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19 December 2010

WUDC Berlin 2013 bid update‏

Dear Debaters of the World,

As many of you know, the Berlin Debating Union (BDU) is bidding to host for the World Universities Debating Championships in 2013. In this letter, I would like to inform you of recent developments relating to our bid and our roadmap for the coming two years.

If you have any questions, please to not hesitate to contact me at

Why have we decided to launch the WUDC Berlin 2013 bid?
For almost a decade, we have profited massively from well-judged and excellently organized tournaments around the world. Now, the Berlin Debating Union believes it is time to give something back to the international debating community. At a time in which few institutions in the world are capable of meeting the challenges of hosting this unique event, which has continued to grow in breath and complexity, as well as in the logistical challenges it presents to organizers, we would be delighted to place our resources at the disposal of the world debating community in hosting Worlds 2013. From the size and layout of our universities and their facilities, to the vast landscape of private and public foundations, corporate sponsors and government agencies available and willing to fund such an endeavor, to the individuals active in local and national umbrella organizations, we believe that Berlin offers optimal conditions to host the best Worlds ever.

As the most diverse and internationally active debating society in Germany, we also understand the structural challenges facing world debating. We are committed to actively working together with the international debating community in developing innovative methods to ensure that each national debating culture is not only fairly represented, but also receives due respect and that each participant is able to take a positive experience away from Berlin Worlds, even if that experience doesn’t include a trophy from the grand final.

Our strategy
The experience of hosting the EUDC in 2006 certainly helps us to understand what it means to host an event of this magnitude, but we also realize that hosting worlds has to be a collaborative effort. That is why it was imperative for us to speak to as many people as possible, both in Germany and abroad to find out what their wishes are for the WUDC Berlin 2013. Our announcement of two Co-CAs who reflect the diversity of international debating was a direct result of these discussions.

Since announcing our bid, we have continuously sought the input of European, Asian, Australasian, North-American and African debaters and will continue to seek feedback and constructive input from all potential participants throughout the process of organizing and hosting Worlds.

Who is supporting us?
In Germany, where major universities are federally funded and do not charge tuition, debate in general and other events of a similar scope and budget as the WUDC are typically funded by a mixture private and federally funded foundations, corporate sponsors and government agencies. Our bid is generously supported by Germany’s leading weekly newspaper “DIE ZEIT”.

Despite the fact that negotiations may take a little bit longer to finalize here than elsewhere, we have excellent relationships with a number of foundations and have had extremely positive discussions with institutions that regularly provide a level of support to endeavors such as the WUDC that would cover our expected budget. In addition, we have also had productive discussions with a large national logistics company concerning their participation in the WUDC as our main corporate sponsor. Unfortunately, we cannot release details of our negotiations as they are still ongoing.

Recently, Dr. Annette Schavan, the Federal Minister for Education and Research, has agreed to act as our honorary figurehead and signaled willingness to provide financial support through the ministry.

Past partnerships have allowed us to host high quality tournaments at a low cost to participants. This past year, we were able to fund the participation of 13 world class adjudicators in our IV (Among others: Yoni Cohen-Idov, Chris Croke, Leela Koenig, Lucinda David) to adjudicate 12 debate rooms, provide comfortable hostel accommodation and all meals to participants for only 25 Euros. For the WUDC 2013, we will make sure that quality adjudication and the funding of adjudicators from all corners of the world remains our number one priority.

Our Chief Adjudicators
Sharmila Parmanand (Philippines) and Doug Cochran (England) have kindly accepted our offer to serve as Co-CAs of the WUDC Berlin 2013. We believe that a tournament of this size and scope profits substantially from having two CAs. Different perspectives and experiences will lead to a more diverse panel of DCAs, reflecting regional and ESL/EFL interests.

Sharmila is DCA of Auckland Australs 2010 and Seoul Australs 2011. She has judged the Grand Final at Koc Worlds 2010 and a semi-final at Dublin Worlds 2009. As a speaker she broke to Worlds Octofinals and was a Grand Final speaker at Australs.

Doug is one of the most successful speakers in Europe, having won more IVs than any other currently active speaker. He was a Euros Grand Finalist in 2007. He judged the Grand Final at Koc Worlds 2010 together with Sharmila and was DCA of Euros 2010 in Amsterdam.

