Archives for december 2016

Dutch Worlds: To break or not to break?

The in-rounds of Dutch Worlds are over and the Dutch delegation is anxiously awaiting the results. The teams that were still ‘live’ to break in either the Open-category or the ESL-category are: Leiden A, Leiden B, Leiden C and Maastricht A. Unfortunately, the other teams are no longer able to break. Tonight at 00:00 the results will be announced. For some the start of excessive drinking, for others the start of excitement about the out-rounds to come, for Roel probably both.

The last two days were filled with debating, organising and debating politics. Volunteers were, as always, busy with handing out food and drinks, delivering ballots and doing countless other things to ensure a smooth running of the tournament. Some missed the morning alarm, which allowed them to catch a night with more than 7 hours of sleep. The second day was, like day 1, run without any delays. As the tensions increased and judge allocations became more important than ever, the tab-team unfortunately could not prevent some delays. All in all, it is safe to say the Dutch Worlds in-rounds were almost always on times. The orgcom and the tab-team made running 92 rooms simultaneously easy.

Although some teams regrettably were not able to perform to the fullest of their capabilities (Bona and Utrecht), other teams have performed amazingly. All Leiden teams, but especially A, B and C, probably still have a shot at breaking open. Floris and Lisa (Leiden C) were in the 2nd best room of the tournament yesterday. Being up against teams from Auckland, Monash, Oxford they unfortunately took a 4th. However, Floris was very happy when he came out of the room. It was the second best debate he had ever been in. His goal this WUDC, to debate against the best debaters in the world, had been reached already in the fourth round. Later that day, Roel and Devin (Leiden B) competed against universities such as Harvard. This WUDC proves the Leiden teams are part of the top teams that can currently be found in the debating community.

Not only Leiden has been performing incredibly well, Maastricht A has been one of the pleasant surprises this tournament. Entering the third day on 10 points, they needed 5 points on the last day to have a chance to break in the ESL-category. Katherina and Anna were always very modest and conservative in their predictions after every round, but outperformed many of their opponents again and again. It would be great for the Dutch delegation to welcome another breaking team next to the teams from Leiden.
In addition, Marike has been chairing quite some rooms and winged top-rooms the last two days. In the first article published this WUDC, Marike was introduced as one of the most promising judges in the Dutch circuit. Her ranking in the last six rounds has proved this has not gone unnoticed by the CA team at Dutch Worlds. She judged teams such as Sydney, Cambridge, Zagreb, Belgrade and Stanford. All teams have a serious chance at breaking ESL or open. Either leading the discussion with skill or contributing in top-panels in high rooms, Marike is the hope of Amsterdam’s success this WUDC.

Let’s hope tonight will bring great news for the Dutch delegations, with numerous speaking and judging breaks. Stay tuned for more!

Dutch Worlds Has Started: Day 1

After an exciting, but tiring, first day, I bring you the first update on the Dutch delegation at Worlds. Starting with a quick recap of what happened today: we woke up at 6:30, ate breakfast and took a shower in Debater Town Kijkduin. We travelled with buses to the Haagse Hoge School, where all the debates would take place. After some briefings and fun announcements led by Senna and Tomas, it was finally debating time.

The motions today were:
Round 1: This House believes that post-genocidal regimes should destroy all places of extermination (for example, death camps)
Round 2: This House would allow members of the armed forces to form labour unions
Round 3: This House believes that sports leagues should significantly tax and redistribute from wealthier teams to poorer teams
The Dutch delegation ranks as follows:

Leiden C finished at 8 points.
Leiden B on 7.
Leiden A on 5.
Maastricht A on 5.
Maastricht B on 4.
Leiden D on 3.
Utrecht A on 3.
Bonaparte A on 3.
Wageningen A on 3.

But of course, I have not only debated the motions, I also conducted various interviews. I’m glad to tell you the interviews have gained some status in the Dutch delegation today, which allowed me to interview of the most promising teams at this competition: Leiden D. After round 2, these two Leiden youngsters were in a euphoric mood as they just won their first debate at a World Championships. Even though Tom and Louis are only student-debaters for a couple of months, they have extensive experience as debaters from when they were high-schoolers. Unfortunately, they took a 4th in the first round, but they were able to beat the other teams in their second room quite easily. They thought the motions were pretty decent and enjoyed the tournament so far. Asked about their goals, Leiden D told me they would not worry too much about the break and see where their journey would end. However, something tells me we should watch Leiden D closely the coming few days, as they showed the capacity to win rooms at WUDC and have a serious chance at breaking ESL.

