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3 April 2012

Update in bids for Worlds 2014

As you know, April 1 has now come and gone, and while we're currently occupied with who will attend the 2013 World Championships, we still have not resolved the question of the host for the 2014 Worlds.  While we previously had been optimistic that an extension of the originally-agreed-upon March 1 deadline would produce a definite bid for the 2014 World Championships, and despite the sincere efforts of the prospective bidders who had requested the extension, it now seems that neither of potential bids that were being investigated will materialize.

I want to be clear: I have nothing but the highest regard for both the Bangladesh and the London groups who stepped forward in January to indicate their interest in bidding for the 2014 Worlds.  Both were motivated by a genuine desire to contribute to their community and both pursued with due diligence the question of feasibility for the 2014 event.  In the end, both groups were unwilling to proceed for different yet very similar reasons: they could not go forward with the certainty that they would be able to produce the event they envisioned.  For their efforts and willingness to even investigate the possibility (which, by itself, is a significant undertaking), they have my most sincere appreciation.

There exists, however, renewed cause for optimism.  I have recently been contacted by Harish Nataranjan of Cambridge University who, on behalf of Rajalakshmi Engineering College of Chennai, India, has indicated an interest in hosting our 2014 tournament.  At this point, they have secured permissions from REC and have had initial conversations with a hotel facility that would house delegates.  Harish will travel to Chennai in early April to CA a tournament; while there, he will have an opportunity to meet with the proposed OrgComm and various authorities and partners who would support the event.  Following that, I believe he and REC will be in a better position to decide whether to bid.

I'm writing, therefore, to inform you that Eoin, Coulter and I have discussed how to proceed from here.  Our intention is to give REC the time they need to assemble a bid (should they choose to proceed) while expediting the determination of a host.  We are also open to any other last-minute proposals that may arise in the interim.  To that end, we have not settled on a firm deadline for REC's bid to be submitted but have suggested late April as a target.  We intend to work with REC--and any other potential bidder--to offer what assistance we can in that time.  Should REC proceed with the formal submission of a bid, or should another potential bidder emerge, the schedule of consideration we worked out in January will be adjusted as needed.

I will do all I can to keep you informed of our progress toward the ultimate goal of securing a host for 2014.  I appreciate your patience and, as usual, welcome any questions or suggestions you have about how best to proceed.



Steven Johnson, Chair
World Universities Debating Council

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