What can Berlin offer?
In addition to valuable experience and strong support, we decided to host worlds in part because we believe that so many of the prerequisites for a successful WUDC were given before we even lifted a finger. Berlin isn’t just a major capitol city in the heart of Europe, it’s two major cities rolled into one. Berlin’s unique history means that we have two of just about everything and when it comes to cultural institutions, often many times more. For decades, Berlin has served melting pot of immigrants, artists, West German draft dodgers, punks, students, Eastern German dissidents, ravers, diplomats, celebrities and refugees from parts of Germany where lederhosen and brass bands still pass as culture. Not least because of abundant housing and the unique nature of an economy largely supported by service and creative industries, federal subsidies for the arts and culture and of course tourism, Berlin is cheap, young and, in turn, quite hip. A recent comparison showed that Berlin was 14% less expensive than Munich and 51% less expensive than London.

Berlin is home to over 40 institutions of higher education and over 160,000 students, more than 22,000 of whom come from abroad. Despite attempts to internationalize German universities, the tradition of perennial student-hood lives on. As recently as 2007, the average college graduate in Berlin was nearly 28 years of age upon receiving their first degree. While this may be a testament to how good life is here for students, for us, this means that we not only have members who remember hosting the EUDC 2006, but also that debaters both young and old who are involved in our bid are certain to remain involved through 2013, and likely long after.

The Technical University of Berlin, which has agreed to be our partner for the WUDC 2013, is centrally located in center of the “City West”. The TU is a campus university with state of the art, debater friendly facilities including central auditorium capable of seating 1200+ with an existing Audio/Video link to a neighboring auditorium that seats an additional 600+ and abundant classrooms directly nearby. Thanks to the tourist infrastructure of this area and massive new development projects targeted at West Berlin, we are able to offer hotels within walking distance of the TU campus and many of the most famous tourist attractions in the West.

Berlin is located in the heart of Europe and is serviced by two major international airports and one of the finest high speed rail networks in the world. We understand that costs are a major factor for debaters joining us from the other side of the world. While travel costs will certainly be lower for teams flying from parts of the world serviced by one of the many low cost carriers that fly to Berlin, a comparison of travel costs from Asia, Australia, North America and just about everywhere else shows that travel costs are typically much lower for trips to Berlin than they are for trips to certain other European capitol cities. Additionally, we are negotiating with a major airline in the hopes of getting a special WUDC rate for participants from distant countries.

Our roadmap:
In October, an extraordinary general meeting of the BDU unanimously passed the resolution to bid for WUDC 2013. Immediately afterward, we established a structure that will ensure our ability to harness the experience gathered by hosting the EUDC in 2006 and also the energy and vision of younger members of the club willing and able to carry the project in the coming two years.
· We expect all sponsoring partnerships and funding to be secured by the middle of 2011, giving us enough time to speak to partners in logistics and catering.
· At the end of 2011, we will open up the application process for our DCAs and announce our registration policy.
· We will open up registration early in 2012, making it easy for everyone to register and ensuring that no debater has to book an expensive last minute flight.

Why should you vote for Berlin?
· State of the art facilities and well developed support structures.
· Experience in successfully organizing large debate tournaments.
· Minister level support for our bid and an excellent track record in acquiring funding.
· An excellent chief adjudication panel reflecting the full diversity of international debating.
· A commitment to funding a vast number and variety of quality adjudicators.
· (Relatively) inexpensive travel costs.
· 3 square meals a day and respect for dietary requirements of any and every kind. (Vegetarian, Vegan, Halal, Kosher, Gluten Free, etc.)
· The full support of the German debating community.
· A thoughtful strategy incorporating the interests of the entire international debating community.
· Accommodation within walking distance of the debating venues.
· Cheap or free alcohol at every social (we might even get a brewery as a sponsor).
· Socials in some of the hottest locations in Europe.

Thank you very much for supporting our endeavor to host the best Worlds ever.

Yours sincerely

Patrick Ehmann
Head of WUDC Berlin 2013 OrgComm

Patrick Ehmann
WUDC Berlin 2013
Bornemannstr. 6
13357 Berlin
Tel: +49 (0)30 42025550

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