World Universities Debating Championship


Universities Portal

The World Universities Debating Championship (WUDC) is the world's largest debating tournament, and one of the largest annual international student events in the world. It is a parliamentary debating event, held using a variant of the British Parliamentary Debate format. Each year, the event is hosted by a university selected by the World Universities Debating Council. The tournament is colloquially referred to as "Worlds".

Past Champions and Hosts


Note: Since 1996, all debates in the championship have been held using the British Parliamentary Debate format, which involves four teams in every debate. Hence there is one champion team and three runner-up teams. Prior to 1996, different debate formats were used in some years, and hence the in some years there was only one runner-up team.

Year
World Champions
Finalists
Hosts
2013
Monash University (Australia) (5), Nita Rao & James Beavis
  • University of Sydney, Paul Karp & Dominic Bowes
  • University of Otago, Alec Dawson & Kieran Bunn
  • University of Auckland, Stephanie Thompson & Ben Milsom
Technical University Berlin
(Germany)
2012
Monash University (Australia) (4), Amit Golder & Kiran Iyer
  • University of Sydney, Elle Jones & Daniel Swain
  • University of Oxford, Jen Coyne & Steph Bell
  • Stanford University, Michael Baer & Faris Mohiuddin
De La Salle University (Philippines)
2011
Monash University (Australia) (3), Victor Finkel & Fiona Prowse
  • University of Sydney, Tim Mooney & Bronwyn Cowell
  • University of Oxford, Ben Woolgar & Hugh Burns
  • London School of Economics, Anser Aftab & John Ashbourne
University of Botswana (Botswana)
2010
University of Sydney (Australia) (5), Steve Hind & Chris Croke
  • University of Oxford, Shengwu Li & Jonathan Leader Maynard
  • London School of Economics, Art Ward & Rushabh Ranavat
  • Harvard University, Cormac Early & Adam Chilton
Koç University (Turkey)
2009
University of Oxford A Team (England) (3), James Dray & Will Jones
  • Harvard University, Lewis Bollard & Cormac Early
  • Monash University, Ravi Dutta & Victor Finkel
  • University of Oxford C Team, Jonathan Leader Maynard & Alex Worsnip
University College Cork (Ireland)
2008
University of Oxford (England) (2), Samir Deger-Sen & Lewis Iwu
  • University of Cambridge, Mhairi Murdoch & Daniel Warents
  • Monash University, Tim Jeffrie & Fiona Prowse
  • University of Sydney, Christopher Croke & Dominic Thurbon
Assumption University (Thailand)
2007
University of Sydney (Australia) (4), Julia Bowes & Anna Garsia
  • University of Cambridge, Ranald Clouston & Bob Nimmo
  • University of Oxford, James Dray & Will Jones
  • University of Queensland, Evan Goldman & Erin O'Brien
University of British Columbia (Canada)
2006
University of Toronto (Canada) (2), Michael Kotrly & Joanna Nairn
  • University of Chicago, Patrick Emerson & Daragh Grant
  • Inner Temple, Greg O'Ceallaigh & Charlie Sparling
  • Yale University, Josh Bone & David Denton
University College Dublin (Ireland)
2005
University of Ottawa (Canada), Erik Eastaugh & Jamie Furniss
  • University of Cambridge, Joe Devanny & Daragh Grant
  • University of Oxford, Jonathan Bailey & Alex Just
  • University of Toronto, Michael Kotrly & Joanna Nairn
Multimedia University (Malaysia)
2004
Middle Temple (England), Jeremy Brier & Alexander Deane
  • Inner Temple, Alexis Hernden & Richard Osbourne
  • Singapore Institute of Management, Amit Bhatia & Rajesh Krishnan
  • University of Sydney, Alex Croft & Ani Satchithananda
Nanyang Technological University (Singapore)
2003
University of Cambridge B Team (England), Jack Anderson & Caleb Ward
  • University of Cambridge A Team, Sebastian Isaac & Wu-Meng Tan
  • University of Melbourne, Perry Herzfeld & Sarah Kennedy
  • Monash University, Luke Oliver & Tim Sonnreich
Stellenbosch University (South Africa)
2002
New York University (United States), Alan Merson & Rob Weekes
  • Durham University, Tom Hamilton & Jon Simons
  • Monash University, Michael Smith & Amanda Wolthuizen
  • University College Dublin, Paul Brady & Colin Walsh
University of Toronto (Canada)
2001
University of Sydney A Team (Australia) (3), Paul Hunyor & Greg O'Mahoney
  • King's Inns, Caoilfhionn Gallagher & Ian Walsh
  • University of London, Paul Gleeson & Neil Harvey-Smith
  • University of Sydney B Team, Laila DeMelo & Alex Macoun
University of Glasgow (Scotland)
2000
Monash University (Australia) (2), Kim Little & Cathy Roussow
  • University of Glasgow, John Paul Toner & Eleanor Winton
  • University of La Verne, Sean Krispinsky & J.J. Rodriguez
  • University College Dublin, Paul Brady & Simon Mills
University of Sydney (Australia)
1999
Monash University (Australia), Meg O'Sullivan & Andrew Phillips
  • University of Oxford, Simon Milnes & Andy Kidd
  • University of Sydney B Team, Janet Brown & Nick Purtell
  • University of Sydney E Team, Ben Juratowich & Greg O'Mahoney
Ateneo de Manila University (Philippines)
1998
Gray's Inn (England), Andy George & Neil Sheldon
  • University of Edinburgh, Ben Foss & Colm O'Cinneide
  • University of Oxford, Dominic Hughes & Ben Philips
  • University of Western Ontario, David Orr & Brent Patterson
Deree College (Greece)
1997
University of Glasgow (Scotland) (5), Andy Hume & Derek Sloan
  • University of Edinburgh, Bob Dalrymple & Gavin McCall
  • Gray's Inn, Andy George & Tim Green
  • University of London, Simone Murray & Dan Neidle
Stellenbosch University (South Africa)
1996
Macquarie University (Australia), Fenja Berglund & Ben Way
  • University of Edinburgh, Bob Dalrymple & Stephen Magee
  • Inner Temple, Jody Beveridge & Ian Duncan
  • University of Sydney, Kara Greiner & Adam Spencer
University College Cork (Ireland)
1995
University of New South Wales (Australia), James Hooke & Jeremy Phillips
University of Oxford, Rufus Black & Rod Clayton
Princeton University (United States)
1994
University of Glasgow (Scotland) (4), Manus Blessing & Duncan Hamilton
  • University of Auckland, Sasha Judd & Peter Shand
  • University of Oxford, Rufus Black & David Blair
  • Vassar College, Michael Fanuelle & Tim Yusuf
University of Melbourne (Australia)
1993
Harvard University (United States), David Friedman & David Kennedy
  • Australian National University A Team, Simon Banks & Damien O'Donovan
  • Australian National University B Team
  • University of Toronto, Jason Brent & Tom Meehan
University of Oxford (England)
1992
University of Glasgow (Scotland) (3), Robin Marshall & Gordon Peterson
  • Australian National University, Richard Douglas & Damien O'Donovan
  • University of Sydney A Team, Clayton Long & Adam Spencer
  • University of Sydney B Team, David Howarth & Andrew Stone
Trinity College Dublin (Ireland)
1991
McGill University (Canada), Mona Gupta & Chris Wayland
Dalhousie University, John Haffner & Stephen Pitel
University of Toronto (Canada)
1990
Yale University (United States), John Wertheim & Matt Wolf
  • Australian National University, Daniel Mulino & Clayton Young
  • University of Melbourne, Rufus Black & Greg Hunt
  • University of Sydney, Andrew Bell & Adam Spencer
University of Glasgow (Scotland)
1989
University of Sydney (Australia) (2), Andrew Bell & Warren Lee
University of Toronto, Dave Conklin & Justin MacGregor
Princeton University (United States)
1988
Oxford Union (England), Michael Hall & Iain Morley
Victoria University of Wellington
University of Sydney (Australia)
1987
University of Glasgow (Scotland) (2), Austin Lally & Kevin Sneader
University of Toronto, Justin MacGregor & Stuart Oli
University College Dublin (Ireland)
1986
University College Cork (Ireland), Brian Hassett & Siobhan Lankford
University of Sydney - Damian Crawford & Sean Murphy
Fordham University (United States)
1985
King's Inns (Ireland), Damian Crawford & Shane Murphy
Brown University
McGill University (Canada)
1984
University of Sydney (Australia), David Celermeyer & Christopher Kelly
University of Oxford, Murray Pittock & Jeya Wilson
University of Edinburgh (Scotland)
1983
University of Glasgow (Scotland), Frank McKiergan & John Nicholson
University of Toronto, Jeff Nankivell & Francis Daniels
Princeton University (United States)
1982
University of Auckland (New Zealand), Stuart Bugg & David Kidd
University of Ottawa, Martin LaPlante & Michael McCulloch
University of Toronto (Canada)
1981
University of Toronto (Canada), Steve Coughlan & Andrew Taylor
  • University of Glasgow
  • McGill University, Marcel Mongeon & John Rankin
  • University of Ottawa, Martin LaPlante & Michael McCulloch
University of Glasgow (Scotland)

