CONSTITUTION OF THE EUROPEAN UNIVERSITIES DEBATING CHAMPIONSHIPS
Preamble and Definitions
(A) Student debating societies, unions and other debate organisations of the institutions of further education of Europe met at Erasmus University in Rotterdam on 8 to 11 April 1999, in a tournament in the style of debate similar to that adopted for the World Universities Debating Championships, to form a European Universities Debating Championships. It was envisaged that these championships should continue annually with the annual winning team being entitled to the title of European Universities Debating Champions.
(B) To that end the first meeting of a European Universities Debating Council was duly convened from the elected delegates of the countries represented in order to regulate future Rounds of the European Universities Debating Championships. This Constitution is intended to establish the rules and mechanisms governing the conduct of the Council and the Championships as a whole.
(C) In this Constitution the following words and expressions have the following meanings:
“the Chair” means the chair of the European Universities Debating Council as described under Articles 5, 6 and 10;
“the Chair-elect” means the Chair for the next round of the Championship
“the Championships” means the European Universities Debating Championships as annually or from time to time held under the authority of this Constitution;
“the Committee” means the European Universities Debating Committee as described and established under Articles 18 - 21;
“the Committee Chair” means the chair of the European Universities Debating Committee as set out in Article 19;
“the Council” means the European Universities Debating Council as established under Article 1;
“ESL” means speaking English as a second (or non-native) language;
“institution” means any university, college or other institution of further education awarding degrees or other qualifications as recognised by the laws of the country in which the aforesaid are situated;
“the Recording Secretary” means the secretary of the European Universities Debating Committee as set out in Article 19;
“the Registrar” means the Registrar of the European Universities Debating Council as described under Articles 5 and 8;
“Round” means the debating tournament held annually or as otherwise from time to time as may be the case under the authority of this Constitution to decide the title of European Universities Debating Champion, and the Council meeting duly convened immediately after said tournament;
(D) The headings to the Articles of this Constitution shall not affect its construction.
(E) All references to the masculine shall, unless inconsistent with the context, be deemed to include the feminine and all references to the plural shall, unless inconsistent with the context, be deemed to include the singular.
(F) the words “include”, “including” and “included” will be construed without limitation unless inconsistent with the context.
(G) references to Articles and Schedules are to the clauses of and Schedules to this Constitution.
(H) the Preamble, Definitions and Schedules form part of this Constitution and shall have the same effect as if in the body of this Constitution.
(I) Any reference to a vote by the Council within this Constitution shall mean a vote of the eligible members present and voting providing at all times that the meeting is quorate.
Establishment of the Council
The European Universities Debating Council is hereby established.
There shall be a competition, which for the purposes of this constitution shall be named the European Universities Debating Championships. A round of the Championships shall be held once during each and every calendar Year. Without prejudice to the aforesaid, if a Round of the Championships shall fail, for whatever reason, to take place during any given calendar year, nothing in this Constitution shall be invalidated.
(1) The purpose of the Championships shall be the promotion of debate, the free exchange of ideas and European and international contact and co-operation;
(2) It should be noted that nothing said by any debater during a debate round necessarily represents the debater's personal beliefs, or those of his nation.
The functions of the Council shall be as follows:
(1) To appoint a host for each Round of the Championships;
(2) To decide on appropriate sanctions against a host organization in the event that it fails significantly to comply with the terms of the bid;
(3) To perform the functions conferred upon it by this Constitution.
The Council shall consist of the following members:
(1) the Chair, who shall have been elected in accordance with Article 6;
(2) delegates, who shall be appointed in accordance with Article 7;
(3) the Registrar, who shall take office in accordance with Article 8 he shall not have a vote on Council; and
(4) the Chair-elect, as determined by the provisions of Article 6 (1), or his designate. The Chair-elect does not have a vote on the Council unless already a delegate in another capacity.
(1) The Council shall elect the Chair. The acceptance of a bid by the Council in accordance with Articles 14-17 shall be deemed to operate as the election of the proposer as Chair of the Council for that Round of the Championships for which the bid was accepted unless the Council expressly conveys an alternative intention and independently elects the Chair;
(2) The Chair elected under paragraph (1) above shall take office two weeks after his election;
(3) The outgoing Chair shall remain in office until his successor takes office;
(4) The Chair may resign from office only by appointing a successor in writing;
Where the office of Chair becomes vacant other than by reason of paragraph (4) above, or the Chair fails totally in his duties under Article 10 (1) (ensuing the organization of a round of the Championship), the Council, convened by registered mail sent to all members, may appoint a successor to the Chair and new venue.
(1) Every country represented at a Round of the Championships shall be entitled to send a delegate to the meeting of the Council convened during that Round;
(2) Where there exists in relation to a country a debating body consisting of an executive elected by the debating organizations in that country, and relating to parliamentary debate as generally understood in common law Countries, the President of that body, or equivalent, shall be deemed to have been appointed as delegate for that country provided that he or a nominee in writing is present at the Round of the Championship during which the meeting is held;
(3) In any other case the representatives of the institutions originating from a country that are attending the Round in question shall by common or majority action appoint one of their number as the delegate for that country;
(4) Every delegate shall provide the Secretary with notice of his appointment, a home telephone number and address, and an alternative contact number and address if home details do not relate to permanent residence. This information shall be provided within 24 hours of appointment of the delegate or, in the case of an appointment not taking place during a Round of the Championship, within two weeks of appointment. The Secretary shall furnish a list of all the information provided under this paragraph to all delegates within two weeks of the end of the Round for which he is responsible;
(5) A delegate may resign from office only by appointing his successor in writing;
(6) A delegate shall hold office until his successor takes office;
(7) Delegates shall take office immediately upon appointment;
(8) Each delegate member of Council shall be entitled to cast one vote on every substantive motion placed before the Council;
(9) Every substantive motion placed before the Council shall be decided by majority vote;
(10) The Chair shall not have a vote on any substantive motion placed before the Council, save on the event that the number of votes cast for and against the motion are equal, in which case he shall exercise a casting vote;
(11) Where there is placed before the Council a substantive motion which proposes amendment to this Constitution, such a motion shall not be carried unless it gains support of at least two-thirds of the delegates;
(1) The Registrar to the Council shall be appointed by the Council, and such appointment shall give due consideration to the necessity of preserving continuity in the membership of the Council;
(2) A Chair who vacates office shall be disqualified from subsequently holding the office of Registrar;
(3) The Registrar may appoint a proxy to act on his behalf;
(4) The Registrar or his proxy shall be responsible for keeping minutes of meetings of the Council and for making available to all interested parties copies of this Constitution. He shall maintain a permanent record of the names and addresses of organizations participating in the championship.
Any member of the Council may appoint, in writing, by e-mail or by facsimile, a proxy to attend meetings, speak, vote, and otherwise act, on his behalf. Such appointment must be given to the Registrar 48 hours in advance of the Council meeting at which the proxy is to act and the Registrar must be satisfied as to the authenticity of the notice so provided, such satisfaction of authenticity not to be unreasonably withheld. If a proxy notice is given at less than 48 hours’ notice before a Council meeting to the Registrar, then such notice must be approved by simple majority of the Council.
The duties of the Chair include:
(1) Ensuring that a Round of the Championship is organized during his term of office, which Round shall be a continuous period of not more than ten days;
(2) Convening at least one meeting of the Council during that Round;
(3) Convening such other meetings of the Council as are in his opinion necessity, provided that there be not less than one meeting per calendar year;
(4) Giving notice to the other members of the Council of any meeting of the council. Such notice shall be given in writing at least 72 hours in advance of the meeting and shall include an agenda containing full details of any proposed amendments to this Constitution;
(5) providing notice of the Round for which he is responsible to all Societies which attended the previous championships. Such notice shall be posted at least four months before the Round and shall include a legally binding statement of the total Cost to the entrant team of registration and accommodation;
(6) ensuring that a briefing is held for all adjudicators and debaters before the first Session of debate where the full tournament rules and forms shall be explained and clarified;
(7) ensuring that all ballots are returned to the competitors at the end of the tournament;
The Chair shall regulate the proceedings of the Council, subject to this Constitution.
