WUDC 2011: Let the Botswana Worlds begin!

Datum: Dec 27th, 2010
Category: Turniere

Let’s get ready to rumble – the 31st World Universities Debating Championships (WUDC or Worlds) are about to start. From 27 December to 4 January Worlds 2011 are to be held in Gaborone, Botswana. Numerous debaters from VDCH countries change to the international debate circuit to compete with more than 300 teams from all over the world for the title of world debate champion.

Nine days, that makes nine preliminary rounds plus various final rounds in three categories: Main break, ESL and EFL. The main break is de jure the category for all speakers, de facto for native speakers of English, while ESL stands for “English as a Second Language” and EFL is short for “English as a Forreign Language”. The grand final, that is the final for mother tongue speakers, will be held on the evening of 3 January 2011. This is the reason why this year’s Worlds are called “Worlds 2011” although they start in 2010 – because the final is traditionally held after New Year’s Day.

The Worlds in Botswana kick off rather laid-back: Monday is reserved for check-in and will gather all participants for an ice-breaking party in the evening with summery temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius. On Tuesday, speakers as well as judges will be briefed and a pre-meeting of the WUDC Council is going to take place. Tuesday night will be très chic: A black tie party asks tuxedo of the gentlemen and an evening gown of the ladies. Prelims will not start before Wednesday and the last of a row of nine pre-rounds will be held on Friday. More socials include a karaoke night and of course a New Year’s Eve party with break announcement on 31 December. On Saturday the debate circuit is going to rest for a day: Excursions for debaters and the WUDC Council for the delegates are on the agenda. This year’s Council is going to be extremely exciting for VDCH countries since there will be a decision about the Berlin bid for Worlds 2013. Sunday and Monday will be stage to final rounds with ESL and EFL finals taking place on Monday afternoon. After the grand final on Monday night the great After Worlds Party will be a last chance to throw rounds of drinks before on Tuesday everybody has to wave hands for farewell and kiss new friends good-bye.

On social networks one may observe how excited and animated our fellow VDCH debaters are: While Moritz Kirchner (Wortgefechte Potsdam) hopes that despite the weather turmoil he will safely take off for Botswana, his club mate Florian Umscheid is totally looking forward to flying out to South Africa with an A380, especially “since he found out that K62 is a window seat!” And Andreas Lazar from Debattierclub Stuttgart (DCS) has already been speculating about Worlds motions: “In a few hours I will fly almost to the South Pole to talk about things like whether the nation of Abkhazia should be independent in order to win great speaks, eternal glory and shiny diamonds. Crazy, yes. But also beautiful.” Nils Haneklaus, also from DCS, is anticipating African summer already: “Goodbye Germany, goodbye winter, goodbye cold feet – hello Africa!“ Perfectly well prepared for summer time in Botswana feels Marietta Gädeke (Debattierclub Johannes Gutenberg Mainz), thanks to her packing checklist: “Sunglasses: check. Bikini: check. Now I feel pretty well prepared for Botswana.” Meanwhile, Jens Fischer (Berlin Debating Union) is organizing transport from Johannesburg to Gaborone for fellow debaters. At the same time, Leela Koenig from The Netherlands wipes away all kinds of second thoughts by VDCH debaters about public transport in southern Africa: “Leiden is taking that bus the day before and if anything odd happens we can post that here, but we expect nothing weird to happen (besides viewing the ‘christian material’ they apparantly use on board).“

The WUDC Council is the assembly of the delegates of all nations participating at the annual Worlds. The WUDC Council is similar to the EUDC Council, the part which is different is the number of votes: Individual delegates may have up to four votes depending on the number of institutions of their respective nations having sent teams to the Worlds in the past two years, as is recorded in the Constitution of the World Universities Debating Championships. Presenting the bid at the Council is the only official part of bidding for convening the Worlds. So there might be other bidders for Worlds 2013 – but that is very unlikely.

Since 1981, debaters from all over the world have been competing at the World Universities Debating Championships (WUDC) at alternating locations across the planet. It was not before 1996 that the British Parliamentary Style became the mandatory format for this annual tournament. The African continent has been host to previous Worlds and stages the Worlds now for a third time, this year from 27 December 2010 to 4 January 2011 at the University of Botswana, Gaborone. A detailed schedule may be read on the website of Botswana Worlds 2011. Language of debate is English and there are three categories: “Main” for native speakers, “ESL” (English as a Second Language, for those who prove great proficiency in English) and “EFL” (English as a Foreign Language, for those who studied English as a mere subject).

apf / glx

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