Future championships


  • 2010 - to be hosted by Koç University, Turkey
  • 2011 - to be hosted by the University of Botswana

Organisation and Adjudication Teams


Year
Hosts
Convenor(s)
Adjudication Team
2009
University College Cork (Ireland)
Art Ward
Derek Lande (CA), Rory Gillis (DCA), Ivan Ah Sam (DCA), Erin O'Brien (DCA)
2008
Assumption University (Thailand)

Rajesh (CA), Beth O'Connor (DCA), Ciaran Lawlor (DCA), Joanna Nairn (DCA)
2007
University of British Columbia (Canada)

Kevin Massie (CA), Alex Deane (DCA),

Format of the event


The Championship is usually held in the days following Christmas, since many of the institutions attending from the Northern Hemisphere where the Championship originated take vacations at this time. Although many countries who do not celebrate Christmas have become participants at Worlds, the timing has remained the same. In most recent years, the nine preliminary rounds of the tournament have been held over three days from 29-31 December, with the elimination rounds being held on 2 January and the Grand Final on 3 January.

In recent years, the Championship has varied from about 150 to 350 teams, depending on the capacity of the host institution. With judges and organisers, this involves 500 to 1,000 participants in all, and up to 90 rooms for debating and briefings.

The competition involves nine preliminary rounds, which become power-paired as the tournament progresses, matching the strongest-performing teams against each other. Two teams form the government (proposition in the UK and North America) and two the opposition in each debate room. The process of scoring and pairing these teams is known as tabbing. The scoring of teams is done by judges, most of whom are students or former students from the competing institutions, who return ballots with their scores to the adjudication team, led by a Chief Adjudicator who is assisted by one or more deputies. The deputies are not members of the host institution.

The nine preliminary rounds are followed by a break at which the teams proceeding to elimination rounds are announced. This is traditionally done on New Year's Eve, although this is subject to the timing of the tournament. In the current tournament format, 32 teams proceed to octo-finals and from there two teams from each room proceed to quarter-finals, semi-finals and the Grand Final. While preliminary rounds are usually judged by up to three judges, the break rounds are judged by panels of five, and the finals by panels of seven.

Separate breaks are announced for the English-as-a-second language (ESL) and English-as-a-foreign language (EFL) team competitions, for the individual public speaking competition, and the World Masters tournament which is participated in by judges (most of whom are no longer students) representing the countries where they studied or of which they are citizens.

Predecessor tournaments


The Trans-Atlantic University Speech Association held tournaments in London (1976 and 1978) and at McGill University, Montreal in 1977. Chicago was to hold a tournament in 1979 but this was postponed and then abandoned. A World Debating Festival, sponsored by Honeywell was held in Sydney in 1978. The TAUSA event attracted mostly Northern Hemisphere tournaments, the Honeywell was largely Southern Hemisphere.