Another team I interviewed today was Maastricht B. Alwin Bakker was dissatisfied with their third place in the first round, but this was not because of the call. He thought they had a winning case, but did not explain that well enough to the judges. I can confirm not explaining winning cases is an obstacle often faced when trying to win rooms. However, Alwin remained optimistic and down to earth about the coming rounds. At night, he is planning on playing videogames which allow him to be a dictator and ‘commit genocide if it is in his interest’. The enthusiasm he showed when telling me this might explain why he was not able to sway to judges in his first round of his winning case! In all seriousness, Maastricht B is a team that is often too modest about their debating skills and should be considered another Dutch force to be reckoned with.

Not only the debaters stressed out and performed to the best of their capabilities, today was another day for the volunteers in which they proved their importance for the tournament. I talked to Thomas, a volunteer that debates in Utrecht since August. His job today mainly consisted of delivering paper where necessary and obtaining the results from rooms. In his opinion an ‘easy, but important and rewarding task.’ Thomas is definitely having fun, mostly due to the people he gets to know from all around the world. ‘The volunteering is going well and I meet many different people. I talked to people from Harvard, Tel Aviv and Oxford, amongst others. Students from those universities are not ones I often encounter in Utrecht and make this experience extra enjoyable. The diversity in cultures and backgrounds people have here allows for some unique memories and fun times!’ Thomas, like most volunteers, sleeps little. Five hours last night to be precise. Nonetheless, Thomas is hanging in there and says ‘staying awake is a lot easier than I thought. Because you are constantly busy, there is no time for getting tired. Once you sit down though, tiredness can suddenly hit you in the face.’ The organization was too busy today to sit down for one of the interviews, but again huge thanks to all their efforts!
All in all, today brought some mixed feelings. Some teams are not quite satisfied with their performance quite yet (Utrecht A included) but the in-rounds are far from over. Everything is still possible and it now key for teams to start tomorrow with a fresh and positive mindset. The Dutch teams doing well obviously hope to continue their successful streak. For now, it is time to party for some and to sleep for others.

Jelte out

PS: Dutch Worlds has reached the national news! NOS visited the tournament. Link: http://nos.nl/op3/artikel/2150653-geef-drie-redenen-waarom-een-concentratiekamp-moet-worden-afgebroken.html

Getting Ready For The Big Day: The first report of the Dutch Delegation attending Dutch Worlds

Dutch Worlds has started and the delegation from the Netherlands has made an excessive effort in travelling from all provinces and small towns to attend. Normally Daan takes care of these updates, but the next couple of days I, Jelte, will keep everyone interested up to date. For the non-debaters amongst you (hi mom), a quick recap of what a WUDC is.
There will be 9 in-rounds in which everyone will participate. Debaters can break to the out-rounds in three different categories: English as Primary Language (EPL), English as Second Language (ESL) and English as Foreign Language (EFL). The out-rounds are the finals that will determine who will be champion in their language category. All Dutch debaters qualify as ESL and will therefore be eligible to break in two categories: the Open-category, containing all teams participating, and in the ESL-category, containing all ESL and EFL teams. Your performance as a team in the first 9 rounds will determine whether you can debate in the out-rounds. The break will be announced at the start of the new year, around 00:00.

Starting tomorrow, we will thus have three days with three in-rounds each. The Dutch delegation obviously does not only consist of the debaters (who have been introduced by Daan in this article: http://www.debatbond.nl/2016/12/26/voorbeschouwing-het-wk-debatteren-in-nederland/), as there are judges, volunteers and organising members as well. In these reports, I’ll give updates about what the Dutch delegation have achieved, how they feel and what their goals are in the rest of the tournament.

