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24 March 1999

WUDC Manila 1999 Background and Overview

A brief description of the World Championships (Also known as "WORLDS")

What is the World Debate Championship?

Background of the Championship

The World Universities Debating Championship is the largest and most prestigious academic inter-collegiate tournament in the world. It is an annual event, with the most prominent universities (such as Oxford, Harvard, Glasgow and Sydney University) regularly in attendance. There are over 200 teams from over 150 universities situated in five different continents that regularly participate. The two main goals of the tournament are:

To provide a venue for the open interaction of ideas from all over the world, and

To provide the best possible intellectual competition in the world.


The World Championship has the following regularly scheduled events:

The Opening Ceremonies – these ceremonies highlight the start of the Championship. The President of the Philippines will be the keynote speaker, and the President of Metro Pacific will deliver the opening remarks.

The National Costume Night – this night traditionally celebrates the different cultures at Worlds by giving Worlds participants the opportunity to display their various national costumes.

Nine Preliminary Rounds of Debate – these rounds will determine who advances to the later rounds leading up to the Grand Final. All debate teams at Worlds, regardless of skill or level of experience, each get 9 rounds to prove their worth.

The World Public-Speaking Championship – this championship is open to all participants (debaters, adjudicators, official observers) at Worlds. The championship consists of two preliminary rounds and a Grand Final held during the Worlds Championship Dinner.

The World Stand-Up Comedy Championship – this championship is the same (except in theme and content) as the World Public Speaking Championship. The Grand Final of this event will also be held during the Championship Dinner.

The Women’s Forum – this is the traditional meeting of all women participants at Worlds. They discuss women’s issues that are important in the world today. The Chair of this event will be the Honorable Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The New Year’s Eve Ball – this traditionally highlights the coming of the New Year. It is a formal event and the participants are required to wear black-tie or other suitable formal eveningwear.

The Octofinal, Quarterfinal, and Semifinal Rounds – the cream of the crop of debating teams at Worlds participates in these rounds. Participant teams are determined based on their win-loss records after the nine preliminary rounds. Only 32 teams compete in the Octofinals.

The Championship Dinner – this Dinner honors all the participants at Worlds and is the venue for the World Public Speaking and Stand-Up Comedy Grand Finals.

The ESL Final – this debate is the grand final for the top "English as a second language" teams in the competition. The champion team will be honored during the Grand Finals of Worlds.

The Grand Final – this is the culminating debate of the World Championship. The winner of this debate is proclaimed over-all champion of the Metro Pacific XIXth World Universities Championship. The Grand Final will be held in the Cultural Center of the Philippines, and will be chaired by the Honorable Corazon C. Aquino, former President of the Philippines.

The Farewell Dinner – this is the last event at Worlds. All participants are treated to one last taste of Philippine hospitality through a dinner to be held at Intramuros in Manila.

What is Different about this Worlds?

Worlds this year will be held from December 27, 1998 to January 4, 1999. There are a number of differences between this year's Worlds and the previous Worlds, namely:

This will be the first time the Worlds will be held in Asia.

This is the first time the event coincides with the host country’s centennial celebrations.

This will mark the participation of the largest Asian delegation (and, correspondingly, the largest-ever Philippine delegation) ever at Worlds.

This Worlds will be the largest, and most culturally diverse, in history.

There is one new feature at Manila Worlds, namely:

For the first time in Worlds’ history, there will be a separate debating championship known as "World Masters." This is similar to the World Debate Championship, except that it is an open competition participated in, not by separate universities, but rather by individual nations.

This year’s participants are the following: Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, England, Greece, India, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, the United States of America, and Wales. These 16 nations were invited based on past participation and performance at Worlds.

The tournament will have three preliminary rounds and a Grand Final held the day before the Worlds Grand Final.

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