Detailed annual history


1981 Glasgow University Union

The first Championship was hosted in January 1981 at Glasgow University Union and organized by Clark McGinn. 43 teams from 7 nations competed. Registration was £10 but teams from outside the British Isles paid no registration as they were at a financial disadvantage for travelling so far. In exchange for this fee there was a promise of "a bed for every competitor". There were four days of debating with a day off in the middle to visit Edinburgh, and then the finals. Steve Coughlan and Andrew Taylor took home the first place honours for the University of Toronto, defeating John Rankin and Marcel Mongeon of McGill. Andrew Taylor also took home the best speaker award.

1982 University of Toronto Hart House

The University of British Columbia won the bid for the 1982 tournament. A letter sent out by Joe Pollender in the autumn of 1981, however, cites a 42-day Canadian postal strike as the cause for a change of venue to Hart House University of Toronto. Worlds was organized by one of the undefending champions, Steve Coughlan, assisted by Sarah Taylor and Dale Darling. About 40 teams competed, with first place going to Stuart Bugg and David Kidd of the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Stuart Bugg was the best speaker. The dinner hosted by the Royal Commonwealth Society at Casa Loma was a high point of the tournament. That year, an idea arose that one year’s winners should become the following year’s hosts, as this system had worked so well for the second Worlds. Auckland was duly selected as the site for the 1983 Worlds.

1983 Princeton University

Princeton University took up the torch when the University of Auckland failed to organize a tournament. There had been a great deal of talk of subsidized airfare to New Zealand, but this all suddenly went quiet. Frank McKiergan and John Nicholson of the Glasgow University Union met and defeated a University of Toronto team of Jeff Nankivell and Francis Daniels in the final. John Geisnell is recorded as the best speaker but his university is not known. The World Universities Debating Council was formed at this tournament. The general idea was to get a bit more organized, and possibly prevent world tournaments from evaporating completely. Prior to that, issues such as the next tournament location had been decided by a general meeting of all teams present.

1984 University of Edinburgh

Sixty-four teams competed in this Worlds at the University of Edinburgh, and the University of Sydney (David Celermeyer and Christopher Kelly) beat Oxford to bring the first place honours to Australia. A number of participants went to Glasgow afterwards to film “Mr. Speaker, Sir!” for the BBC. Willie Hamilton was on one side; Nikolai Tolstoy on the other, on a resolution abolishing the monarchy.

1985 McGill University

In 1985, the Worlds were hosted by McGill University. It was run by Scott Keating, Melanie Garret and Elizabeth Jarvis. A total of 120 teams took part. The final round was held in Redpath Hall. Judges included Francis Fox, former Solicitor General of Canada. Marcel Mongeon and Trish Dodge hosted a reception for the overseas debaters, at which guests met former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. That year, Shane Murphy and Damian Crawford took home first place for King's Inns, Dublin. In the final, they defeated a team from Brown University (USA).

1986 Fordham University

Over 100 teams attended this Worlds at Fordham University, including competitors from Sweden, and Ateneo De Manila University University in the Philippines. University College Cork (Brian Hassett and Siobhain Lankford) won the competition for Ireland, making it 2 in a row for the Irish. The format of the competition saw 14 preliminary round debates between teams of 2, and 2 teams per debate. The final motion was on censorship of the media.

1987 University College Dublin

In 1987, University College Dublin hosted the Worlds. A local newspaper reported that 220 teams were there. Glasgow (Kevin Sneader and Austin Lally) were the world champions that year. New Year's Eve was a study in contrasts as the debaters who gathered in evening attire for a cold buffet in the Lord Mayor's Hall found themselves ringing in the new year next door to a heavy metal rock concert, complete with "a bunch of guys in leather jackets and girls in red lipstick cracking gum."

1988 University of Sydney

Oxford brought the first place trophy home to England, (Michael Hall and Iain Morley), while Francis Greenslade (University of Adelaide) was best speaker. 90 teams entered this Worlds at the University of Sydney. Competition and judging conventions differed from one Worlds to the next, and part of the idea is to do things according to the customs of the host school. Some competitors, used to making frivolous definitions, were disconcerted with a certain Australian rule aimed at banning such frivolity. If a resolution lent itself to economics, for example, you had to debate economics. This led to at least one unfortunately literal debate about whether it really was better to live on your knees than die on your feet. The final was unusually one-on-one - Oxford against University of Victoria at Wellington, and the motion announced 15 mins before was that "the crown is an albatross". Wellington spoke first, defining the terms, argued the Queen should no longer be Head of State in Australia, and left Oxford very little room to woo the home crowd. This was high-octane verbal war, played out before a crowd of 5000 students, with members of the public, tv and media too. At the time it was said to be the most exciting final to date, with outrageous heckling and audience barracking, particularly from the Scots and Irish whenever Oxford spoke. It went to the wire on the judges, and was decided by the audience, who counted for two formal votes. The audience voted with Oxford by an overwhelming majority, even the Scots and Irish showing their hands, and heads still scratch at how Oxford snatched victory from such a tricky motion downunder.

1989 Princeton University

Aaron Blumenfeld and company ran this event, which was won by the previous year’s hosts, Sydney, Andrew Bell and Warren Lee. Second place was won by Justin MacGregor and Dave Conklin of the University of Toronto. About 110 teams attended. That year saw a marked increase in international participation. Singapore and Greece attended; the Soviet Union sent observers and competed the next year at Glasgow. There were a lot of prizes, including, for the first time, recognition for debaters for whom English was a second language. The format was 10 preliminary rounds with teams of two, and two teams per debate. "This tournament will run on time," debaters were told at every meeting, long after they were tired of hearing it, but it worked. While not all Worlds have featured a prepared topic, at Princeton it was “socialism has failed.” One may recall that 1989 was quite a year for socialism...but this was only January. How could they have known? There were divisions for both comic and serious public speeches, but the idea of having to stand up and know that you were expected to be funny was more than many cared to deal with. The competition offered a number of unusual ideas, including object speaking; a debater was handed an object, and then had to build a speech around the object.

