The Worlds Universities Debating Championships 2006 took place in Dublin, Ireland and was hosted by University College Dublin. Ewha was able to represent itself as well as Korea by participating in the tournament which lasted from December 27 to January 3. The participants consisted of members from Ewha Debating Society (EDiS) and it was our third time to participate in the Worlds tournament. EDiS sent five teams consisting of two members per team as well as four adjudicators which included Professor Brendan Howe (Division of International Studies), an advisor to EDiS. Thus, Ewha sent a total of 14 people to represent the institution and Korea. There were talented debaters and adjudicators from different Korean universities at the tournament from Chung-Ang, Korea, and KyungHee University.
Korea's English debating culture is still in its early stages of being established and being recognized by the collegiate communities domestically and internationally. It has indeed been an opportunity to improve the art of speaking and arguing through intellectually stimulating debates at the Worlds tournament this year. There were over 20 different nationalities represented from five continents and approximately 600 students from undergraduate and graduate programs that gathered in the heart of Dublin to share the love of debate. Students from Jamaica to Israel, Japan to Estonia faced the challenge of preparing and delivering speeches in a pressuring environment that deems only the true survivor of such a challenge as the winner of the tournament.
This year's champion was from the University of Toronto, students from the graduate school of Law who were known as "Part House A." Grand-Finalists included teams from Yale University, Inner Temple, and University of Chicago. The motion given fifteen minutes before the debate began was, "This House Believes That Animals Should Have the Same Rights as Human Beings." Other motions included whether women over the age of 45 should be able to have assisted pregnancies, whether the U.S. should withdraw military support from Pakistan until it holds free elections, and whether indigenous peoples should have to abide by the national law. Spanning topics that were controversial in the international arena were carried out into the corridors by passionate students even after the debate had ended.
Returning from the Worlds tournament in Dublin, the city renowned for its Celtic charm and jolly Irish pubs, everyone seemed enlightened on the perspective of issues that had seemed distant. Perhaps when you meet people who all have a different story to tell about their lives and beliefs; you're challenged to view life from their perspective and forced to think outside the box. Meeting with students from various ethnicities and field of studies enlightened us not only as debaters but as individuals of a country. College seems like the dynamic and adventurous river where our daily lives rush down while being connected to those of people around us. Yet we came to realize that there lays an ocean of people and experiences outside our rivers and flows into something greater; when united as one has the power to unleash great change in our societies and at large, globally.
Cho Hae-eum (International Studies, 3) is a member of EDiS. She participated in the Worlds Universities Debating Championships 2006 in Dublin, Ireland from Dec. 27 to Jan. 3.