The quorum for meetings of the Council shall be two-thirds of the countries attending that Round of the Championships in which the meeting is held.
Within six months of a Round, the outgoing Chair shall send to the Chair of the next Round full accounts of income and expenditure in relation to the organization of that Round. The accounts shall be considered in the following meeting of the Council. These accounts should conform to any standards set down by the Council (or in the absence or their decision or upon delegation, the Committee) or in the absence of any such standards reflect ordinary accounting standards applicable in the host nation.
Bidding for future Rounds
(1) On meeting during a Round of the Championship, the Council shall consider bids to host future Championships up to two years in advance. Successful bids shall be ratified at the meeting of the Council during the previous year’s championships, if the conditions specified in a memo drawn up by the Council at the time of the bid have been satisfied. If the said conditions have not been satisfied, bids shall be reopened without prejudice to any bidder;
(2) All bids shall be submitted in writing and shall be signed by a proposer. Bids may be signed by one or more seconders. A bid shall state the institution(s) which will host the Championship, the dates of the round, the debating procedures to be followed and any relevant financial or other information.
When a bid is accepted, the appropriate Round of the Championship shall be held in accordance with its terms, subject to Article 16.
When the Council accepts a bid, the Chair shall indorse a copy of that bid with the resolution of the Council and such indorsed copy shall be evidence of the acceptance of the bid.
The Chair shall use his best endeavours to ensure that the Round of the Championship for which he is responsible is held within the context of the institution mentioned in the bid, but he may, with the consent of a simple majority members of the Council, alter the venue to another venue within the same metropolitan area.
There shall be established a European Universities Debating Committee. The committee shall:
(1) establish and maintain European Universities Debating website;
(2) Provide a central information resource through this website which shall include, inter alia, information on the upcoming Championships, rules of the Championships, minutes from meetings of Council, training information, a list of available debating training resources, records of participation from universities and individuals at each Championship;
(3) Provide a contact point through this website for participants and members of the general public;
(4) Collect from the host university and hold records of the Championships, including attendees and results;
(5) Make recommendations to Council based on year long discussions with Committee members and anyone consulted by the Committee;
(6) Investigate on behalf of Council and report back at the next Round on any matter deemed appropriate by council;
(7) Maintain and review the rules of the Championships;
(8) Maintain and update copies of this Constitution as held under the provisions of Article 25;
(9) Liase with potential sponsors and establish contact between them and the host institution;
(10) Provide a full report to the main meeting of Council regarding the completion of the Duties outlined above;
(1) The Committee shall be appointed by Council as a substantive vote. There shall be elected from the debaters and adjudicators of the Championships:
a) a Chair who shall be a member of the organising committee of current Round of the Championships;
b) A Recording Secretary who will co-ordinate correspondence and maintain all other records and who will be the Chair or a delegate of the host of the following Round of the Championships;
c) Up to five other delegates elected from the Nations represented at Council such election having due regard to obtaining a range of debating and organisational expertise as well as having regard to obtaining an equitable geographic spread of the nations from which such delegates are drawn. No nation may have more than one member of the Committee;
(2) the Committee shall have the power to co-op up to two others (who may be non-participants of the Championship) to be members of the Committee;
(3) Elections for officers and membership of the Committee shall be held each year at the main meeting of Council and the appointments will be effective from the end of that Championship until the end of the next championships;
(4) The same person may not be elected to occupy multiple Committee positions;
Where any issue arises before the Committee and the Committee Chair expects that it will be found controversial by the members of the Council, he must notify the members of the Council by post or otherwise of the issue, and shall make no firm decisions regarding that issue before the opinions of the Council have been assessed and, if necessary voted upon by the Council.
It shall be the duty of the outgoing Committee Chair to forward the Committee Chair-elect a memorandum summarising his experience in the administration of the tournament which shall include:
(1) A breakdown of the financing and sources of finance of the Round;
(2) A complete mailing list used by the Chair during the course of the Round;
(3) A complete list of the teams which participated in the Round, which list shall include the names of competitors.
Eligibility of Teams and Competitors
(1) During the academic year of the competition, competitors shall represent the institution at which they pursue at least half of their courses toward a particular degree or qualification and must be recognised as bona fide students of that institution by the body regulating the award of such degrees or qualitications in the country of the institution that they represent or, in the absence of such body, by the government thereof.
(2) Competitors shall be recognised by their institution’s debating society or equivalent, or in the absence of such a body by the institution’s administration.
(3) Documented evidence of the participants student status should be received by the host nation prior to commencement of the Championships. Registration shall be considered in complete until such evidence is received.
(4) Competitors must be enrolled students and must be attending classes or pursuing research at doctoral or pre-doctoral level in the institution which they represent on the last day of term preceding the competition.
(5) In the event of any controversy regarding the interpretation of this Article, the organisers of the Championship shall follow the recommendation of the president (or equivalent) of the competent national debating body (if applicable).
Composite teams at may, at the organisers discretion, register in advance for the Championship. The organisers may only admit such composite teams comprising of students from the same country if that country has been unable to create a team formed from students of the same institution or if that country traditionally adopts the bona fide practice of creating teams of students from particular debate centres, cities or geographic regions for the purposes of national and international tournaments. “Composite team” shall be defined for the purpose of this Constitution as meaning any team consisting of two individuals not both attending the same institution.
(1) The eligibility of any country to participate in the Championships shall be limited to those countries listed in Schedule A and any other decided by a two-thirds majority of the Council.
(2) Any new country admitted on such a vote shall be added to Schedule A under the category of countries as the Council may determine.
(3) Any new country wishing to apply to participate in the Championships, may in the first instance be admitted to do so by the organisers of the next Round in consultation with the Committee. The decision of the organisers to admit such a country must subsequently be ratified by the Council at that round in order for the country to be added to Schedule A and participate in future Rounds of the Championships.
(4) Notwithstanding the above Articles 24(1) to (3), no participating country may participate in both these Championships and the African, Asian or Australasian debating championships (with a team that is considered eligible to participate in the elimination rounds of the aforesaid debating championships) within a five year period. The Council may, on majority vote, expel any participating country from participating in the Championships and remove its name from Schedule A for breach of this Article 24(4).
(5) The Championships shall include a tournament to decide upon the best team which is ESL. Teams wishing to participate in a Round of the Championships as ESL must pre-register as such. The eligibility of such teams shall be at the discretion of the organising committee of that Round of the Championships with a right of appeal to the Council. In deciding upon the eligibilty of an ESL team the organising committee of the Round and the Council shall have regard to the following criteria:
(a) the language used at home by the team members;
(b) the languages used in teaching at the team’s institution;
(c) the national language(s) of the team and its members; and
(d) whether any other linguistic barrier exists to the team members speaking English.
These criteria should be appled to both members of a team requesting ESL status. Criteria exist for guidance only and are intended to help answer the question as to whether the members of a particular team suffer any significant disadvantage in being required to debate in English rather than their first languages of choice.
(1) The originals of this Constitution shall be lodged with the Centre for International Debate and Communication Training of the English Speaking Union of Dartmouth House, 37 Charles Street, London and copies shall be kept on websites maintained by the Committee, the Erasmus Debating Society and the Oxford Union. Such original and website copies shall be equal, final and conclusive evidence of the text of this Constitution.
(2) Within one month of the completion of each Round of the Championship, the outgoing Committee Chair shall ensure that updated versions of the Constitution (if amended) are authenticated by the Committee Chair-elect and forwarded to those institutions specified in para1 above. Upon receipt of said versions, there shall constitute equal, final and conclusive evidence of the text of this Constitution.
All previous Constitutions, rules, resolutions, conventions and customs relating to the Council are hereby repealed, revoked and abrogated.