1990 Glasgow University Union

Glasgow University Union played host to the Worlds for the second time. Yale University (Matt Wolf and John Wertheim) took home the first American victory in the history of the tournament, over a field of about 165 teams. Hong Kong was represented, and the American Academy in Athens, Greece returned. A Polish team was there, too. The previous summer, a group of 10 people had toured Eastern Europe to teach debating. One of the Soviet teams the group had met on the tour came to the Worlds that year. Princess Anne, the Princess Royal was the honoured guest at a reception for the Debating Union Presidents before the final round. She presented the award to the winning team from Yale, who were the victors in the finals against three Australian teams.

1991 University of Toronto Hart House

Toronto's second championships were held under the North American style of debating, which involved just 2 teams in each debate and Double Octo-finals. The eventual winners were McGill University (Chris Wayland and Mona Gupta), defeating Dalhousie University (Stephen Pitel and John Haffner) in the final. Stephen Pitel would go on to debate for and coach Cambridge and pioneer the case book approach which would come to dominate teams tactics at Worlds. James Rocchi, from the University of Western Ontario Debating Society, was named World Public Speaking Champion.

1992 Trinity College Dublin

Around 150 teams competed at Trinity College Dublin. The final was competed by 3 Australian teams –- Australian National University (who broke 1st), Sydney A (who broke 2nd) and Sydney B (who broke 11th). The fourth team was Glasgow (Robin Marshall and Gordon Peterson), who won the final and the championships. The competition was not a total disappointment for Australia as the top speaker award was shared by James Hooke (NSW) (who would later win Princeton World's) and Richard Douglas (ANU). The winning Glasgow team was not actually included in the initial break as the tab system failed early on and manual calculations were used which later turned out to be flawed. Following complaints by other colleges (not Glasgow) Edinburgh were dropped from 32nd position and Glasgow were added in and had to be woken from their beds to debate in the octo-finals. Rt. Hon. David Lange was the Head International Adjudicator, Ex Prime Minister of New Zealand, and of 1985 Oxford Union Debate famed moot on legality of Nuclear Arms.

1993 Oxford Union Society

Oxford Union Society's convenor was Matthew Christmas (an apt name considering the time of year). The Chief Adjudicator was Michael Gove. The organising committee spanned two pages of its booklet, a sign of the ever increasing complexity of running Worlds. The prizes were designed to remind the winners of Oxford and so rowing oars (from the famous "Boat Race") were chosen. How exactly these were brought home by the eventual winners, Harvard (David Friedman and David Kennedy), is not remembered. Daniel Mulino (ANU) was best speaker. Former British Prime Minister Edward Heath addressed the championship dinner. Worlds Council had to select a new host for the 1994 championships after Sydney, who had been awarded the championships in Trinity, had to pull out. They came with another college prepared to host (Melbourne). Princeton also offered a bid to Worlds Council but Melbourne were more prepared, probably because they knew earlier of Sydney's misfortune. Princeton were encouraged to bid for the 1995 championships instead.

1994 University of Melbourne

The University of Melbourne hosted the 1994 championships after the University of Sydney found themselves unable to host having won the bid in Trinity. After 5 years of cold wet championships this must have been a nice change for the teams, in particular Glasgow (Manus Blessing and Duncan Hamilton) who won the competition. Ben Richards (Monash) was the top speaker. The growth of the international aspect of the championships was seen in Melbourne with teams from France, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea and Zimbabwe.

1995 Princeton University

Princeton hosted once again in 1995. The overall winners, in a 6-5 decision, were the University of New South Wales (James Hooke and Jeremy Philips), who defeated Oxford (Rufus Black and Rod Clayton) in the final, and Harvard (David Panton and Ted Cruz) in the semifinal. Chitra Jenardhanan from Nanyang in Singapore became the first English as a Second Language speaker to win the Best Speaker award. At the council meeting, two colleges bid to host in 1997 - Stellenbosch and Deree. After presentations and questions, Stellenbosch was selected as the host by a vote of 13-6-1. Australia also proposed standardization of format to British Parliamentary after a heated discussion between Australia, New Zealand, Scotland and Singapore in favour of standardization, and the United States and Canada against, a motion was passed to delay consideration of the issue until the following year. Princeton also had serious problems with judge numbers. Most colleges failed to send a judge and the 2 teams per debate set-up required twice as many judges as normal. In the preliminary rounds, many rooms had only one judge. As a result the N-1 rule was mooted for future championships, thus ensuring that sufficient judges would be available, but it would not be until Stellenbosch '97 that council would vote to enforce this guideline.

1996 University College Cork

Macquarie (Fenja Berglund and Ben Way) won the competition with Adam Spencer (Sydney) as best speaker. The final was held in Cork City Hall and highlights were televised by the Irish National broadcaster RTÉ. There were a number of problems at this championships which combined to give a bad perception of the organizing committee and the championships as a whole. The tab system was missing several results or had results entered incorrectly, resulting in a Princeton team losing out on a break position. Official results were never released, although a team tab was found and circulated in the US and, in the absence of any other, is now taken as the Cork tab. The tab also could not guarantee a 3,2,2,2 for positions with all teams. Council requested that position allocation be made crucial in future championships. This caused serious problems with future tab systems, generating large brackets of 3 or 4 points in rounds 4 and 8 combined with a popular move back to pure power-pairing, instead of brackets to protect the top teams, for future championships. The championships were also note worthy for two decisions by Worlds Council. Firstly the creation of the Deputy Chief Adjudicator positions to make sure that the interests of debaters outside the host nation were represented on the organizing committee. Secondly this council voted on the Australian motion from the previous year to standardize to the British Parliamentary style rather than allow the host to decide the style. As in Princeton, this was an extremely contentious decision and at one stage featured a walk out by delegates who were either opposed to standardization or favoured another style. The motion was passed and for better or worse, and this paved the way to the creation of Worlds rules as they are today.

