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17 November 2008

Inaugural Pan- African Universities Debating Championship

The African Regional Office and the OSI Youth Initiative in New York is partnering with the Pan African Universities Debating Championship (PAUDC) organizing committee and the University of Botswana to organize the first ever Pan-African Universities Debating Championship in Gaborone, Botswana from the 8th to the 14th December 2008.

The PAUDC will bring together Universities from 10 African Countries in addition to numerous debate trainers from the US, South Korea and South Africa. The 10 participating countries that have confirmed attendance are from West Africa, Nigeria, Ghana and Liberia, from east Africa Uganda and Kenya and from Southern Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. The tournament is expected to have about 25 Universities among them the University of Nairobi in Kenya, UB, the University of Jonnanesburg, Limkokwing University-Botswana, the University of the Free State, Rhodes University, University of Forhare, University of Namibia and the Universities of Lagos and Calabar in Nigeria among many others.

It is expected to have participants totaling 300 debaters, adjudicators and about 12 trainers making it the biggest debating tournament ever in the African continent. Hundreds Botswana high schools students are also expected to benefit from the tournament as volunteers, time keepers and runners. This week long tournament will be hosted at the University of Botswana main campus with the grand opening ceremony at the GICC and Grand Final at Phakalane Golf Estates. This intensive competition requires each university team to take part in eight preliminary debates over six days. The highest-rated teams go forward to knockout rounds, with the champions ultimately named during a Grand Final at the Golf Estates.

In addition to the actual debate tournament, there will be formal training workshops and interactive forums with leaders in business, ministers, civil society and government. The debating championship will provide a forum in which African university students can be exposed to new ideas, discuss a range of topical issues and be challenged to think critically. The PAUDC will also utilize this time to establish an African Universities Debating Board which will facilitate the dissemination of training materials, coordinate Pan-African debating events and organize training sessions, all to ensure the sustainability and spread of debate across the African continent.

Books Botswana, supplier of educational materials in UB, Phakalane Golf Estates, Rotary Club of Gaborone, British Council and the University of Botswana are among the sponsors. The tournament is convened by former reality TV personality Mr Justice Motlhabani with an organizing committee that includes, veteran debater Mr Lesang Magang as the Internal Chief Adjudicator, an exchange student in the Master's of Public Administration Programme at the University of Botswana Graham Sowa as the Deputy Convener and registration Director, Tournament Director is World Championship top speaker Ummar Kitso Segadimo. More details about the organization of the tournament are available at

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