The first ever World Online Debating Championship has reached its climax this week with England and Lithuania the two teams left fighting to become World Champions. Created by Debatewise.com - the leading online debating organisation in association with the International Debate Education Association (idea) – the leading offline debating organisation, the competition pitted twenty five national teams from virtually every corner of the globe against each other in debating the big issues facing the world today. Finalists England overcame Estonia in their semi final, defeating the Eastern Europeans on the subject of whether an EU wide tax on meat consumption would help save the planet. Fellow finalists Lithuania beat South Korea in the other semi final, arguing successfully that all evidence gathered by intelligence agencies should be admissible in a court of law. The no doubt hotly contested final will start at 12 noon GMT today (28th September), with the question being -We should prize freedom over security and abolish anti terrorism legislation - and will be judged by six judges, who include former world and European debating champions. The competition has been a great success so far and the standard of the debates has been extremely high as was expected by the organisers.
“One of the most interesting and positive aspects of the championship is that countries who are miles apart geographically, culturally and politically, and some of whom may be under represented on the world stage, are able to battle it out face to face, or in this case keyboard to keyboard, on the level playing field of the internet,” says Debatewise.com founder David Crane. “A debate for example between South Korea and Lithuania is not an everyday occurrence, and allows readers and debaters to develop a deeper understanding of another country’s stance on important issues. Furthermore, the championship has allowed countries the opportunity to shake off stereotypes. Quarter finalists Venezuela have shown that, despite internal concerns about the views of President Hugo Chavez on freedom of speech, the opportunity and willingness to debate is strong and demonstrates that, perhaps surprisingly, the country has one of the highest literacy rates in South America.”
The subjects for debate are decided by the chief adjudicator Neill Harvey-Smith and endeavour to address issues that have particular resonance in participating countries. Pakistan faced Chile earlier in the competition on whether the media should be banned from reporting on hostage taking, while Indonesia, facing Mexico, debated that poorer countries should abandon free trade agreements. The feedback from participants has been highly positive. “I think that WODC is a great experience. I feel that this tournament has improved my debating skills greatly” enthuses Latvian team member, Nikita. A sentiment echoed by USA team captain Kory Pace, “The tournament was intellectually engaging and brought some interesting perspectives from around the world.”
The panel of judges assembled for the WODC by Harvey-Smith, former head of the World Universities Debating Council, has been described as the best ever compiled for a debating competition. It is perhaps Harvey-Smith who best summarises the value of an event such as the WODC, “Whatever the reason for participants entering the Championships, whether for debating practice, for fun or to win, there can be little doubt that in these times of unpopular wars and financial meltdown the need for debate is as strong as it will ever be. The WODC provides a much-needed and valuable platform for such debate.”
To register your interest as a participant in the World Online Debating Championships 2010 or to view completed or current debates, please visit: www.debatewise.com/pages/wodc-debates
Debatewise (http://www.debatewise.com/) is an not for profit online debating site which aims to become the Wikipedia of debate. Anyone can start a debate on any subject they like and anyone can edit and strengthen that debate, this ensures that over time the strongest and most definitive arguments emerge and provide a highly valuable resource for anyone looking to make up their mind. Debatewise was founded in 2008 by David Crane and is currently based in the London internet hub of Hoxton in East London. Patrons include Michael Crick, Gabby Logan and Chris Heaton Harris.
Contact details Tel: 44 20 3393 7223
07956 292 567
London ,EC2A 4PJ