Debaters at WUDC – Part 4
The tournament is over which means this series is also coming to an end, at least for now. But before that, we still have some debaters we’d like you to meet!
Erika Martinez and Alexis Hernando, Peru
AM: Hi, can you give us a quick introduction of you and how you started debating?
EM: I study philosophy at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru and have been debating in Spanish for four years now in our debating society called Sociedad Debate PUCP. I started debating because i liked to argue, especially with my father. So it seemed like the right idea and i started looking for debating clubs in Peru. I found out there was a debate workshop and there I was introduced to the BPS format. They also said there were international tournaments. I debated there for the first time and they said I was good and had potential so I found the debating society at my university, applied and got in in 2012. Alexis and I started debating together this year, 6 months ago actually.
AH: I started debating one year ago and study Spanish literature. I got into debating because the teacher advertised it in my philosophy class. Debating was only possible in a few schools so it sounded good and I always found it attractive because I always had the necessity to express myself and to talk in front of lot of people. The stuff I learn while doing it helps in classes and life and it makes you more mature. So far, I went to tournaments in Peru and in Chile and it’s also cool to get to know new cultures.
AM: Tell us a bit about debating in Peru.
EM: Debating in Peru is still developing. Three years ago, only two teams of two different universities existed but now there are a lot more. The oldest debate team was started eight years ago and is the one from our university. We are the only team from Peru at this WUDC as well. There aren’t many tournaments in Peru, only two who take place in Lima and they are normally in BPS.
AH: Actually there are three now: the Torneo de Debate Interuniversitario (ToDI), the Debate UP and the Torneo de Novatos Intersociedades de Debate (ToNO) which is a tournament just for freshmen.
EM: We are planning to do a national tournament but nothing is finished yet.
AM: How differs Peruvian debating from the international one?
AH: You have to bring more definitions as Opening Government in Peru. And we make more arguments but not much context. Also, OG can choose what they want to debate, how they set the debate and the others have to follow.
EM: Well it’s not that radical, but you have to give really good reason when you don’t follow. In Latin america, each country has their own school and so each country has it’s own focus.
AM: What is your favorite type of motions?
EM: Political for me.
AH: I like debates about religion and minorities.
AM: To wrap it up, what do you think of the Dutch WUDC so far?
EM: It’s pretty challenging since the level is high and debating is not a big thing in Peru. We have learned a lot about style and construction of cases. I didnt like the food that much, but the debates started on time and I liked that. The place is great, the weather not so much but it is still enjoyable.
AH: I’ve enjoyed the tournament so much. We had a tournament in November where we had the chance to win but then we came here and noticed we still had so much to improve because the analysis is so much deeper here. If you debate with the same people all the time you restrict your mind and don’t get new views. But the best part were the volunteers actually. When we make tournaments, finding volunteers is hard because people dont like debating that much. The people who volunteer here are great, they show they are interested and engaged in debating and they use their free time to come here.
Aneeq Ali Sawar and Shayan Shaukat, Pakistan
AM: How did you start debating and how has it been going for you so far?
AAS: I had my first competition exactly three years ago, where I was observing and I started because I always liked the idea of debating. I was declared best national speaker four times and I’m also the only Pakistani to have served on the constitution comittee of ASDC and ABP.
SS: I never did debates in school, but I used to like to talk about a topic in university so I went to tournaments randomly and they saw me and picked me up as a speaker. My first tournament was in 2013 and I’m debating since then. I was the first student of my college to be a coach for a school, as well as the only winner of the Government College University Championship, the oldest institution in Pakistan.
AM: Tell us a bit about the debating circuit in Pakistan.
AAS: There are 20 parliamentary championships each year in Pakistan but there isn’t a huge trend of visiting international tournaments. The majority are English debating tournaments but there are some in Urdu as well. We actually have a strong school circuit but almost all school speakers who go to WSDC then go abroad in university. I actually met quite a few of them here. We have a U17- and a U19- championship which is used as a recruitment tournament. The National Debating Society of Pakistan funds the WSDD. The three best debaters at the tournament become speakers and the places four and five go as ressource persons.
SS: Successful coaches go as judges. Many of them have judged the finals of WSDC. Unfortunately most of the speakers in university are first timers. There is a general lack of understanding what debating really is and people dont realise how much of a positive impact debating can have.
AAS: On our tournaments, we do workshops to establish standards. Recently we have been trying to integrate the Pakistani circuit into the Asian circuit. We wanted to host UADC 2017, but then several attacks on schools happened and we never got the necessary permissions.
AM: Which other debating formats do you have?
AAS: Quite a few: Declamations, which focuses on rhetorics. Impromptu, MUN, Asians, School Style WSDC and Austral-Asians.
SS: The most popular one is Asians, but I think english tournaments are fifty-fifty in BPS and Asians.
AM: Last question: What do you think of the Dutch WUDC?
AAS: The organisation was excellent in terms of time and schedule. The food could’ve been more in quantity and quality.
SS: The volunteeers were really nice, the rounds started on time and we weren’t kept in the university for too long. I have some reservations about the motions though because they seemed to be a little less talked through.