This was the first Asian championships and saw a large number of non-Charter nations break. The Philippines had three teams break (two to quarter-finals and one to the semi-finals), South Africa had two (Witwatersrand University reached the semi-finals), while Singapore and Pakistan (Qtr-finals) had one breaking team each. Monash A (Meg O’Sullivan and Andrew Phillips) won the competition, while Andy Kidd (Oxford) was best speaker. The Grand Final was televised live in the Philippines and opened by President Joseph Estrada.
Manila also saw the launch of a new competition - the "World Masters". This was a competition open to adjudicators and observers and run on a national basis rather than by college. Ireland were the first winners.
This History of the World Debating Championships comes in 3 parts. From 1976 to 1990 it is taken almost word for word from the 1991 Toronto WUDC Tournament booklet. Who wrote it isn't known but it was provided by Randal Horobik. At the start of the section on Worlds in 1981 is an extract from an e-mail by Clark McGinn, Convenor of Debates, GU Union 1980 -81 and 1981 and Convenor of the First World Debating Competition, 1981. The history since 1991 has been compiled initially by Colm Flynn and edited by many contributors to Wikipedia. Unfortunately Wikipedia deleted the history due to copyright concerns so we are back here. Hopefully anyone who contributed to the Wiki article before it was deleted will be happy to see their work preserved here.