World Open Debating Championships in Las Vegas

Datum: Nov 28th, 2014
Category: International, News of debating clubs, Turniere

Update: As not enough teams have registered, the Open Worlds have been canceled.

In the summer of 2015, Las Vegas will be the glamourous site for the Open Worlds. This is a new, week-long tournament meant to complement the World Universities Debating Championships (WUDC). Just as at WUDC, the Open Worlds uses British Parliamentary Style. The main difference however is that as an open tournament, there is no restriction to university institutions.

Teams may register independently or represent universities or even employers. “Too often debating is restricted to university students when experience tells us that communication skills, and the ability to develop and analyse arguments quickly, are essential at any stage in life,” the Chief Adjudicators (CAs) write in a welcome note.

The conveners James Hardy, Samantha Neville and David Jones all have debating background in the United Kingdom. They advertise the tournament with strong monetary incentives: The winning team is promised a $10,000 cash prize, and there will be “substantial” prizes for every breaking team.

Las Vegas Open WorldsJudges are subsidized in two ways. First, the conveners intend to set aside a cash pool for direct judge subsidies; a promotional video indicates a volume of 40,000. Second, participants will receive a $75 discount on the $650 registration fee per person if their team brings a judge. These numbers however are still subject to change.

The CA team comprises of four people:

  • Danique Van Koppenhagen was the best speaker at the European Universities Debating Championships (EUDC) 2012 in Belgrade, at the Berlin IV and at Oxford Women’s. She will be Deputy CA at the upcoming Kuala Lumpur WUDC.
  • Stephen Whittington is champion of the Australasian IV Debating Championships (Australs). At the last WUDC in Chennai, he broke into the Grand Final judging panel.
  • Josh Zoffer is current champion of WUDC. He has also been successful in North America, where he is debater of the year in the American Parliamentary Debate Association.
  • Jack Watson is champion of EUDC 2012 and won 27 IV competitions. As a judge, he broke into the Grand Final panel at WUDC as well.

There will be no category for English as a Second Language. The conveners say that this would place a burden that is too big on them as organizing a new tournament is very challenging. They do plan to include an ESL category in the following year, should the tournament be repeated.

Registration is not open yet, but those who would like to attend can fill out an expression of interest. If you do, you will receive priority treatment during the registration phase, the organizers say. According to the tournament’s schedule, registration will open on February 15, 2015, and close on February 28.

For more information, see the Open Worlds website and Facebook page.

Information in a nutshell:

  • Date: July 5-11, 2015
  • Location: Las Vegas, USA
  • Format: BPS
  • CAs: Danique Van Koppenhagen, Stephen Whittington, Josh Zoffer, Jack Watson
  • Conveners: James Hardy, Samantha Neville, David Jones
  • Registration Fee: $650 ($75 discount if you bring a judge)
  • Rounds: tba; break into quarterfinals

hug/ama – las update on March 6, 2015, 1 am

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