The laws governing this constitution shall be those of England and Wales. Any dispute arising under this Constitution shall be referred to the World Debating Council of the World Universitities Debating Championships. In the event that the said Council refuses or fails to rule on the dispute, the dispute shall be referred to arbitration in the country in which the current round is held under the rules of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (London Branch) by single arbitrator to be appointed by the parties, or in default of such appointment, by the head of the London Branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
This Constitution shall come into effect immediately upon its adoption.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF WE HAVE HEREUNTO SET OUR HANDS TO THIS THE CONSTITUTION OF THE EUROPEAN UNIVERSITIES DEBATING CHAMPIONSHIPS THIS DAY OF APRIL 2000
Signed and delivered as a Deed
by the aforementioned delegates
of the EUROPEAN UNIVERSITIES
in the presence of us both present
at the same time who in their
presence and in the presence of
eachother have hereunto subscribed
our names as witnesses
Schedule A :
Participating Countries as of the date of adoption of this Constitution
England & Wales
Republic of Ireland
This Blog has now moved to idebate.org/worlddebating - all future posts will be made there!
World Debating News
4 May 2002
At the 2002 Worlds Council countries were invited to submit a report to the council to let other nations know about debating in their country. It was not compulsory but a number of nations gave reports.
Yugoslavia - university debate report to 2002 Worlds Council
History of university debating in Yugoslavia
Debate as an activity began in Yugoslavia in 1994. with the high school program of the (then) Soros Foundation - the format used was Karl Popper. In 1997, the first generation of the program's participants graduated high school and decided to form a university debate club. To this purpose the "Open Communication" club (www.ok.org.yu) was formed and registered as an NGO - to this day it remains the only club in the country debating according to international programs and standards. After the Open Society Institute (NY) had organised a Parliamentary Debate Seminar, the club began training and debating in the US parliamentary format.
Status of debate in higher education
Debate is not incorporated into the higher education system in Yugoslavia as a part of the curriculum, nor as an extra-curricular activity. At its inception, "Open Communication" attempted to open debate clubs at various faculties at the University of Belgrade, until the passing of the 1998 University Bill which subjected all discussion and criticism of the government to censorship. The club decided to set up it’s own program outside the university and operate independently (which it has done as part of the Alternative Academic Education Network, running a program at the Belgrade Open School). The club is strongly supported in its activities by IDEA.
With the political changes in Yugoslavia, opportunities are opening up for the integration of debate into the higher education system - however a new University law is still pending, as is discussion of reform of the university system.
Open Communication - program and projects
The club has some 80 active members (both students and lecturers at the Belgrade University), while some estimated 300 students have passed through the program. In addition to its regular program (weekly lectures and debates), the club organises public debates on controversial issues, TV debates, lectures by guest speakers. Many of the club's efforts are aimed at spreading recognition and acceptance of debate among the public. Also there is an annual summer camp which incorporates workshops on public speaking, mock trials, psychology, etc with a tournament.
The club co-operates with independently formed clubs in Montenegro with which it established the Yugoslav University Debate Network. Federal Tournaments were held in 1998 and 1999.
"Open Communication" has worked on opening clubs in all university centers in Yugoslavia - to date there are clubs operating at the University of Novi Sad, Nis and Subotica.
The club organises an annual tournament, which in the past two years included teams from ex-Yugoslav republics (Slovenia, Croatia, BiH, Macedonia). Yugoslav students have participated in debate tournaments in Slovenia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary. Several debaters attended the World Debate Institute program at the University of Vermont, USA. Yugoslav debaters were first introduced to the UK parliamentary format at Europeans 2000 in Aberdeen, where they ranked in 6th place on the overall tab. Two Yugoslav teams participated in Worlds 2001 in Glasgow, as well as Europeans 2001 in Slovenia where one team ranked 3rd on the overall tab.
Address: palata Beograd, Masarikova 5, 16th floor, office 1611
At the 2002 Worlds Council countries were invited to submit a report to the council to let other nations know about debating in their country. It was not compulsory but a number of nations gave reports.
United States Country Report to 2002 Worlds Council
Please note: The United States has two major parliamentary debate associations (and many other small, non-parliamentary groups), the American Parliamentary Debate Association (APDA) and the National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA). The two circuits are autonomous, and do not compete at the same tournaments, and the American seat on the council has always been controlled by APDA. The following report regards APDA, of which I am President.
1) DEFINITION OF INSTITUTION
APDA is a parliamentary debate organization which recently became incorporated under New York State laws. It is comprised of paid member schools, which are simply American universities. The organization works on a "One school, one vote" system, with membership requirements consisting of an annual fee. The debate style is uniform on the circuit, with two two-person teams competing against each other in rounds. Other information regarding APDA, its By-laws, or its style description can be found at our web site at: http://APDA.anadas.com. It is temporarily down, but should be up in one week's time.
2) THE ISSUE OF ADVANCED DEGREES
In this section I will outline the eligibility requirements for individual debaters, and in the process address degrees awarded at American institutions. Primarily, the majority of APDA debaters are UNDERGRADUATE students at member school Universities. However, a few debaters are GRADUATE students, receiving either Business, medical, or law degrees at member universities. Age is not a determinant of eligibility, nor is level of educational experience. What is a determinant is participation on the circuit. APDA allows members 4 years of "eligibility" receive consideration for cumulative year-end awards or compete at the national championships. However, anyone may come back and debate at a tournament in the regular season, north Americans, or worlds regardless of eligibility (they only lose their eligibility for nationals and end of the year apda awards). A year of eligibility on APDA is defined as competition at three in year tournaments and/or competition at a national championship.
3) ISSUE OF MULTIPLE INSTITUTIONS
This has never been an issue with APDA debate.
President, American Parliamentary Debate Association
At the 2002 Worlds Council countries were invited to submit a report to the council to let other nations know about debating in their country. It was not compulsory but a number of nations gave reports.
Turkey Country Report to 2002 Worlds Council
The origins of debating in Turkey can be traced back to 1960’s. Yet the format was different, a predetermined motion would be debated without any points of information or time constraints. It was a group of students from Bogazici University who has attended to World Universities Debating Championship 1996, in South Africa. It was then, when debating in terms of British Parliamentary Style started in Turkey.
The institutionalisation of debating societies in Turkey is somewhat different than in many others countries. Debating societies in most universities are functioning under the umbrella of student clubs. These student clubs have their own distinct areas of activities varying from bridge to climbing; furthermore these clubs are not united under one student bodies like a union or a society.
In Bogazici University there is no separate debating club, but a debate subcommittee performs under Management & Economics Club. Management & Economics Club, being one of the largest clubs in Bogazici University, as far as the number of members is Concerned, has 11 subcommittees ranging from Model United Nations to Finance and Investment.
As previously mentioned, debate subcommittee was established in 1995 and it was this subcommittee which introduced British Parliamentary Style to Turkish Universities. The same year 1st Turkey Universities Debating Championship was organised in Bogazici University with the participation of 28 universities. This year the tournament which is going to be held in Uludag University has reached a number of 57 participant universities. One of the main problems of debating in Turkey is that the British Parliamentary rules have not been quite internalised. This problem usually materialises in definitions to be made by the opening propositions. Most other common problems are either related to structural concerns or adjudication. Since BP debating is a relatively new phenomenon in Turkey, it’s difficult to find adjudicators who can judge debates in tournaments. Turkey Universities Debating Council tries to overcome this problem by organising adjudicator training programs and making attendance mandatory for those who will adjudicate.
Another problem of Turkish Debating is, participation in international contests. Neither the governmental agencies nor the universities are in the position to offer financial support to cover up the expenses of participants. The only alternative left to debaters is to find sponsors, which is neither permanent nor reliable. There are limited things debaters can offer in return to the sponsors: Opening stands in the University Campus (upon permission from the administration), having their names mentioned in bulletins and newspapers. So far, the only university which could make to the Worlds is Bogazici University. One of the two reasons for that is, the teaching language in most of the universities in Turkey is, naturally Turkish. The other one is, although there are several universities in which the teaching language is English, they are both reluctant in searching for sponsors and training someone to debate in English.
We are encouraging other debating clubs to debate in English in order to attend international Tournaments with more people from Turkey.
