranya.

There will be three streams of debates — the open break, English as second language and English as a foreign language; each of these streams will have its own finals. Though there is no reservation of seats for Indian colleges, Vignesh expects that the enrollment would be high. “Usually about two or three Indian colleges participate in the Worlds. This time, we expect at least 20 to enroll,” he says.

Philip Praveen, Director of training and placement at REC is proud of his students. “It has come about entirely because of our students’ efforts,” he smiles and continues “We sent them to the World Universities Invitational peace debate, where they found out that the Worlds happens every year. Then they went to Manila and were able to network with debaters around the world who were supposed to vote in the bidding process. It was their idea to bid for the Worlds, and their networking helped us defeat Thailand and get support for our bid to host the tournament here.”

Harish Natarajan, who also judged the Nalsar I-V, and Michael Bear will be the chief Adjudicators. There will be deputy adjudicators from many other countries. “It will be exciting for us to meet the winners from universities like Yale, Oxford and Harvard,” says Vignesh, contemplating what promises to be an eye-opener in many ways.

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 4:55:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/education/college-and-university/celebrating-the-gift-of-the-gab/article4021906.ece

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