Monday, February 23, 2009

DebateFest 2009 Draws to a Close

Three weeks of straight debate in Seoul, South Korea finished up last weekend. High school and university students from across Asia met to exchange ideas, build friendships, and, of course, debate!

After the Korean High School Debating Championship from February 2nd-February 6th, Chung Ang University opened its campus again for the second-annual CAU-IDEA Pacific Rim Championship from February 8th-11th. 18 two-person teams competed in British Parliamentary debate. A special congratulations to Hallym University of International Studies for fielding teams of brand-new debaters, and to our international participants: the hybrid team “Landlocked” representing Mongolia and Afghanistan, and to Wang Tong and Zhu Xin Wei from Xi’an International Studies University in China!

The Championship kicked off with a two-day training on British Parliamentary Debate. Special thanks to trainers Ronna Liggett (United States), Sayeqa Islam (New Zealand) and Rhydian Morgan (United Kingdom) for lending their expertise. After a sample debate on the merits of banning gambling, we held lectures and activities on the format and rules, asking points of information and developing extensions. New judges attended a separate session on the basis of adjudication.

Tuesday opened the tournament, with four preliminary rounds on the topics “THW abolish mandatory military service,” “THBT all expectant parents should take genetic tests of their babies,” “THW not jail bloggers for expressing their opinions” and “THW fire the board of directors for all corporations which receive government bailouts.” Wednesday held two more preliminary rounds on the topics “THW decriminalize adultery” and “THBT the assassination of dictators is a justifiable option,” before announcing the break for elimination rounds.

After excellent and well-informed semifinal debates on the motion, “THBT universities should be allowed to accept students based on donations and not just test scores” teams from Korea University, Sungkyunkwan University, Chung Ang University and Yonsei University advanced to the finals round. On the motion, “THW tie international aid to democratic reforms” the Opening Government made a case for the link between economic growth and democratic reforms. The Closing Government continued their side’s case by stating that aid in its present form only assists dictators, and tied aid would be a peaceful push to democracy. While the Closing Opposition argued that substantial damage would be caused by cutting off aid to aid to undemocratic regimes, it was the Closing Opposition’s questioning of the merits of imposed democracy that took the debate home.

The results were as follows:

Xi’an International Studies University (Wang Tong and Zhu Xin)
EDiS (Dohhee Roh and Jihyun Kim)
HUFS 1 (You Mi Kang and Tae Hoon Jung)
DAE 4: (Jeongmin Jeh and Heeje Sung)

Korea 1 (Minkyung Cho and Hyewon Rho)
CUDS 1 (Nam Chul Kim and Sun Young Kim)
SKEDA (Ha Jung Kim and Kang Min Lee)

UIC 1 (Wonjun Jung and Minjae Yoo)

After an IDEA-sponsored banquet to celebrate the CAU-IDEA Tournament and one day of rest, the Winter Asian Debate Institute began on February 13th. The Asian Debate Institute is a week-long debate camp for university and high school debaters across Asia. Normally a summer event, this was the first year that a winter version was held. 40 debaters from Korea, Japan, China and Indonesia joined together at EWHA Women’s University. Established debate trainers from around the world taught courses on Asian Parliamentary Debate. Major thanks to Logan Balavijendran of Chung Ang University for organizing an intense (and intensely fun!) week of great debate, and congratulations to “The Three Kims” (Nam Chul Kim, Sun Young Kim, and Hong Shik Kim) for winning the final round of the Institute tournament.

DebateFest 2009 has drawn to a close, but the spirit of debate is strong and growing in Asia. Keep debating and we'll see you soon!

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