South African Report to 2002 Worlds Council
University debating, as everyone reading this report knows it, effectively began in 1996 in South Africa with the hosting of the first South African National Universities Debating Championships, followed by the 1997 World Universities Debating Championships - both of these events presented by the University of Stellenbosch Debating Society.
University debating had, in some form or another, existed in South Africa since 1876 when Stellenbosch University (then Victoria College) started a debating society. Active debate suffered throughout the apartheid era in South Africa and as such many generations have been unexposed to the benefits of active debate and critical thought. Questioning discussions and criticism was not encouraged and in many instances violently opposed. Thankfully the situation at current is one of a relatively peaceful democracy where criticism and intellectual discussion is not only tolerated but openly encouraged. This is evident in the sudden increase in the number of debating societies at tertiary institutions all over South Africa.
During the first National Championships in 1996, members of the universities of Stellenbosch, Rhodes, Cape Town (UCT) and the Witwatersrand (Wits) founded the National Debating Council (NDC) of South Africa. The NDC is committed to developing debating in South Africa on all levels and as such has recently hosted the World Schools Debating Championships in Johannesburg - an event that we are led to believe ranks amongst the most successful of its kind ever. The NDC governs university debating in South Africa and has over thirty members institutions comprising universities, colleges and technikons (South African technical colleges) from South and Southern Africa. At present the NDC is an unincorporated body although incorporation is being considered - this can, of course, only take place once we’ve weeded out all the megalomaniacs which, considering debaters personas, could take forever.
For a copy of the NDC constitution, check out www.debating.org.za - yes, we have electricity, computers and even running water. And NO, I DO NOT have a pet lion.
South African debating has seen a period of exponential growth since 1996. Unfortunately the growth has been very much at “grass-roots” level (apologies to all South Africans reading this - I know we all hear that way too much) resulting in far more work being required to raise the general standard of South African debate to a level comparable to international standards.
Tertiary education institutions in South Africa fall into four categories:
• Universities - which provide undergraduate and post-graduate degrees in arts, sciences, commerce and so forth.
• Colleges - which provide diplomas in field similar to those provided for by universities.
• Technikons - technical training colleges providing training in engineering, sciences and so forth.
• Specialised institutions - schools specialising in marketing, art, theatre, etc. At present no debating societies exist at these institutions.
At present, NDC member institutions are from the first three categories mentioned above, namely universities, colleges and technikons. Of the above all are recognised by the Ministry of education. Universities also include distance education or correspondence courses offered by universities. The NDC recognises distance education students and they are, as such, eligible to debate and adjudicate.
SA debating recognises all institutions in an effort to allow everyone equal access and opportunity to the art of debating and all the benefits associated with it. We hope that the WUDC will grant our member institutions the same opportunity. Currently the WUDC constitution only seems to allow for the participation of Universities as such. In light of this I would ask for clarification on this issue for South Africa.
3. Advanced Degrees
The South African academic model is similar to the European model in that professional degrees are undergraduate degrees. Advanced degrees are only available through universities. All students, be they undergraduate or post graduate (Masters or Doctoral) from universities or undergraduates from other tertiary institutions are eligible to debate in NDC sanctioned events in South Africa. The vast majority of debaters are undergraduate with some post-graduate participants.
Professional training and internships are conducted using an apprenticeship model. As is the case with Israel, graduates undergoing apprenticeship are not considered students unless simultaneously pursuing a qualification.
4. Multiple Debating Societies
No academic institutions in South Africa have more than one debating society from external viewpoints. As mentioned in the Israeli Report, funding - from either corporate or institutions’ administrations - is extremely hard to come by and in light of this multiple debating societies is not realistic of likely.
The Cape Technikon, in the Western Cape, has in the past had what they referred to as different societies on campus. This was, in reality, a way of fostering competition on campus as the societies merged and competed united under the Cape Technikon name at all competitions that they took part, most recently the 2000 National Championships.
In the event of multiple debating societies operating, the issue will be dealt with by the NDC which will take a decision as to the validity of the society. It is very difficult to foresee any problems with the recognition of a society which meets the same criteria as any other NDC member and I look forward to the day when debating on any South African campus is so competitive that two rival societies and exist on one campus. Just think, we could have intersociety drinking competitions too.
The NDC actively encourages the growth of debating in South Africa - as such the National Championships have, since the 1999 tournament (hosted by Wits University) featured a training session for all new participants. In addition to this, training booklets and videos are provided by the NDC to universities seeking assistance and in some instances universities with established societies have made trips to campuses where debating had not existed and facilitated training workshops, etc.
Active promotion of high school debating is also a priority for the NDC as an active culture of debate in high schools country wide in beneficial to the growth and development of the South African youth and debating in general. That and it makes for better debaters.
All intervarsity debating is conducted in the Worlds style (referred to at times as British Parliamentary (BP) style) and the NDC actively promotes the use of the style to facilitate South African teams hassle free participation Worlds now and in the future. Only currently registered students are eligible to debate and anyone (within reason) is eligible to adjudicate. Active steps are being taken to formalising a system of adjudicator accreditation within South Africa.
South Africa has eleven official languages. No, seriously. Most South African tertiary institutions are ESL institutions and receive instruction in Xhosa, Zulu, Afrikaans, Venda, Sotho, Tswana and so forth. Teams competing in South African competitions registering as ESL teams are evaluated on the level of English spoken and the language preference of their institutions. Regarding the WUDC, many South African teams have and will in the future be registering as ESL teams. In light of this the suggestion at Council this year that the National Representative be consulted in the event of any doubt seems fair in our situation as the NDC rep at Worlds will always be in a position to distinguish the matter when someone with no knowledge of South Africa may not.
This concludes the South African Report. I respectfully submit this document
on behalf of the NDC in my capacity as chairperson.
SA Rep - Worlds Council.
Singapore's report to 2002 Worlds Council
I'm the Captain of the NUS debate team but I also write this report on behalf of NTU.
We have 2 universities who have actively been represented in the WUDC: the National University of Singapore (NUS) and the Nanyang Technological University (NTU). We actually have 1 more university: the Singapore Management University (SMU) which to my knowledge has no debating team, nor any intention to develop one in the near future.
These 3 universities all have undergraduate courses and post graduate courses. Law is a direct degree course and is NOT a post graduate course.
The status of polytechnics
Singapore has 4 polytechnics which although officially labelled as a 'tertiary institutions' do not offer degrees. Instead they offer courses leading to a diploma. They have their own debating circuit which does not involve the universities. The only time when they debate with the universities is when NTU organises the annual inter-institute debating tournament invitationals which also includes junior colleges (ie high schools) to my knowledge the polytechnics have not entered the WUDC before although there is no reason why they shouldn't.
The status of Singapore as an ESL country
Well this is the hardest part of the report. Many people have expressed reservation over our status and so I hope to clarify the issue. I already did say something during the Council meeting in Glasgow but anyway, no harm repeating myself.
My stand is that we ARE an ESL country.
Let me first state the objections that people often have about Singapore and I will deal with each contention:
1. but you're taught in English
Ans: Yes, but while English is widely spoken and understood, it is certainly not a first language for the majority of the population in Singapore. In fact the speaking competence of the local population is still firmly grounded in local dialects. Singapore has 4 working languages: English, Malay, Tamil and Chinese (Mandarin) The official language is Malay. Our national Anthem is in malay. School children learn English in school and are taught in English but we speak out native language (and dialects) at home. The Chinese for example have the following dilects: cantonese, hokkein, teochew, hakka, hainese, kek etc. Many of our debaters join debates as a means of practising our English.
2. But NUS made it to the quarterfinals in Sydney worlds
Ans: That's true, but that team was an exception rather than the norm. Prima facie, I think that it is fair that if a Singapore team breaks in the open top 32 teams, it should be excluded from the ESL. This rule should also apply to other Asian countries having ESL status. However, consider the following problem: we have many students from overseas debating for NUS and NTU. most of them come from India, Pakistan, china, Mauritius etc. It would be ridiculous to hold them to the standard of a EFL team merely because they are from Singapore. on that point, EVEN IF the team was composed of Singaporeans, we are a multiracial country, and have our own different languages.
