Tomorrow, the six debaters still in the pre-selection track for the World Schools team 2014 will travel to Stuttgart to participate in the European Open Debating Championships. How does the selection process work, what is the function of this tournament, and what is the setup of the tournament? Editor and pre-selection participant Simon Toussaint dissects these issues for you.
WSDC Selection Track
The Dutch schools debating circuit has been growing for years – both in terms of quality and quantity. One of the best indicators of our circuit’s relative and absolute strength is its track record in the World Schools Debating Championships (WSDC). For years, Team Netherlands has participated in this prestigious tournament, reaching the octofinals in four occasions in the last five years. Next WSDC will take place in Bangkok, Thailand in August 2014. This long period of time has enabled the WSDC coaching team – headed by former European ESL champion Menno Schellekens – to set up an extensive selection track. The selection process started last May with the Roosevelt World Schools Academy, where 48 bright debaters got taught by some of the best student debaters, and participated in four rounds of debate. On this weekend, 16 debaters were chosen for the next selection round. These debaters then trained in weekly sessions until the Summer Holidays. Afterwards, the 6 remaining debaters continued to train weekly – and continue to do so right now. They will continue to train together until next February, when the final team of four will be chosen.
The six remaining debaters as of this moment are:
-Amy Bakx (Wolfert van Borselen Tweetalig)
-Emma van der Horst (Sint Willibrord Gymnasium)
-Emma Lucas (Stedelijk Gymnasium Nijmegen)
-Uche Odikanwa (Rijnlands Lyceum Oegstgeest)
-Urmi Pahladsingh (Stedelijk Gymnasium Nijmegen)
-Simon Toussaint (Utrechts Stedelijk Gymnasium)
Training to become better doesn’t just mean spending every Saturday on debate while getting taught by incredibly good debaters. It also means participating in tournaments. That is why all six of us have participated in this year’s Roosevelt Open. It is also why we will participate in the European Open Debating Championships 2013, which is held from 7th – 13th of November.
The EurOpen is an annual tournament held in Stuttgart, Germany. It is an open championship, meaning that teams from outside Europe can register as well. This year’s edition, for example, will see teams from South Korea, Qatar and Canada. Additionally, many German schools send a team as well. The tournament is held in the WSDC-format (an explanation can be found here). Concretely, this means that all debates will feature six eight-minute speeches, and two four-minute reply speeches. The language will be English. Speakers can qualify as Native, ESL (English as a Second Language), or EFL (English as a Foreign Language). There will be eight preliminary rounds, with a break to octofinals. Each debate, both teams (proposition and opposition) are judged on style, content, and strategy by three adjudicators. Each of these adjudicators then decides for him/herself who won. The team that gets the majority of votes wins the debate. A team can thus have won or lost, and have collected 3, 2, 1, or 0 judges per debate. Teams are ranked primarily by their number of wins; secondarily by their number of judges; lastly by their total amount of speaker points.
There are two prepared motions:
-This House Would prohibit the sale of goods produced under conditions which harm the workers or put them at avoidable risk
-This House Believes That the European Union didn’t deserve the Nobel Peace Prize
Both motions will be debated twice (once from proposition and once from opposition), meaning that four out of eight preliminary rounds will be inpromptu. The draw is not power-ranked, so it is already available here.
Further information can be found on the organisation’s website.
SevenTwenty will maintain a live blog and will post daily impressions as well.