1997 Stellenbosch University

The championships were hosted at Stellenbosch University, the first time in Africa. In fact this was the first time a host nation came from outside the original seven Charter nations. After the problems with the previous two Charter nation Worlds (Princeton and Cork), this gamble by the Worlds Council was rewarded as Stellenbosch '97 is widely regarded as the benchmark Worlds setting new standards against which all future years would be measured. This was in spite of a campaign by some American debaters to boycott the championships as they were being held in the birthplace of apartheid, and an outbreak of Ebola in Africa which had the world's media in overdrive. The competition ran smoothly and the social events in the warm African summer were very successful following two cold-climate Worlds. This was also the first championships to have Deputy Chief Adjudicators to provide external expertise to the organizing committee, with Ray D'Cruz and John Long being the first to fill the role. Stellenbosch also struggled with the number of judges. As a result the council finally voted to enforce the N-1 rule for all future championships. Council at Stellenbosch voted to introduce verbal adjudications after the first 6 preliminary rounds. The ESL Final was contested by 2 teams from Singapore, one from the Philippines and one from Greece, and the National University of Singapore emerged with the win. The main competition was won by Glasgow A (Andy Hume and Derek Sloan) who were faced with the task of taking a large trophy in the shape of an Elephant home. It had to be carried into the final by 4 men. Andy George from Gray's Inn was best speaker.

1998 Deree College

Deree College was the first mainland European host, billing the event as "Debating coming home". It was also the biggest WUDC till then and the first time it took place in a non- English speaking country. Gray's Inn A (Neil Sheldon and Andy George) won the competition, defeating Western Ontario A (Brent Patterson and David Orr), Oxford] (Dom Hughes and ben Phillips) and Edinburgh University (Colm O'Cinneide and Ben Foss) in the final. Neill Sheldon also took the top speaker award. The top-breaking team after nine rounds was from Ottawa Law A (Casey Halladay and Cory MacDonald). The championships were also saw a change in voting rights on the Council which, loosened the grip of the charter nations and rewarded countries who sent more teams. The council also voted to set up a World Debating Committee to work on issues between championships. There were problems with delays and judges continually judging at the same level (i.e. the top 3 judges would be in the top room and the bottom 3 ranked judges always judged the bottom room). This led to frustration among some judges seeing a steady stream of weak teams (and frustrated some teams seeing a constant stream of weak judges), culminating in a large no-show from bottom-ranked judges at a delayed round 9. As a result of this, the concept of top ranked "chair" judges in every room and rotating judges around the tab became common. Athens had ESL semi-finals for the first time to allow the top 8 ESL teams break. Athens were the first championships to publish results during the competition. While this did not meet the requirements of Council set in Stellenbosch (for which Athens were criticized), it was the first time teams had a clear picture of how they were performing at the end of each day. Additionally, the tournament featured social events for every night that, along with the Athenian festive atmosphere and the easy going Greek character, made the Athens Worlds quite a memorable event.

1999 Ateneo de Manila University

1999 continued the trend of first-time host continents with the first Asian host, Ateneo de Manila University. There was advance discussion on some American/IONA lists as to the safety of the Philippines, and then the Asian Economy collapsed creating a financial headache for organisers and participants alike. During the championships some small problems initially occurred with registration and the tab system, which were fixed by the adjudication team. After that, the championships are generally considered to have been a success. This was the first Asian championships and saw a large number of non-Charter nations break. The Philippines had three teams break (two to quarter-finals and one to the semi-finals), South Africa had two (Witwatersrand University reached the semi-finals), while Singapore and Pakistan (Qtr-finals) had one breaking team each. Monash A (Meg O’Sullivan and Andrew Phillips) won the competition, while Andy Kidd (Oxford) was best speaker. The Grand Final was televised live in the Philippines and opened by President Joseph Estrada. Manila also saw the launch of a new competition - the "World Masters". This was a competition open to adjudicators and observers and run on a national basis rather than by college. Ireland were the first winners.

2000 University of Sydney

The championships were delayed by around a week so that participants could celebrate the Millennium at home with their families. This meant that a few hardy souls risked the Millennium Bug and were able to get cheap flights on near empty planes departing on New Year’s Day. This was seen as a championship that again raised the bar in terms of standards expected of the host. An opening night harbour cruise around the beautiful natural harbour left participants wondering how the host committee could match this standard for the full week. They did. This was also a championship of records as Monash University became the first college to successfully defend the title, this time through Kim Little and Cathy Roussow. Monash beat University College Dublin Literary and Historical (L&H) Society (Simon Mills and Paul Brady), Glasgow University (John-Paul Toner and Eleanor Winton) and University of La Verne (JJ Rodriguez and Sean Krispinsky) in the final. This was the first time that an all-female team had won. Andy Kidd (Oxford) also became the first speaker on record to top the speaker tab two years in a row.

2001 Glasgow University Union

The championships returned to Glasgow for its 21st birthday. After 4 years of warm (or at least very mild) climates, the participants were greeted with the heaviest snow-fall in Glasgow's living memory. Round 9 had to be cancelled after large numbers of teams were struck down with some form of illness known by the pleasant name of the "Winter Vomiting Virus". However as the round one motion was announced at the wrong time in the adjudication briefing and another had to be used, the participants still got 9 preliminary round motions, if not 9 debates. In addition, the tab system, based on that used at Sydney, continued to cause problems for tournament organisers, resulting in delays, and one team being accidentally excluded from the break (Cambridge). Despite all this, Sydney (Greg O'Mahoney and Paul Hunyor) came through to win and Paul Hunyor also took home the best speaker award. A prize of a large "Braveheart" style claymore sword for the winning team must have made for an interesting conversation at customs.

2002 University of Toronto Hart House

Toronto yet again succeeded Glasgow as host and once again the participants prepared for vast quantities of snow. Record levels of snow fell 40km south of Toronto and 40km north of Toronto, but not a flake was spotted in Toronto itself during the championships. New York University Law (Rob Weekes and Alan Merson) won the championships for the United States, the first time since 1993 that an American team won (although it might be noted that both speakers were graduate students from the UK, having previously studied at Cambridge and Glasgow respectively). They defeated Durham B (Jon Simons and Tom Hamilton), Monash A (Amanda Wolthuizen and Michael Smith) and UCD L&H A (Paul Brady and Colin Walsh) in the final. Ewan Smith (Oxford) was the top-ranked speaker. The motions at these championships were considered controversial by many debaters as they covered topics such as September 11th, rape, and anorexia. Worlds Council saw a record three nations bidding to host in 2004 - Croatia, Malaysia and Singapore. The selection process was marred by controversy over the voting allegiances and pacts, but eventually Singapore won the right to host Worlds.