3. Every Singaporean I've met speaks English. In fact some of them even debate for UK universities. Therefore Singapore should be EFL rather and ESL.
Ans: that is an unfair broad-brush approach to the situation. These people who are able to do so will be held to EFL status, since they consented to such a standard by debating for a UK university (it would be silly for a Singaporean to claim ESL status while debating for Oxford for example); but that being the case should not negate the ESL status of other debaters who cannot hold themselves to that level of speaking competence. If Singapore is held not to be an ESL country, then countries like Malaysia, Philippines, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Hong Kong etc should also be excluded form the ESL since they all use English as their medium of instruction. Clearly this is not appropriate.
1. Singapore is an ESL country
2. Pursuant to the rules now, whichever ESL teams break into the open round, should be disqualified from the ESL break rounds.
3. But there is no reason to disqualify Singapore's ESL status merely because English is one of the 4 mediums of instruction.
4. Because we do not have a homogenous population, and because English is not always a comfortable medium of communication, we are an ESL country.
5. We will abide by the code of honour. If for example 2 American students on a Fullbright scholarship in NUS decide to represent NUS in the next WUDC, they will NOT be registered as an ESL team.
6. A test of the teams' ESL status should be decided on the composition of the team rather than on the team's country of origin.
I hope that this report has been helpful. best regards all
Singapore Rep - Worlds Council.
Scottish Report to 2002 Worlds Council
1) General overview
Although I was upset that no Scots teams broke at Worlds this year that fact is not, in my opinion, generally reflective of Scottish debating. Although there have been problems over the last couple of years, they are now, mostly, resolved. In essence there are six debating institutions in Scotland - the universities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, St Andrews and Strathclyde. All of these run their own competitions as well as participating in the Scottish leg of the John Smith Memorial Mace Competition, the Scotsman Debating Championship and a couple of specialist competitions - for first year speakers etc. Plans to resurect the debating societies at Glasgow Caledonian University and Herriot Watt University are progressing, albeit slowly.
2) Controversial institutions
Frankly we don't really have any so the only issue that could possibly come up for us is when someone is perusing an unusual form of study, e.g. part-time students. Frankly, I have two thoughts on this subject. Firstly we will never be able to come up with a form of words which will cover all types of courses and certainly not one which will remain relevant for more than about an hour after we leave the meeting room. This isn't defeatist it's the pragmatic reality of modern higher education. Secondly, therefore, there are two rules of thumb that I have long used in settling eligability issues in other circumstances. I will continue to defend the honour system
- if someone is determined to be deceitful there's not all that much we can do about it. But generally speaking I think that if someone's eligible to speak in the own national/regional championships then they should be eligible for worlds. Rather than trying to come up with the format for how we decide eligibility I think it is more important to decide the method. In essence the one we have works but could probably do with some tweaking. A distinction need to be drawn between those situations where the host organiser is perfectly happy to allow someone to enter but doesn't know whether they can and those situations where the host institution wants to actively discourage participation. The situation with Ross MacDonald this year being a prime example of the latter. As most of you will be aware I argued that Ross should be allowed to enter
- this wasn't because I necessarily thought Glasgow were wrong but simply because that's what the constitution said - as I understood it. or what it's worth I think an institution should be at liberty to ban individuals they deem to be a risk to the safe running of the tour
Russian Report to 2002 Worlds Council
System of higher education: Universities & institutes. Everyone, upon graduating from the 11th grade can apply and try to pass the entrance exams. The average age of the university students is 17 - 22 yrs.
Debating clubs aren't attached to the universities so closely, as in the other countries, 'cause the debates weren't developed so intensively yet. The exception is Moscow, where a lot of universities possess their own debating clubs. The most developed ones are attached to the Private Universities where they have the financial support as well. Among Moscow debating clubs are Moscow State University Club, the Higher School for Economics, etc. In St-Petersburg we do have 2 clubs, one of which - St-Petersburg club has its sections in 4 Universities of the city, incl. 2 most significant (St-Petersburg State University and St-Petersburg Pedagogical State Univ.) and 2 private ones.
Debates in Russia are developed in other cities of Russia such as Nijni Novgorod, Samara, Pskov, Novgorod, Tula, Novosibirsk, Toliatti, Ryazan, Cheliabinsk, Taganrog, Cheboksary, Tambov, Iaroslavl, Volgograd and others.
Most debaters started their debating experience since school years when they were Karl Popper debaters. Karl Popper program is well-developed here and was mostly supported with OSI funds. Only in St-Petersburg more than 50 schools have their local debating clubs.
The most significant Parli-events are held in: Moscow - annual Moscow Open Winter Games - in February (Moscow State University), Moscow Open Games - December (Higher School for Economics), St-Petersburg City Tournament - May (St-Petersburg Club); Ryazan Open Games, Pskov Open Games. etc.
Co-ordinator of International Relations
St-Petersburg Parliamentary Debates club
Portuguese Report to 2002 Worlds Council
In 1999, the Lisbon Debating Society (LDS) was the first debating society to be established in Portugal. Today it federates 5 Debating Unions from several Universities in the greater Lisbon area:
* the Law Faculty of the University of Lisbon
* the Faculty of Arts of the University of Lisbon
* the Catholic University of Portugal
* the Economics and Law Faculty of the New University of Lisbon
* the Social Sciences Faculty of the New University of Lisbon
Note: Although some debating unions are from the same university, they are not from the same faculties. Faculties operate independently within the universities. They are often located in different campuses and it is therefore far more practical for the debaters to hold their meetings at their own faculty. Therefore, the fact that 2 debating unions exist in the same university is not due to any rivalry between them, but to their organisational needs. Since all debating unions in this situation are members of the Lisbon Debating Society, they try to determine who attends competitions abroad (Europeans, worlds) so that the University rather than the debating union is represented. There have been no problems related to this issue, since all debaters acknowledge the advantages of acting as a university, particularly in terms of fundraising.
The Lisbon Debating Society also coordinates debates and competitions for local schools.
It has sent debaters to previous editions of the European Championships and attended worlds for the first time this year (a team from the Catholic University of Portugal). Coaching activities for the national world schools teams are have been conducted by university debaters from the LDS.
In the year 2000, 4 other Debating Societies have been created in other parts of the country:
- Oporto Debating Society
- Coimbra Debating Society
- Viseu Debating Society
- Debating Society of Minho
In March 2001, the National Debating Council of Portugal was established by representatives of the several societies. Its structure is pretty much similar to that of the worlds council - chosing the host for each year's National Championship and coordinating debating activities and the IV-calendar.
The institutional structure looks something like this:
NATIONAL DEBATING COUNCIL - co-operates with the ESU Portugal
a) Lisbon Debating Society:
- Law Faculty Union
- Catholic University of Portugal Debating Union
- Economics and Law Faculty of the New University of Lisbon Debating Union
- Social Sciences Faculty of the New University of Lisbon Union
- Debating Union of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Lisbon
b) Oporto Debating Society
c) Debating Society of Viseu
d) Debating Society of Minho
Although it hasn't had enough time to function as system, we anticipate that the main organisational activities (IV's, workshops, fundraising) will be conducted by the local debating societies. The role of the National Debating Council will be mainly that of coordinating the tournament calendar, organising the National Championships and picking the national world schools team. The President of the National Debating Council will also take on the responsibility of representing Portugal at the Worlds and Europeans Council.
Higher Education in Portugal
The Portuguese degree system is very similar to the continental European model. Practically all major courses are undergraduate degrees.
Some post-graduate students (masters candidates) will be involved in debating activities as of the beginning of the next school year. They are considered full-time students for all effects by the Portuguese educational system.
The problem regarding law students undergoing the Portuguese professional training course (an 18 month internship at the bar is required for all those who wish to become lawyers) does not exist: they should not be considered students.