My interviews have unfortunately not reached a notorious status (yet), but I found someone willing to take part in it. I was lucky Jos – a former member of the organization and now here to help as a volunteer – made time for my questions. Jos describes his task as: ‘answering all the stupid questions you actually do not want to answer when participants cannot go to anyone of the organization. In all seriousness, we are helping debaters and judges with all relevant questions at the Helpdesk. It is a very satisfying job, as you get to help lots of people.’ Jos is exemplary for the overall volunteer-crew at Dutch Worlds. It is often underestimated what volunteers have to deal with if debaters are frustrated, tired and hungry. Volunteers such as Jos are here to help out. ‘If I have already encountered a bad experience? There was one debater who was unreasonably angry at us because his credit card didn’t work. He expected us to solve everything, but contrary to common belief, volunteers cannot magically solve ALL your problems. But he was the only one, so overall the debaters have been genuinely nice to us. It makes me feel valued and I think it is one of the best aspects of the debating community: the genuine interest in everyone.’ After being awake for 21 hours, Jos managed to sleep for seven hours, which he thought was probably his biggest accomplishment so far at Dutch Worlds. Keep rocking Jos (and all the other volunteers)!

While the volunteers are incredibly busy, the debaters and judges are now waiting for the battle to start tomorrow. They are chilling in their houses, attending meetings and doing other random things. I interviewed Utrecht A to get a better understanding of all the emotions and thoughts they are experiencing right now. The informed reader might have already noticed I am myself part of Utrecht A, we could not find any other team at the moment. Utrecht A said they prepared in the following ways: (Pieter) ‘We debated at Leiden a couple of times.’ (Jelte): ‘Pieter means we got slaughtered a couple of times at Leiden. But what doesn’t kill you make you stronger right? (Pieter – continuing while ignoring Jelte who is interviewing himself) ‘In addition, I have read the Economist. Jelte probably mostly thought about what he could do in order to prep, without actually doing a thing because he is lazy.’
On their goals for the tournament: Utrecht A hopes to break in the ESL category but is rather pessimistic of the likelihood of that actually happening. (Pieter) ‘We just want to have fun. If we do well, we can always become nervous and then choke, just like we did at EUDC (The European Championships red.).’ Pieter is a bit nervous. In a healthy way he claims. He does feel the pressure to perform after the disastrous ending of the EUDC last summer. When I asked the question if Utrecht A wanted to say something to their parents, Pieter respectfully declined and Jelte said: ‘I want to use this moment to congratulate my father who turned 50 today. Unfortunately, I could not be there, but I’m sure he had a great day!’

In the next few days, I’ll interview more Dutch teams and see what their view is on their performances etc. In addition to the debaters, there are also quite some Dutch adjudicators who will be participating in the debates the coming few days. I arranged a conversation with one of the upcoming Dutch debaters/judges: Marike Breed from Bonaparte Amsterdam. Marike is planning on making Dutch Worlds ‘incredibly fun. I am planning to judge some good rooms and go hard at the socials.’ She is not really focused on breaking as a judge, but might try to approach Michael Dunn (one of the CA’s red.) in order to persuade him in some unconventional ways. It has to be noted Tom Pouw, her boyfriend, is starting to throw some uncomfortable looks in Marike’s way at this point in the conversations. Marike continues without paying attention to Tom and names quite some other well-known debaters. When asked if she prefers chairing the bin, or winging the top-room, Marike chose a position as wing without hesitation, but stressed she meant ‘no disrespect to lower-ranking teams.’

All in all, the Dutch delegation is incredibly excited for the tournament. The orgcom was very busy today, but did an incredible job so far in making the tournament run very smoothly. I hope to be able to bring you good results every day, stay tuned for more!

Jelte Schievels

Voorbeschouwing: Het WK debatteren in Nederland!

Op dezLogo v2e fijne en warme Tweede Kerstdag is het meerendeel van Nederland aan het uitslapen na een uitgebreid Kerstdiner of rent het koopjes achterna in de IKEA. Een kleine groep Nederlanders is zich echter aan het voorbereiden op een historisch evenement: het grootste debatevenement ooit gehouden in Nederland, het Wereldkampioenschap Debatteren voor Studenten in Den Haag, Dutch WUDC 2017.

SevenTwenty blikt vooruit: wat kun je verwachten van het toernooi, wie doet ermee en hoe houden wij jullie op de hoogte?