2003 Stellenbosch University

Some would say that this second Stellenbosch championship did not run as smoothly as the first. During the competition it became obvious that problems existed with the tab system, which had been tested with pre-prepared data but did not mimic live conditions. A series of small errors in the design or manual use of the tab system caused serious delays on Day 1 (finished at 11pm) and Day 2 (Round 6 moved to the next day). Another all-night session by the tab and adjudication teams saw a marked improvement in the running of the competition on Day 3. Four rounds were held in quick succession. However after all that the break was announced on time on New Year's night. The rest of the competition ran smoothly, and throughout the championship the social events were generally considered to be outstanding, helping to keep many participants happy and win back some of those who had been annoyed with earlier aspects of the competition. Also helping to make up for all the earlier problems, Cambridge B (Jack Anderson & Caleb Ward) won perhaps the tightest and best final in Worlds History. They won on a split 5-2 decision just ahead of Melbourne A (Perry Herzfeld & Sarah Kennedy). Monash B (Tim Sonnreich & Luke Oliver) and Cambridge A (Sebastian Isaac and Wu-Meng Tan, the latter also the top ranked speaker of the tournament) were also in the final.

2004 Nanyang Technological University

Nanyang Technological University had defeated Malaysia and Croatia for the right to host. Before the competition, Singapore faced several difficulties. Their Chief Adjudicator, Amanda Kiemas, resigned to take up a new job offer. The replacement, Ravi Viswanathan, was a relative unknown and this caused some concern when he initially announced that he would speak in Stellenbosch and not adjudicate. This would have meant he had no adjudication experience at Worlds prior to being Chief Adjudicator. However he did adjudicate break rounds up to and including the semi-finals in Stellenbosch and their bid was ratified by the Council in Toronto. After that, concerns were raised in 2003 by the SARS virus sweeping through Asia, but in reality it was not a serious threat to the championships. After all this, the championships themselves were a great success. The Middle Temple team (Alexander Deane & Jeremy Brier) unanimously defeated Sydney (Alex Croft & Ani Satchithananda), Singapore Institute of Management (Rajesh Krishnan & Amit Bhatia) and Inner Temple (Richard Osbourne & Alexis Hearnden) in the final, held before a packed audience at the Victoria Concert Hall. Alex Croft was the best speaker. Worlds Council, however, did not run so smoothly. The Council refused to ratify Zagreb as hosts for 2005. The bidding was reopened, and Malaysia's Multimedia University bid unopposed. After all that, University College Dublin won the right to host in 2006, again unopposed.

2005 Multimedia University

The championships were hosted by the Multimedia University just days after the tsunamis which devastated Southeast Asia. Even though they had just a year to organize the competition, the championships were generally seen as a success allowing for the short preparation time. This was a good championships for Canada as the University of Ottawa A, represented by (Erik Eastaugh & Jamie Furniss) won by defeating Cambridge A (Daragh Grant & Joe Devanney), Oxford D (Alex Just & Jonathan Bailey) and Hart House B (Michael Kotrly & Joanna Nairn) in the final. The team of Alex Just (a first-year university student) and Jonathan Bailey (a second year) was the youngest ever in the Worlds Final. Kylie Lane (Monash University) took out the best speaker award. Khor Swee Kheng and Tan Ai Huey from the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia won the ESL Championships. Worlds Council awarded the University of British Columbia the right to host Worlds in 2007. Sydney University were unsuccessful bidders and the Dublin bid was ratified smoothly.

2006 University College Dublin

The championships were won by Michael Kotrly and Joanna Nairn representing Hart House, University of Toronto, defeating the University of Chicago (represented by Daragh Grant and Patrick Emerson), Yale University (David Denton and Josh Bone), and the Inner Temple, (Greg Ó Ceallaigh and Charlie Sparling) in the Grand Final. This was "UofT"'s first win since the first Worlds in 1981 and the second successive Canadian win. Beth O'Connor and Rory Gillis of Yale shared the best speaker award, capping the best North American performance at the championships in over a decade. 323 teams were listed on the team results (together with a "swing" team which evened it to a required multiple of four), making Dublin 2006 the largest Worlds ever. Lars Duursma and Sharon Kroes from Erasmus University won the ESL competition with Anat Gelber from Haifa University winning ESL best speaker. This was also the first year that a team from France competed in the tournament. O'Neill Simpson from the University of the West Indies - Cave Hill (Barbados) won the Public Speaking tournament. Colm Flynn from University of Limerick was awarded the newly created Order of Distinction by the World Universities Debating Council. While the campionships were seen to have raised the bar again for future hosts in terms of the level of professionalism in their organisation, there were a number of concerns over delegates' health as cases of suspected meningitis and confirmed flu were reported after the break was announced. Assumption University of Thailand bid to host the championship in 2008 and stood unopposed.

2007 University of British Columbia

The championships were won by Julia Bowes and Anna Garsia of the University of Sydney Union, only the second all-female champion team. They defeated Cambridge C (Ranald Clouston and Bob Nimmo), Oxford D (James Dray and Will Jones), and the University of Queensland A (Evan Goldman and Erin O'Brien). Jessica Prince from Oxford E was the best speaker on the tab. Suhaib Hassan and Tasneem Elias from International Islamic University Malaysia won the ESL competition with Suhaib Hassan from the same team winning best speaker The public speaking champion was Michael Imeson from Seattle University. University College Cork and the University of Botswana bid to host the 2009 tournament, with Cork being chosen.