Debating activities in Portugal started thanks to the initiative of the local British
Council and of the English Speaking Union - Portugal. In recent years debating societies have been founded throughout the country, and this year a national debating body has finally been established. Many other institutions are beginning to take part and we expect to have new 2-3 new debating unions by the end of the year 2001. School debating clubs exist as well - right now 4 of them have regular debating activities.
More information on Portuguese debating can be found at the LDS website - www.debating.net/lds or by e-mailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org The National Debating Council is currently preparing a website of its own.
If anything remains unclear, please e-mail me at email@example.com
Pedro Delgado Alves
Portuguese Delegate, WUDC
The Netherlands Report to 2002 Worlds Council
Debating societies in the Netherlands are found at Universiteiten (where you study for a Masters) and Hogescholen (where you study for a Bachelors). There are also non-student debating societies, usually associated with youth sections of political parties.
Masters institutions always have the word Universiteit in their name. Bachelors institutions are called HBO, HEAO or HTS (always with the "H" of Hogeschool at the beginning of the acronym).
Advanced degrees for can be a Masters (either fulltime or parttime at an Universiteit) or a PhD (also at an Universiteit). A law degree is a standard Masters. After you finish Universiteit, you have to pass the bar exam through the law firm where you work. These people are *not* students, they are considered lawyers. The bar exam is not connected to any university institution, it is connected to the Bar Society. I have never met a PhD student at any debating society in the Netherlands, but it might happen in future.
There is currently only one Universiteit (and no Hogescholen) with more than 1 debating society. The Universiteit is the one of Leiden, where the two largest fraternities (Minerva and Augustinus) have their own debating societies. Minerva normally debates abroad as "Leiden" and Augustinus hardly ever debates abroad.
At other universities, debating societies are not linked to fraternities or student unions. They are independent student societies. There are law faculties with their own moot court competitions, but that is considered entirely separate from debating. At present Amsterdam has one debating society, but there are two Universiteiten. So it is conceivable that eventually a second debating society will be founded.
The Israeli Report to 2002 Worlds Council
While this may reflect rather poorly on the debating scene in Israel, fortunately it is rather uncomplex and straight forward (read: still very under developed). The academic structure in Israel is fairly simple and there are not many foreseeable problems concerning the debating scene in Israel in the future (except perhaps its slow growth rate...).
University debating in Israel is governed by the Israeli University Debating League which is a council of representatives of the different active debating societies. The league works in cooperation with Siach Va'Sig, The Israel Debating Society.
The Israeli academic world splits into two major categories - Universities, of which there are six, and private government recognized 'Colleges' which teach a more limited scope of subjects and usually specialize in a particular field (law, computers, engineering, etc.). The colleges are subject to government licensing and are authorized to grant officially recognized degrees that for official purposes are equal to those granted by universities.
At present there are debating societies (at different levels of activity) in four of the six universities (Hebrew University, Haifa University, Tel Aviv University and The Technion) and also in two large colleges (Israeli College of Management and the Israeli Interdisciplinary College). In the past there was a debating society in Bar Ilan University as well, but it is now dormant. All these debating societies participate in the national competitions as well as the World Championships and the European Championships.
There is also a wide variety of religious institutions of higher education (Yeshivas). Until recently, there were no Yeshivas with debating societies. Over the course of the last academic year, a debating program has begun operating in one Yeshiva in Jerusalem and representatives of that program participated in the Open Jerusalem Championships (this competition is also open to High School teams). That said, the future of this program is uncertain. Yeshivas are not recognized by the Higher Education Council of the Ministry of Education and are not considered academic institutions, as studies are not conducted towards an academic degree.
2. Advanced Degrees
The Israeli academic model is generally similar to the European structure. Professional degrees (law, engineering, etc.) are undergraduate degrees. Law, engineering and medicine, for example, are all undergraduate degrees.
Advanced degrees, at the present, are only available through universities, not through colleges. Students studying towards advanced degrees participate in debating activities and are eligible for participation in the national championships. While most debaters are undergraduate students, there are Masters and Doctoral candidates that participate in debating activities.
Professional training (internships, etc.) in Israel are conducted using an apprenticeship model, not through professional training institutions. Specifically, law students undergoing their professional training, after graduation from law school, are not considered students (unless they are pursuing a different degree simultaneously).
3. Multiple Debating Societies
There are no academic institutions in Israel where more than one debating society exists. In light of the ongoing struggle of the existing debating societies for funding and support from the institutions' administrations, the development of more than one debating society in a single university is very highly unlikely.
Should a parallel debating society begin to operate, the issue will most likely be dealt with by the Israeli University Debating League which will verify the situation and make a decision regarding the recognition of the problematic debating society.
The Israeli University Debating League is is attempting to encourage other academic institutions to establish debating societies. Debating is increasingly becoming a more recognized part of Israeli student and campus life and we are hoping this trend will continue in the upcoming years.
Israeli Delegate, World University Debating Council
Irish Report to 2002 Worlds Council
This report does encompass one of the Inns that are causing all the consternation on the debating circuit. The Irish case is very different to that of England and should be considered as such. If any further information is needed in this respect please contact me personally, and I will gladly add to my report.
Firstly there is no Irish Debating Association. Attempts have been made in the past to establish one but these have generally failed in the Irish inability to get along with one another. Thus on arrival in Worlds the Irish Delegate is chosen by the participants as per the constitution. Many of the established Irish Universities are intrinsically linked to World wide debating (UCD, UCC, TCD, Limerick) while other newer colleges are emerging to join them (e.g. DCU).
In debating terms the entity Ireland actually covers 2 countries the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland (politically part of the UK). In total the Republic has 7 Universities: (UC Cork, University of Limerick, University of Dublin (aka Trinity College), NUI Galway, UC Dublin, NUI Maynooth and Dublin City University) a multitude of Institutes of Technology (e.g. Waterford IT, Dublin IT) and several full time career based institutes (Kings Inns, SADSI-Solicitors, Cadet/Military School etc).
In Northern Ireland we have several Universities who compete in the Times and Mace competitions and who have competed at Worlds in the past. These include Queens University Belfast UU Jordanstown, UU Colraine etc.
This is a postgraduate college for those pursuing a qualification at the bar, ie barristers. This is a full time course and is registered as such with the Irish Department of education. The course entails 10 hours of lectures, which may not seem a lot, but compared with the Arts course in UCC, it has more hours than second or third years. Yes, some people participating in this course have found employment outside of attending college. Then most students have to co-fund their education in this country and have part-time jobs outside their education, plus the Inns charge fees to the students and this is another reason why some feel it essential to find jobs. This year the Inns were finalists at the World's competition and Finalists in the Irish National Championships (Times). They must be considered on the merits of all other full time education programs that exist. Other institutes, which are considered valid full time institutes, include SADSI/Solicitors, Cadet-Military School. There are institutes which operate on a purely part time basis and which offer courses often considered essential to furthering a chosen career. Examples of these are the College of Surgeons and Institutes offering APICS (Logistics) courses. These institutes are part time and are not considered eligible for Worlds or 3rd level debating in Ireland. For a better feel for the number of valid colleges on the Irish debating circuit please check www.debating.net/irishtimes
As far as I am concerned an institution designates that competitors are attending a full time education course. Which in the case of Ireland does encompass the Inns. There are more than the Inns that fall under this category and participate in the World's competition such as; UC Cork, University of Limerick, TC Dublin, Dublin City University, NUI Galway, University College Dublin. Along with these institutions there are more that compete at national level in competitions like the Times and the Mace. While Worlds are the World UNIVERSITIES debating championships it is important to note that the Irish full time 3rd level are not all referred to as Universities. Like many other countries Ireland has Institutes of Technology which while not full Universities consist of full time students studying for 2 year “Certificates” 3 year Diplomas and 4 year Degree courses. These are all considered eligible for National competitions and many have competed at Worlds in the past. A term you may hear is National University of Ireland. This is the body which awards the Degrees of 4 separate institutes or University colleges. These are Cork, Dublin, Galway and Maynooth and are all very separate colleges.
