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     Volume 2 Issue 38 | September 30 , 2007|


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Greatest Debating Show on Earth

Rashedul Hasan Stalin

When you are debating with bright young lads of Oxford, Harvard, Monash, Yale, and Cambridge, especially when you are holding the flag of Bangladesh and pride of your university, it really does matter. Doing well isn't good enough; you must give your best. This year's World Universities Debating Championship will test your temperament as a debater or as an adjudicator with the world's top debating universities. So those who are planning to represent your university from Bangladesh, this is the time to get things started for WUDC 2008.

World Universities Debating Championship-WUDC is the second largest student events in the world and this year it will see near about 360 teams, 720 top debaters and 400 experienced adjudicators from more then 80 countries. With 500 officials and observers, this championship is going to set a new record of being the largest event ever. Assumption University of Thailand will host this biggest and ultimate debating tournament from December 26, 2007 to January 4, 2008.

Author in 1st Asian Debating Championship Singapore 2005

This year Bangladesh is planning to send the biggest contingent after 2005 MMU Worlds for this global event with participation from the top debating universities. This article will focus on issues related to the Adjudication in British Parliamentary WUDC System and show how the championship runs with its efficient adjudication policy.

People from any profession can become adjudicator in World Universities Debating Championship but they should pass the WUDC Adjudication Test for being selected as an adjudicator. World Universities Debating Council with some regional debating organizations like AIDA, AUDC, EUDC and All Asian Debating Councils has its own version of Adjudication Test but the similarities lie in their objectives; and that ensures accountability and quality of adjudication. Each adjudicator is ranked according to his/her performance in the Test. Age, sex, country and other variables are carefully discarded from this evaluation. I saw many university students doing well compared to some senior judges in the adjudication test and they became Chair in some of the preliminary rounds in last year's World Debate held in Canada. So if you are planning to go this year's Worlds please take your preparation as an adjudicator from now.

Modern debating adjudication, in particular World Universities Debating Champions, is not restricted to just deciding the winner of the debate, rather their responsibility includes convincing the audience with reasons for their decisions. Adjudicators have to pass their Adjudication Test and evaluation by their fellow adjudicators and debaters on a time to time basis.

Debating room of WUDC has four teams with two on the government side and two on the opposition. Every team has two debaters with different responsibilities. One Chair Adjudicator presides with the adjudication panel. Chief Adjudicator of the championship selects the Chair and other members of the panel who are known as Panelists for each debate. Adjudicators are asked to mark the debaters on the following grounds: Matter, Manner and Method like any other international debate.

Few of you will be surprised to hear that debaters have the right to evaluate the adjudicators' performance after Chair Adjudicator gives his/her adjudication to the debaters. It's a both way evaluation system; where debaters and adjudicators appraise their performance. This value was added in World Debate and in Asian Universities Debating Championships-AUDC from its very beginning. Debaters become the Judge of their Adjudicators' performance. This gives the right to debaters to give their opinion on adjudication and ranking.

In this method debates are given the evaluation papers to rank and leave comments about the adjudicators. The Chief Adjudicator of the Championship then evaluates the performance of the adjudication panel and decides whether he or she is capable of performing their responsibilities. This feature adds the element of neutrality and ensures efficient adjudication to the championship.

Adjudication Panel for BDC Pre Worlds Championship 2007

Bangladesh Debating Council-BDC from its very first year stated these adjudication requirements with its 1st BDC Pre World Schools Debating Championship in 2005. Every year this grand championship for school and college students selects the National Schools Debating Team for World Schools Debating Championship. BDC held the first Championship Adjudication Test in Bangladesh in 2005 to evaluate the performance of the Adjudication panel.

Many school kids who participated as debaters in annual debating championship organized by BDC surprised me with their efficient evaluation to select the top of the top adjudicators for the national team selection. By doing this Bangladesh is moving towards the modern era of debating where we are not only creating good debaters but also best future debating judges who are neutral and accountable to the art of debate.

Last year when I was in Canada for 27th World Universities Debating Championships, I saw many adjudicators being made trainees, a position for not being capable to judge the world championship. Someone might think that was not the best thing to do with the adjudicators, but World Championship simply can't effort to have those because of the standard that this grate championship offers to the world.

Lastly, I remember one day when I was Chairing one of the preliminary rounds of World Debate in Canada, I faced this question from one of the participants from USA. I will name him as “X”. That day “X” came to me and asked whether the adjudicator has the option to introduce his own idea while judging the debate and say, “I was expecting you to say this in this way, and I was surprised to see you didn't touch those issues. Why didn't you think of this example? And I think you lost the debate right there.”

My answer to “X” was “NO”; the adjudicator can't say things like this. In a debate, adjudicators are requested not to bring their own ideas, opinion and even any prediction like “if you say this, you might win the debate”. Adjudicators can't introduce their expertise excluding the judging skill in the debate.

Adjudicator will consider the flow of the debate and give their judgement based on what the debaters have said and how they have argued with each other. Later I saw the names of adjudicators in the trainee list who were not able to judge. This grate debating event has plenty to offer and we just have to know how we can make the best use of the opportunity. Let's hope for the best and look forward to lots of fun in this year's Words.

(The author is the Chair of Bangladesh Debating Council-BDC, He is the Bangladesh Representative to the World Debating Council.)

IQ Answers

01. A: None, they don't burry survivors.

02. A: Meat!

03. A: 15 times

04. A: If you traveled the return trip instantaneously, this would be equivalent to traveling double the distance in the same amount of time as the one-way trip. So if the rate of speed of the return trip is infinite, you do indeed get an average speed of 40 mph.

05. A: The problem is with the division that takes place between the fourth and fifth equations. Since a = b, a - b is zero, and you can't divide by zero.

06. A: there are 44 chickens and 28 rabbits in the cage

07. A: He waits until night time and then goes through the first door.

08. A: An Hourglass

09. A: Flip any switch you want. Wait for about 5-10 minutes to let the bulb heat up. Flip that same switch off, and switch another one on. Go check the light. If it's off and hot, it was the first switch, if it's on it was the second and if it's cold and off, it was the last one.


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