De opzet

Het Wereldkampioenschap Debatteren bestaat uit 400 teams van 2 personen die gejureerd worden door nog eens bijna 400 juryleden. Het is daarmee het grootste jaarlijks terugkerende studentenevenement ter wereld, en een van de grootste congressen voor jongeren ter wereld. Het toernooi word officieel geopend door locoburgemeester Ingrid van Engelshoven op 28 december. Vervolgens strijden alle teams in drie voorrondedagen voor een plek in de prestigieuze eindrondes in drie taalcategorieëen: English as Proficient Language (EPL or “Open”), English as Second Language (“ESL”) en English as Foreign Language (EFL). Nederlandse teams dingen meestal mee om de ESL-titel, maar vorig jaar stoomde een Nederlands team voor het eerst ook door tot de EPL-kwartfinales.

Op 1 januari komen de deelnemers bij van het Nieuwjaarsfeest en de spanning van de voorrondedagen door deel te nemen aan culturele excursies door Nederland of door zich te wagen aan de traditionele nieuwjaarsduik. Er word een speciale WK Nieuwjaarsduik georganiseerd, waarbij alle opbrengsten naar de stichting Het Vergeten Kind gaan, die zich hard maakt voor kinderen die in Nederland in armoede op moeten groeien.

Wie verdedigen Nederlands’ eer?

Nederlands eer is met verve verdedigd door het organisatiecomité die het WK brengt en geleid word door hoofd organisatie Bionda Merckens. Maar niet alleen maar organisatietechnisch zet Nederland haar beste beentje voor. Ze word ook vertegenwoordigd door de grootste delegatie sinds het WK 2013 in Berlijn:

Sprekers: Tom Pouw en Zeno Glastra van Loon (Amsterdam Bonaparte A), Emma Lucas en Gigi Gil (Leiden A), Devin van den Berg en Roel Becker (Leiden B), Floris Holstege en Lisa Schallenberg (Leiden C), Louis Honee en Tom Geukemijer (Leiden D), Anna Vasylyeva en Katharina Jansen (Maastricht A), Alwin Bakker en Frederic Augustin (Maastricht B), Jelte Schievels en Pieter van der Veere (Utrecht A), Nathania Engelhardt en Aljosa Slamersak (Wageningen A).

Juryleden: Marike Breed (Amsterdam Bonaparte), Vesela Krastanova (Maastricht A), Karin Merckens (hoofdjurylid, Leiden), Daan Welling (Leiden/Radboud), Arielle Dundas (Utrecht), Nour Khachnaoui (Utrecht).

Dit is een delegatie die prijzen binnen zou kunnen slepen. De Leidendelegatie is wat gewijzigd ten opzichte van het zeer succesvolle EK waar alle vier teams de eindrondes haalden, maar herbergt sprekers die het afgelopen jaar toernooien gewonnen hebben. Als eerste Nederlandse team haalde Devin van den Berg en Roel Becker de Open Halve Finale van de Oxford Intervarsity. Floris Holstege en Lisa Schallenberg wonnen zowel de Cambridge Intervarsity (ESL) en de Vice-President’s Cup in Dublin. Emma Lucas en Gigi Gil bonden op hun beurt de Riga Open aan hun zegekar. Louis Honee en Tom Geukemijer zijn eerstejaars studenten met een brede ervaring uit het scholierencircuit: het WK word hun eerste test.

Naast de Leidse delegatie timmeren de andere Nederlanders goed aan de weg. De Maastrichtse teams regen breaks aan elkaar op toernooien als de Roosevelt Open in Middelburg en Tilbury House IV in Köln. De Amsterdamse “Bonapartianen” haalde de finale van UCU Open in Utrecht, Jelte en Pieter blijven zeer in de buurt komen van finalerondes op de grootste Europese toernooien en Nathania van Wageningen gaat met een nieuwe partner op weg om, naast een finaleplaats op de Spaanstalige Wereldkampioenschappen, ook op de Engelstalige Wereldkampioenschappen de finale te halen.

Omdat het hét WK is, is de competitie niet mals. Tegenstrevers zoals regerend Europees Kampioen Tel Aviv uit Israël en regerend Australaziatisch Kampioen IIUM uit Maleisië zullen vast en zeker stevige oppositie bieden. Naast deze teams zullen grootmachten zoals Oxford, Sydney en Harvard ook acte de presence geven.

Hoe houd SevenTwenty jullie op de hoogte?

Jelte Schievels houdt voor ons een dagboek bij, en geeft ons alle ins en outs van het WK. Daarnaast zal de organisatie alle deelnemers – en daarmee ook alle thuisblijvers – informeren over elke gebeurtenis via hun Facebook, hun Twitter en hun Instagram. Watch this space!