Times & Mace:
These are two internal national competitions that run in Ireland nationally. The Mace is run in the same style as World's with British Parliamentary Standard, while the Times a different debating style. Winners of the Irish Mace compete in the international Mace final against the Mace winners from Scotland, and England/Wales (www.irishmace.com). The Irish Times (www.debating.net/irishtimes) begins in the first round with up to twelve teams per debate, and the next rounds host four teams and four individuals, thus it is like holding two competitions in one a Team competition and an individual competition.
They are entered by all the afore mentioned institutions. What this enables the participants at World's to achieve is practice before the competition, and to perfect individual debating technique.
Every year there is great activity in this field between the Irish and the British Isles. In recent years we have seen the main Irish, English and Scottish colleges participate more in a British Isles circuit. In the terms before Christmas there is practically an event every weekend held in Worlds Format and literally the best teams in these islands will debate against each other in competitions held across all 3 countries. While this format of National competitions mixed with an international circuit may seem odd we believe it has brought the standard of debating in Ireland up to a level where we have teams once again in the final at Worlds. Again as in the Times and mace there is never a question of the Inns not being able to participate in these competitions.
More than one society per University:
Ireland has a long and often bitter past of its people not being able to get along and this has influenced the pattern of societies in the country. Not only does intense rivalry (and often personal hatred) exist between members of different institutes that same rivalry often exists within institutions. Taking the example of UCC, the Philosoph is over 150 years old while the Law Society is only 80. Each of these societies represents different groups of students within the college (e.g. Arts etc Vs Law). It is the same in most college's in Ireland, and the gulf between them will not be reconciled enough for them to operate in coalition with each other. The team cap per institute is therefore one which has caused great problems when 2 or more societies from the same institute attempt to book the entire allocation. The willingness of Host societies to accommodate this split has been gratefully acknowledged in the past and we hope will continue in the future.
If any of you would like any further information, I will be glad to answer any questions.
Irish Delegate, World University Debating Council
GREEK DEBATING REPORT to 2002 Worlds Council
In the following report I will try to do two things. First I will give a (hopefully) comprehensive account of the history of debating in Greece, and its present situation, based on information I have been gathering in the past months. Also I will briefly comment on the tertiary level of the Greek educational system and the use of English in Greek education.
HISTORY OF GREEK DEBATING
World’s style Debating is fairly recent. As such, it wasn’t practiced systematically before the 1990’s. The Deree College ‘Forensics Club’ renamed itself to ‘Debating Club’ in 1994. As it will be made apparent later, in many aspects, University level Greek Debating is very much connected to Deree College-The American College of Greece.
Debating was first practiced and still continues to be mostly practiced in English by private secondary schools that offer some or all lessons in a foreign language (mostly English) and are accredited by the Greek Ministry of Education. It was during the 70’s (and in some cases even earlier) that some of them created Forensic Clubs that included, besides Debating, activities like Oral Interpretation, Oratory, Group Discussion, Duet Acting and Impromptu Speaking.
In the mid 1970’s the Pan-Hellenic Forensics Society was set up by Athens College (now called Hellenic American Educational Foundation), Anatolia College-The American College of Thessaloniki, Pierce College, American Community Schools (ACS) and Pinewood School. This Society, which is still run mostly by debating coaches, organized a competition, which was held twice a year, once at Thessaloniki and once in Athens and selects each year the National Team for World Schools. Since the mid 1980’s the tournament has been an annual event with the place of competition alternating between Athens and Thessaloniki. At the moment there around 10 schools participating in debate: those above, plus Kosteas-Geitonas School, Campion School, Moraites School, St. Lawrence, and sometimes Geitonas School. Each school is allowed to send up to 4 debate teams.
In the past year there has been an effort to introduce debating in Greek by the Society of Rhetoric and Dialectic Art of Athens University in cooperation with the Arsakeia-Tositseia Schools. Additionally, there seems to be a plan for introducing Argumentation Contests in the Greek educational system in the instance of the 2400 years from the death of Socrates. Although currently it is dubious how much relation the latter will have with debating it is a much welcomed effort that might lead to an institutional recognition of the educational benefits of debating.
Deree College Debating Club
It was in Deree College that debating was practiced at a University level for the first time. Deree College’s origins can be traced to Pierce College’s upper division in the early 1980’s. Deree College later became a fully accredited Bachelor granting College by New England Association of Schools and Colleges, but, for reasons that will be explained later, is not recognized by the Greek state as a University.
The Deree College Forensics Club was founded in 1987. Ever since it has participated in numerous WUDC (representing Greece as a charter nation in WUDC Constitution), Europeans and British Intervarsity Tournaments. In 1994 with the adoption of the British Parliamentary style and a decline in the interest of other activities, it was renamed ‘Deree College Debating Club’.
Deree College wrote the most important page in Greek Debating history in the hosting of the XVIII Worlds University Debating Championship in 1998, the first time in a non-English Speaking country. Deree had hosted in 1993 the European Universities Debating Championship and several summer debating events but WUDC was something of a much greater scale. The XVIII WUDC was one of the largest (more than 800 participants) and generally considered to be very successful and not only for the social events, which have set an important precedent for WUDC.
In the past 11 years the Deree College Debating Club organizes every semester an Invitational Debating Tournament. This event, which observes WUDC rules (with 6 minute speeches), is attended by most high schools that participate in the Pan-Hellenics Forensic Tournament and also by other debating Clubs and some independent debaters.
Besides Deree College, debating is practiced systematically at a University Level only by University of La Verne-Athens Campus and the Society of Rhetoric and Dialectic Art of Athens University. There have been and still continue to be efforts to introduce Debating in other Universities mostly by students that have been debating in High School. It is from these efforts that some Greek Universities have sent teams to International Debating tournaments. There might be some developments that I might not be aware of especially in Thessaloniki where there is a tradition though Anatolia College.
GREEK EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM
Based on an interpretation of an article in the Greek Constitution, namely that Higher Education is a State concern, no private universities have been recognized by the Greek Government. It is highly likely that this situation will change in the future but it is not possible to determine the exact time. Consequently, the degrees of Deree College and other private colleges, mostly of foreign origin, are not recognized as equivalent to those of State Greek Universities and don’t have special professional rights.
Although there seems to be an effort to introduce debating in Greek state High-schools, debating as such is not a recognized activity and it will take some time until an institutional effort will be made towards the introduction of debating in Higher Education. There are activities that employ verbal and argumentative skills like Model United Nations or Simulations of the European Parliament but those are still in infant levels. Consequently there isn’t yet any formal organization that coordinates debating events in Greece. It is only through the efforts of individuals that try to keep communications channels open and though the ‘Pan-Hellenic Forensic’ and the ‘Deree College Invitational Debating’ Tournaments that debating is practiced and Greek students have the opportunity
The official language of the Greek Sate is Greek, and this is the language used in state and private schools and state Universities. Foreign languages, mostly English but also German, French, Spanish and Italian, are taught in primary and secondary education although not always at very satisfactory level. There are also elective or obligatory foreign language courses for most universities.
Nevertheless, when one tries to understand the high competence of most young Greeks to European languages there has to be consideration over the great number of Private Language Tutors or Private Language Evening Schools. Almost all Greek students learn at least one foreign language through private tutorship from a very young age. These languages are not used at home but are employed at satisfactory proficiency by late adolescence.
Deree College Debating Club Vice President
Report on Debating in Germany to 2002 Worlds Council
By Jan Hessbruegge
(German Representative on Worlds and European Debating Council)
Germany is still part of the „third world of debating“. However in our case the term „developing world“ would not only be more politically correct, but also indeed more appropriate. Debating in Germany is currently developing at a fast pace.
I. University Debating in Germany
At the present point in time there about 15 different debating societies at various institutions of tertiary education. This number constantly grows though. The first club (Tuebingen) was founded in 1991. Most clubs have evolved independently from each other, some being inspired by debating clubs at English-speaking institutions, others not. Generally speaking clubs debate in German, although there are exceptions (e.g. Cologne). Due to their independent formation, there is no common format used. Some clubs use British Parliamentary Style (i.e. „Worlds Style“) or something fairly similar, others debate in totally different formats.
