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24 June 2010

Worlds Debate Forum


I'd like to share an idea with everyone. There are still many details to sort out, but basically we want to increase the value and impact of debate, by allocating time and resources, and bringing people together who are interested. Debate thrives in many shapes and forms and we want to represent as much as that as possible. This forum is open to debaters from the Worlds community and those outside our community who use or are interested in debate. Hopefully we can learn from each other and improve the impact of debate. 

We hope the forum will also be a place to focus on issues relevant to Worlds. There isn't enough time at Worlds to really discuss how to make it better, fairer, more diverse etc, and hopefully those issues can receive special attention at this forum.

All these and more explained below and on our website :

Chief Instigator - Worlds Debate Forum

Worlds Debate Forum

Every year debaters and enthusiasts from far corners and dense centers of the world converge in one spot to compete, debate and celebrate their community. In the short period of time dedicated to determining champions, debaters also explore other challenges - like how to improve adjudication, how to develop debate, sharing methods to raise funds. There are also those who are use debate outside of tournaments - teachers, advocates, community workers, budding politicians; who look to improve what they do by interacting with other debaters.

Given there isn't even enough time during Worlds to fully discuss how to improve Worlds, there definitely isn't enough time to talk about how debate can improve the world we live in. Yet we should find the time, because it is important to ensure the WUDC keeps improving as a tournament and debate increases its relevance in society. This is the best time because we are all here, in one place.

A few interested people, with the cooperation of Botswana Worlds and IDEA, are organizing the Worlds Debate Forum. It will take place immediately after Botswana Worlds, from the 4th to 7th of January. It will be held at a hotel or resort close to the University of Botswana.

What we want to do

Create opportunities for people who want to do more debate and more than debate. The goal is not to run an academic conference and the emphasis is not on publications or journals. The idea is to make easy for people to share ideas, find other people who are interested in the same ideas. To dedicate time to solving problems and finding people who can help you solve problems.

The goals of this forum are

  • To bring together people of different backgrounds who are relevant to each other – for example NGOs using debate to teach and teachers who have used debate in similar environments, or 3 or 4 organizations with similar goals who can then put together a joint proposal for funding

  • To create opportunities for debaters to be exposed to other aspects of debate – for example how debate is being used by advocacy groups and civil society organizations, to increase the sharing of information and resources.

  • To dedicate time and resources towards improving debate as a competitive activity - for adjudicators to thrash out training guides and teaching philosophies, tabbers to run simulations and extrapolations, for us to share best practices and determine common guidelines. There isn't enough time to do this at Worlds, yet it's obvious there needs a space for this to ensure Worlds evolves.

  • To expose people doing debate work outside the WUDC community to the WUDC community – having the forum immediately after Worlds we hope will encourage debate educators, advocacy groups and potential funders to participate at least in the tail end of Worlds.

This forum is not meant to usurp the independence of regulating bodies of tournaments (the council of Worlds, EUDC, Australs, UADC for example) but a place to discuss and develop ideas. You can choose to represent your organization or yourself.

We do not plan to publish a formal journal or publication (at least at this stage) but we will publish online as much information as possible from the forum. This means all presentation materials, videos of presentations, meeting transcripts and publications and so on. We will also create a list of contact information of all participants and share it among attendees. We think this forum is amazing opportunity to build networks and we want to encourage that as much as possible.


Participation is open to whomever is interested. We will also be inviting people who don't usually attend Worlds but are relevant to debate – primarily educators & NGOs. We expect about 50 to 100 people to participate.

You can participate to

  1. Present Ideas – this means you are a presenter, much like at a conference. You should submit a brief overview of what you plan to present and if selected, will be given a slot to present it on the 5th of January. You should decide if your presentation best fits the Morning, Afternoon or Evening sessions. A full template and form that explains what we want will be published later.

  2. Organize a Meeting – these means you want to host a round-table discussion on a specific issue or problem. Meetings are more interactive than presentation. You should propose a topic for the meeting and very brief agenda.

  3. Share – you want to participate in presentations and meetings. There may be opportunities for you to organize your own meetings at the forum as well. When not presenting or running a meeting, you will be sharing.

How will we choose topics for Presentations and Meetings?
We are in the process of assembling a committee to help choose relevant topics. We will also be publishing a list of all topics and allow you to choose. Half of the topics will be chosen by popular vote and the other half by our selection committee

Will more than one presentation run simultaneously?
It really depends on how many presentations offers we have and on the availability of venues.

When do we need to submit topics for presentations or meetings?
We will be announcing a detailed deadline later, but we will start calling for submissions when registration opens (late July or early August), so start thinking about what you want to share


Registration will open soon and will be mostly on a first-come first-serve basis, although we want to ensure a diverse representation of individuals. Registration fee is 100 USD per person. This will cover accommodation (4th, 5th and 6th) and venue rental. We will try to cover some meals as well, but we are still negotiating with hotels. There will be no monies made from this event and all your registration fees will be spent on you.

We are currently in negotiations with Cresta Lodge Gaborone as a venue (

A tentative deadline for registration

  • Opens in late July or early August

  • Accepted participants announced in September

Brief Schedule

4th January

  • Evening registration and check in

  • Welcome drinks – mingle, get to know each other

5th January : Presentations day

(each presentation will be given 45 minutes and the goal is to have 4 presentations for each session)

  • Morning Session - Debate and Advocacy

    • How debate is being used to develop civil society, information on organizations currently doing this work and how others may be involved,

  • Afternoon Session - Debate and Education

    • How debate is used in the classroom, how debate is taught, evaluation etc

  • Evening Session - Debate and Competition

    • How to improve the WUDC and debate tournaments in general, tabbing, adjudicator testing etc

6th January : Meetings day

  • Participants will have the opportunity to engage in workshops and meetings, much smaller more interactive sessions. We will also try to make space for people to have their own meetings and discussions.

7th January

  • End (or people can stay longer)

Contact Us

This event is an idea and a test. There are just a few individuals behind it and a lot of it is a work in progress – so we really appreciate feedback and comments. This event is being run in cooperation with IDEA and organizers of Botswana Worlds, but is ultimately independent. If it runs well this year, we will ensure it was sustainable.

If you have comments or questions, you can direct them to

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