2008 Assumption University

Oxford A (Samir Deger-Sen and Lewis Iwu) won the championships, defeating Cambridge B (Mhairi Murdoch and Daniel Warents), Monash A (Tim Jeffrie and Fiona Prowse) and Sydney A (Christopher Croke and Dominic Thurbon) in the final. Oxford A set a new record during the preliminary rounds of the tournament by collecting 25 of a possible 27 points. Sam Block of Cambridge A was the best speaker on the tab. The University of Amsterdam B (Reinier de Adelhart Toorop and Anne Valkering) won the English-as-a-Second-Language competition, and Keio University A (Yui Miyaich and Yoko Sako) won the English-as-a-Foreign-Language competition. Jason Joseph Rogers from the University of Toronto Hart House won the Public Speaking tournament. James Dray and Will Jones of the Oxford Union Society won the Masters competition (which they entered as Team Guinea-Bissau). Of note was a controversial motion during the preliminary rounds of the tournament which advocated the assassination of Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin. Koc University won the right to host the 2010 tournament, defeating the University of Botswana and Nanyang Technological University. Ian Lising stood down as Chair of the World Council after many years of service. Neill Harvey-Smith took his place in the Chair, and presented Lising with an award to mark his investiture in the World Council Order of Distinction. Omar Salahuddin and Ray D'Cruz were also awarded this honour.

2009 University College Cork

The Oxford University A team of James Dray and Will Jones won the championships. In doing so, they became the first partnership to simultaneously hold the World and European Universities debating titles, while Oxford became only the second institution to win back-to-back world championships (after Monash in 1999-2000). Dray and Jones have previously won the Masters title at the championships in 2008 and been Grand Finalists in 2007. The other finalists were Harvard A (Lewis Bollard and Cormac Early), Monash B (Ravi Dutta and Victor Finkel), and Oxford C (Jonathan Leader Maynard and Alex Worsnip). Babeş-Bolyai University won the English-as-a-Second-Language competition, and Vilnius University won the English-as-a-Foreign-Language competition. Naomi Oreb of Sydney topped the overall speaker tab, Leela Koenig of Leiden University topped the ESL tab, and Aiste Dumbryte from Vilnius topped the EFL tab. Patrick Bateman of Sydney claimed the Public Speaking title. In the Masters competition, Ross McGuire and Gregg O'Neill from Ireland claimed the team title while Irishman Barry Glynn took the individual title. Willard Foxton of Middle Temple won the stand-up comedy competition for the second time, becoming the first person to do so. The University of Botswana were named as hosts for the 2011 championships after two unsuccessful bids to win the right to host in the previous two years.

World Universities Debating Council


The World Universities Debating Council consists of representatives of every country that competes at the World Universities Debating Championship. Each country selects one council delegate (the national debating association president, or selected from the participants at Worlds). The Council is responsible for setting the rules and awarding the right to host the championships.
A Worlds Committee is elected to discuss issues during the year as Council only meets at the championships itself. This Committee consists of a mix of elected officers and regional representatives from Africa, the Americas, Australia and New Zealand, Continental Europe and the Middle East, and IONA (the Islands of the North Atlantic - a form of words thought less controversial than the "British Isles"). Since 2000, the Chair of the Worlds Committee has also chaired the Council [2000 Omar Salluhudin (Malaysia), 2001 & 2002 Colm Flynn (Ireland), 2002-2008 Ian Lising (US), 2008-current Neill Harvey-Smith (England)]. Prior to 2000, the host country of each year's championship appointed the Chair of the Council.
The Council formerly operated not unlike the United Nations Security Council, with seven nations holding "charter member status" - the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. A two-thirds majority of these countries was required for changes to the championship's constitution, irrespective of how the general vote was tallied. However, as the number of non-charter nations attending grew, many fielding far more teams than some of the upper tier, and the championship began being hosted outside the Charter nations, pressure grew for the distinction to be eliminated.
The modern championship grants voting strength of between one and four votes per country, based on numbers of institutions attending recent championships. To allow for fluctuations in participation due to the financial difference in attending championships nearer or further in succeeding years, nations lose or gain their voting strength gradually.

World Universities Debating Championship award winners


Best Speakers of the Tournament

Year
Top Speaker
University
2013
Pam Cohn
Chris Bisset
University of London Union (England)
Monash University (Australia)
2012
Ben Woolgar
University of Oxford (England)
2011
Victor Finkel
Monash University (Australia)
2010
Shengwu Li
University of Oxford (England)
2009
Naomi Oreb
University of Sydney (Australia)
2008
Sam Block
University of Cambridge (England)
2007
Jessica Prince
University of Oxford (England)
2006
Rory Gillis
Elizabeth O'Connor
Yale University (United States)
Yale University (United States)
2005
Kylie Lane
Monash University (Australia)
2004
Alex Croft
University of Sydney (Australia)
2003
Wu-Meng Tan
University of Cambridge (England)
2002
Ewan Smith
University of Oxford (England)
2001
Paul Huynor
University of Sydney (Australia)
2000
Andy Kidd (2)
University of Oxford (England)
1999
Andy Kidd
University of Oxford (England)
1998
Neil Sheldon
Gray's Inn (England)
1997
Andy George
Gray's Inn (England)
1996
Adam Spencer
University of Sydney (Australia)
1995
Chitra Jenardhanan
Nanyang Technological University (Singapore)
1994
Ben Richards
Monash University (Australia)
1993
Daniel Mulino
Australian National University (Australia)
1992
Richard Douglas
James Hooke
Australian National University (Australia)
University of New South Wales (Australia)
1991
Steve Bibas
University of Oxford (England)
1990
No information
1989
John Gastil
Swarthmore College (United States)
1988
Francis Greenslade
University of Adelaide (Australia)
1987
Michael Hall
University of Oxford (England)
1986
Bruce Meagher
University of Sydney (Australia)
1985
Michael ?
University of Oxford (England)
1984
David Celermeyer
University of Sydney (Australia)
1983
John Geissnell
?
1982
Stuart Bugg
University of Auckland (New Zealand)
1981
Andrew Taylor
University of Toronto (Canada)

English as a second language competition winners

Year
English as a Second Language Competition Winners
2013
BRAC University (Bangladesh)
2012
Tel Aviv University (Israel) (2)
2011
University of Haifa (Israel)
2010
Tel Aviv University (Israel)
2009
Babeş-Bolyai University (Romania)
2008
University of Amsterdam (Netherlands)
2007
International Islamic University Malaysia (Malaysia)
2006
Erasmus University (Netherlands)
2005
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (Malaysia)
2004
National University of Singapore (Singapore) (4)
2003
National University of Singapore (Singapore) (3)
2002
Hebrew University of Jerusalem (Israel)
2001
Ateneo de Manila University (Philippines)
2000
National University of Singapore (Singapore) (2)
1999
University of Santo Tomas (Philippines)
1998
St. Stephen's College (India)
1997
National University of Singapore (Singapore)
1996
Deree College (Greece)
1995
Nanyang Technological University (Singapore)
1994
Stellenbosch University (South Africa)
1993
University of Delhi (India) (2)
1992
no information
1991
University of Delhi (India)
1990
no information
1989
no information