Not least to these differing styles, there has not been a Common German Championships so far. However, this year tournaments both in German and in English are to be held, which in all likelihood will use Worlds Style as a basis.
Germany has started to compete at international competitions in recent years. Teams from Muenster competed at Worlds 2001 and Europeans 2000. At Europeans 2001 six teams from three different debating clubs took part, with a Muenster team reaching the ESL finals. Future years will see a far greater involvement of German teams as the clubs (and their potential sponsors) are being informed about the international dimension of debating.
There exists a common web-site of German debating clubs: www.debattierclubs.de/unis
II. Highschool Debating in Germany
There are very few debating clubs in German schools, though some have been newly founded in recent years. A listing of the ones existing can be found at www.debattierclubs.de/schulen.
III. Institutions of tertiary education
Germany has a state system of tertiary education.
Hochschulen, Fachhochschulen and Universitaeten can be considered to be genuine universities. At a university level there exists no real differentiation between an undergraduate and a graduate level. After graduation students can choose to pursue a Dissertation (PhD) though. In this phase they are still immatriculated as students but do generally not have lectures.
Some university careers e.g. in law or education have a two-stage education. Following university graduation students get a practical education (so called Referandarzeit) of 1-2 years. During this time they continue to have some lectures and tutorials while working. Their degree is only thought to be achieved upon completion of this second stage. The case of these Referandare is therefore somewhat comparable to the case of the British Inns (...[disclaimer] taking in full account the complexity of the issue of the Inns and not wishing to assert any point of view in this matter)
There are also Berufsschulen (professional schools), that supplement a practical apprenticeship in various trades crafts, trades and professions. These schools cannot be considered to be universities.
In addition to all these state instituions there various private institutions. Some, namely Universitaet Witten-Herdecke, European School of Business, and Hamburg Law School, can be considered to be universities. The status of others would have to be determined on a case by case basis.
Germany is clearly an ESL-country. At home as well as in schools and universities German is lingua franca. Students start to learn English as their first foreign language at the age of ten years.
Czech Republic Report to 2002 Worlds Council
1. Definition of institution
Higher education in the Czech Republic is provided by universities, which, generally speaking, don't differ much from 'Western' institutions; certainly not from the worldwide basic idea of what a university is. University debating is still in an embryonic stage in the Cz Rep, having very few active debating societies. All the existing societies were established at universities; where possible new clubs are also likely to appear. I have no sign of debate activites emerging at different types of schools that might cause difficulties.
2. The issue of advanced degrees
Czech higher education system is generally compatible with the ones in Western Europe/North America and elsewhere, dividing the studies into undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Moreover, the current effort is to eliminate even the few differences in order to follow the models used in the EU. Theoretically, all BA, MA, and PhD students are entitled to participate in debating. In reality, however, mostly undergraduate students debate, which makes the situation even simpler. There are no higher education semi-professional institutions similar to the Inns in the Cz Rep.
3. The issue of multiple societies
So far, no multiple societies have emerged. Although I can't guarantee they wouldn't appear in the future, I can assure you the Czech debating community would make an effort to prevent the founding of more societies at one university.
Czech Delegate, World University Debating Council
Central Asia Report to 2002 Worlds Council
Although I currently represent Uzbekistan on the council, it is my dubious pleasure to write this report on behalf of the entire subcontinent (the task falls to me since nobody else involved in debating within 1500 miles can write coherent sentences in English) and to inform you all about a variety of countries that you may well have never heard of. So read this one, just for the sake of variety. It is rather extraordinary the places that debating can reach, as Nick Bibby once told me, and as ever his sage words are true.
So, to orientate the excited reader, imagine the continent of Asia. See China? Now turn left a little and you reach a bit you might never have noticed before. If you are in Russia you've gone too far up, if you are in Turkey, you've gone too far left, if you are in Afghanistan then get the fuck out of there, but welcome to Central Asia.
The countries here, other than that inimitable vacation spot, Afghanistan, were all members of the Soviet Union, and would mostly rather have remained so. Now they have been clad in the uncomfortable mantels of independence, and are slowly, but surely slipping away from their original democratic rhetoric, and the challenges of civil society are being replaced by the security of fairly mild authoritarian dictatorship.
Turkmenistan moved the furthest and fastest in that direction. Their President has a contract for life, his dead mother has become a saint, and there is a golden statue of him in the capital that always faces the sun. Foreign languages have been almost entirely removed from the school curriculum. Most international organisations have left in exasperation. In short, expect no debate teams from Turkmenistan at the next Worlds.
Mongolia can be included as a Central Asian state in certain respects. The ruling Communist party has until quite recently been on the productive side of benign. Some students speak English, many still speak Russian, and most try to avoid learning Chinese. There is a little debating, sponsored by the Soros foundation, and the possibility remains that a Mongolian team could get to an international competition if it was ever held in East Asia. But politics in Mongolia seems to be swinging to the right at the moment due in part to two terrible winters that devastated the horse and yak herds, so the chances of continued investment in something as luxurious as debating looks slim.
In the four central states, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, the story is rather different. The regimes are still relaxed enough to allow organisations like the Soros Foundations and others interested in supporting the creation of some sort of civil society to do their work without absolutely impossible obstacles. The reason that there have been some appearances by teams from these countries at international competitions is that international organisations, for example Rotary International, the Civic Education Project and the Soros Foundations see debate as a very important process in the creation of a solid base from which democracy could possibly flourish, or from which enough public voice could be heard to at least prevent the regimes moving in the direction that our neighbours in Turkmenistan have marched.
Debate is therefore popular. All four countries have some sort of high-school debating. Because they have only just emerged from civil war, Tajikistan is the least developed in this sense, as in most other senses, and developments over the Oxus in Afghanistan do not bode well for a relaxed future either. However, the other three countries all have vibrant debate communities, particularly at school level, in English, Russian and local languages. These are supported almost entirely through the Soros network.
Debating may be popular, but it is not necessarily what one would want to call 'good'. There is no tradition of open discussion. Samarkand, where I live, may have been more exotic before the Soviets came, but they were in many ways a liberalising influence, other than the presence of a few passing Jaddidists. So post-Soviet education, although maintaining the strong Soviet infrastructure and rhetoric in favour of the liberal arts, also maintains the fear of criticism, of improvisation and of research. In short ... of debate.
So to conclude this little offering from Central Asia, I would say that Central Asia deserves all of the extremely limited help we can give it. It offers no complexities to the World Councils. The Soviet Union knew what 'University' meant, and so does the post-Soviet dis-Union. High schools end when you are about 17, and university goes on for four or five years after that. We are as clearly ESL as it is possible to be. In fact all our debaters this year spoke English as a third or fourth language (what about an E. Fourth L. final?). There is some sort of debate programme in every city in the region, and national competitions in all, although as yet no Central Asia wide tournament. I don't have many statistics, but if anybody really wants them for some bizarre reason I could find them quite quickly. I'm guessing each of the central Central Asian states must have at least 300 high school debaters, of which maybe 100 are doing it in English. The number is lower at uni level. Perhaps 150, and 75 or so competing seriously in English. All pretty clear, and no potential for sharply worded e-mails in Cyrillic.
Debate will hopefully continue out here, but the bad news is that the Soros Foundations have a limited lifespan and many of the debate programmes are already coming to a close, and trying to stand on their own two feet in a very unsteady environment. If any of you read this far and work for rich companies, or people, who want to get rid of capital, I know ways they could spend it on debaters who need it. A more reasonable step would be to make sure that participants at events such as the Worlds can be assured of a productive, educational experience, and this is the subject of my other e-mail, wearing my other hat.
But for the moment if anybody has any questions for any reason about Central Asia, they are most welcome to write to me here. Just a thought ... this is a great place to visit when you graduate (or get bored working for P&G). There are some very interesting possibilities out here for graduates. You'll make absolutely no money, but you might get to do things like writing the only report in the history of international debating to include a serious observation about yak herds.
Uzbekistan Delegate, World University Debating Council