Tuesday, September 29, 2009

World Online Debate Championship reaches final round

The first annual WODC has finally reached its climax this week. Congratulations to the teams from England and Lithuania, who are advancing to the final round. The tournament began on August 10, 2009 with twenty-five teams from all over the world. Just four teams competed in last week's semi-finals round. Estonia (proposition) and England (opposition) debated over the topic, "The EU should impose a special Europe-wide tax on meat consumption to help save the planet." Lithuania (proposition) and South Korea (opposition) debated whether, "All evidence gathered by intelligence agencies should be admissible in courts of law."

Now, England and Lithuania are to face off during the championship final this week. With Lithuania on the defending side and England on the opposing side, the two teams will debate on their last topic: "We should prize freedom over security and abolish anti-terrorism legislation." The results will be determined by six judges, who include former world and European debate champions.

Hosted by Debatewise.com, in association with IDEA, the competition invites national teams from every corner of the globe to debate against each other about big issues facing the world today. As long as there is an internet connection, there's also an opportunity to connect with different perspectives. "There can be little doubt that in these times of unpopular wars and financial meltdown the need for debate is as strong as it will ever be. The WODC provides a much-needed and valuable platform for such debate," says Neil Harvey-Smith, former head of the World Universities Debating Council.

The feedback from participants has been highly positive. Nikita from Latvia said, "I think that WODC is a great experience. I feel that this tournament has improved my debating skills greatly." A sentiment echoed by USA team captain Kory Pace, "The tournament was intellectually engaging and brought some interesting perspectives."

All in all, the competition has been a great success so far, and the standard of the debates has been extremely high as was expected by organizers. "Countries who are miles apart geographically, culturally, and politically and some of whom may be under represented on the world stage are able to battle it out face to face, or in this case keyboard to keyboard, on the level playing field of the internet," says Debatewise.com founder David Crane.

For more information on the World Online Debate Championship, visit the website or their Facebook page. To register your interest to participate in the World Online Debating Championships 2010, send an email to wodc@debatewise.com.

Good luck to both teams competing in the final round this week! Look for the results in The Big IDEA newsletter, or the WODC website.

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