English as a foreign language competition winners

Year
English as a Foreign Language Competition Winners
2013
University of Porto (Portugal)
2012
Ewha Womans University (South Korea)
2011
University of Tokyo (Japan)
2010
MGIMO University (Russia)
2009
Vilnius University (Lithuania)
2008
Keio University (Japan)
2007
Tsinghua University (China)

Masters competition winners

Year
Masters competition winner
2013
England (2)
2012
Australia (4)
2011
Scotland (2)
2010
Ireland/Canada
2009
Ireland (2)
2008
Guinea-Bissau
2007
Canada (3)
2006
Canada (2)
2005
Australia (3)
2004
Australia (2)
2003
England
2002
Canada
2001
Scotland
2000
Australia
1999
Ireland

Public Speaking competition winners

Year
Winner
University
2009
Patrick Bateman
University of Sydney (Australia)
2008
Jason Joseph Rogers
University of Toronto (Canada)
2007
Michael Imeson
Seattle University (United States)
2006
O'Neill Simpson
University of the West Indies - Cave Hill (Barbados)
2005
Rahim Moloo
University of British Columbia (Canada)
2004
Irma Nur Zahrah Bt. Junian
International Islamic University Malaysia (Malaysia)
2003
Ajit Singh
University of Alberta (Canada)
2002
Roy Wiesner
Hebrew University (Israel)
2001
Andrew Zadel
McGill University (Canada)
2000
Benet Brandreth (2)
Middle Temple (England)
1999
Diarmuid Conway
University College Cork (Ireland)
1998
James McDermott (2)
University College Dublin (Ireland)
1997
James McDermott
University College Dublin (Ireland)
1996
Benet Brandreth
University of Cambridge (England)
1995
Paul Ciufo
York University (Canada)
1994
Adrianne McNicholas
McGill University (Canada)
1993
Sheher Imam Chowdhury
University of Dhaka (Bangladesh)
1992
No information
1991
James Rocchi
University of Western Ontario (Canada)
1990
No information
1989
No information
1988
Michael Hall
University of Oxford (England)
1987
Not held
1986
No information
1985
No information
1984
David Celermeyer
University of Sydney (Australia)
1983
No information
1982
Stuart Bugg
University of Auckland (New Zealand)
1981
No information

Stand-Up Comedy competition winners

Year
Winner
University
2009
Willard Foxton (2)
Middle Temple (England)
2008
Patrick Bateman
University of Sydney (Australia)
2007
Willard Foxton
Middle Temple (England)
2006
Jess Moir
University of Melbourne (Australia)
2005
Australian National University Team
(Bill Bannear, Emily Byrne, Jeremy Farrell,
Toby Halligan & Pat Moody)
Australian National University (Australia)
2004
Mathew Kenneally
Australian National University (Australia)
2003
Sam Negus
University of Bristol (England)
2002
Alan Merson
New York University (United States)
2001
Ryan Knowles
University of La Verne (United States)
2000
Alan Merson & Ian Rutherford
University of Glasgow (Scotland)
1999
Colm Jordan
Dublin Institute of Technology (Ireland)
1998
Nick Bibby
University of St Andrews (Scotland)
1997
Richard Douglas
Australian National University (Australia)
1996
Andrew Gregson
University of Tasmania (Australia)
1995
Bob Dalrymple
University of Edinburgh (Scotland)

Order of Distinction


The Order of Distinction is presented by the World Universities Debating Council to individuals who have made outstanding long-term contributions to the organisation of the championships. The Order of Distinction has been awarded to:
Year
Recipient
Country
2008
Ray D'Cruz
Australia
Ian Lising
Philippines / United States
Omar Salahuddin
Malaysia
2006
Colm Flynn
Ireland

World Universities Debating Rankings


World Universities Debating Rankings are prepared by the World Debate Website, based on a cumulative ranking methodology. Although not officially recognized by the World Universities Debating Council, currently this is the only method in the debating arena that ranks all the institutions which have participated in the World Universities Debating Championship over the last five years. These rankings have also been used to determine the institutions invited to compete in the World Universities Peace Invitational Debate tournament held in Kuala Lumpur in 2007 and 2008.

One critcism which has been made of the rankings is that the calculation methodology gives an advantage to institutions who can afford to send many teams to the championships each year, as the rankings are based on total points rather than average points.

Methodology

  • The rankings are calculated by adding together the points (i.e. 3 points for winning a debate, 2 for a 2nd place, 1 for 3rd, and 0 for 4th) earned by each team representing an institution at the championships over the previous 5 years.
  • Where an institution hosted the championships in the last 5 years, and was therefore limited from entering competitive teams that year, their score is calculated over the past 6 years. This special consideration offsets the disadvantage of a hosting university, but does nothing to equalise the difficulties of universities who are disadvantaged by lack of subsidies and punitive costs or distance, which would also assumedly interfere with the ranking system.
  • Where teams are tied on the same number of points, these ties are broken based on the total known points (i.e. all points that institution has earned since Cork '96).

Top twenty

Prior to the 2009 championships, the top 20 universities out of 429 institutions are ranked by Colm Flynn as follows:
  1. University of Sydney, Australia
  2. University of Oxford, England
  3. University of Cambridge, England
  4. Monash University, Australia
  5. University College Dublin, Ireland
  6. Yale University, United States
  7. University College Cork, Ireland
  8. Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines
  9. University of Queensland, Australia
  10. University of Dublin, Trinity College, Ireland
  11. University of Toronto, Canada
  12. International Islamic University Malaysia, Malaysia
  13. University of Melbourne, Australia
  14. University of New South Wales, Australia
  15. University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  16. Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia
  17. Nanyang Technological University , Singapore
  18. Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  19. Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand
  20. University of La Verne, United States