Dutch Worlds Is Over: The Results

Dutch Worlds 2017 is officially over. Part of the Dutch delegation has made its way home again, while the organisation and some volunteers are still working hard. Time for one final look at Dutch Worlds for the Dutchies.

The teams that eventually broke were Leiden B and Leiden C in the ESL-category, and Leiden A in the Open-category. Leiden B and C topped the ESL tab, while Leiden A was the first ever Leiden team to make it to the Open break. Unfortunately, Maastricht A did not make the break in the end, just as all other Dutch teams who were already ‘dead’. Break night was a lot of fun, being the best attended social of Dutch Worlds. Although Leiden C missed the Open break by the narrowest margin possible (1 speak) and Leiden B by a mere 4 speaks, feelings of euphoria and pride dominated the Dutch delegation. Of course Leiden B and C were disappointed at first with just missing the Open break, however, once the beer started flowing these feelings were postponed to the next morning. The Dutch delegation celebrated New Year fanatical and controlled the dance floor.

The next morning, Leiden A had to perform in the Partial-double Octos (PDO). The motion read ‘This House believes that countries close to conflict zones should only grant long-term asylum to refugees who agree to one year of military service’ and Gigi and Emma were Closing Government. After a thrilling debate, the judges decided it was a first-half debate, thus Leiden A was eliminated. Still, the delegation was extraordinary proud of the best performing Dutch team this year.

Following the PDO were the ESL quarterfinals. On the motion ‘This House Believes That the US should provide significant campaign funding for federal and state congressman and senators who score highly on bipartisan matters’ Leiden B was CG, Leiden C was OG. Both teams managed to convince the judges they deserved to join the last 8 ESL teams left standing and advanced to the ESL-semis. On the Motion ‘This House, as the Pope, would abolish the requirement for clerical celibacy’, both Leiden teams drew CO. Leiden C was able to advance to the ESL finals. Leiden B was less fortunate. Having watched the debate, the call seemed impossible to make. Roel and Devin both delivered speeches that rank amongst the best I have ever seen. An extension that explained the Pope’s incentives like no other team in the debate had done, required in an actor-motion, combined with outstanding rebuttal seemed to guarantee them a well-deserved place in the ESL-final. When the results were announced at the social that night, the complete Dutch delegation was in disbelief. Bona and UDS expressed their anger, while Leiden was experiencing contradictory emotions. Everybody was happy Leiden C, on a 4-3 split, made it to the ESL-finals but at the same time grieved over the injustice that had been done to Leiden B.

Life went on, and Tuesday was the day Floris and Lisa could be crowned world champions. In the Zuiderstrandtheather just outside of Den Haag, three finals would be held. Starting with the EFL-final, followed by the ESL-final and lastly the Open-final. The EFL-final was messy and some Dutchies questioned the ‘EFL-ness’ of various speakers. Most viewers thought the win would go to CO, Belgrade C. After the EFL-final, it was time for the ESL-final. The tension was rising as the Dutch delegation took place in the audience and wished Leiden C all the best one last time. Floris and Lisa drew Closing Government, Floris’ favourite position. Tel Aviv B, Leiden’s biggest opponent got appointed CO. The motion read ‘THW force all news organisations to operate as a non-profit’.

The debate started out weird, when OG chose a model which included state subsidies, not only to set-up these news organisations, but also to keep them free. OO seemed to win the clash in opening half, but brought some uncomparative analysis. When first half was over, it was Floris’ time to shine. Over 7 minutes of sharp analysis followed about the influence of corporations and how that hurt the current news organisation, and in addition how this model would provide more diversity. Tel Aviv pointed out some tension between CG and OG. Furthermore, they talked about why nationalisation of news organisations is harmful and problematized the individuals that would set-up the new news organisations. Lisa clarified the tension between OG and CG in her speech and delivered a strong speech in which she tackled quite some of the points of rebuttal that had been made by Tel Aviv. Unfortunately, it proved insufficient. Tel Aviv was crowned world champion as they won the debate with a 4-3 split over OO.

Other results were as follows. In the Open-final, Sydney A managed to win as OG, the EFL-final was won by Belgrade C in CO. Floris became 5th best ESL-speaker, Roel and Devin shared a 9th place, Lisa became 11th. The Dutch teams ended up ranking as follows:

Leiden A – 18 points
Leiden B – 17 points
Leiden C – 17 points
Maastricht A – 13 points
Leiden D – 13 points
Utrecht A – 12 points
Wageningen A – 12 points
Maastricht B – 9 points
Bonaparte A – 9 points

The other Dutch speakers ranked on the ESL-list as follows:
Emma – 22nd
Gigi – 32nd
Katharina – 66th
Anna – 76th
Jelte – 94th
Pieter – 116th
Louis – 122nd
Alwin – 145th
Tom P – 159th
Tom G – 167th
Nathania – 167th
Zeno – 191st
Aljosa – 204th
Frederic – 224th

Concluding, Dutch WUDC was a huge success. The teams did well, with some even reaching to the finals. Some Dutch judges got to chair rounds and were even represented in the CA-team. The volunteers worked their butts off for 7 days straight and the orgcom for even longer. I want to thank everybody for contribution to what made Dutch Worlds one of the best world championships ever organised.

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

Vienna EUDC 2015: Last three days

By Mussé Redi

Thursday
After the break announcement of yesterday, breakfast was extended today up to half past eleven; offering a possibility to party until the end. Most people took that as an opportunity to sleep until long after the sun came up. Afterwards, we had a few free hours.

Different people had different schedules today. Some went on to see the quarter-finals; others took a dive in the river, the weather acting friendly (thirty degrees Celsius); even others were sightseeing the city, witnessing the beautiful palace, with a sloped garden of a few hundred meters; yet others were taking a UN city tour.

In the quarter-finals, Leiden A (OO) fought against Tel Aviv (OG), Warsaw (CG) and Riga (CO) on the motion This House would legalize surrogacy for profit in Western Liberal Democracies. Leiden B (CO) debated against LMU Munich (OG), Tartu A (OO) and BGU A (CG).

The Open quarters were held later in the afternoon on the motion This House would prohibit businesses from taking a public position on social justice issues.

Before we knew it the evening was in its late hours, and the OrgComm was announcing the teams that made it to the semis.

Leiden A made it to the semi-finals.

Pizza was served as dinner. Red bull and other beverages were served as drinks.

In the city center a social was being held; and another one at the hotel afterwards, people standing and talking within a radius of a fifty meters of the hotel lobby. Leiden A went on to sleep early.

Friday
In the semi-finals Leiden A (CO) was up to Tartu (OO), Tel Aviv C (OG) and Munich (CG) on the motion This House would allow EU citizens to donate to political parties in any EU member state.

The building got evacuated during the Deputy-Leader-of-Opposition speech, due to a fire-alarm. There we were, standing outside, baffled by this unconventional situation. In a few minutes, the CA (Michael Shapira) announced that a reserve motion was going to be announced in the building where the briefings are held.

Half an hour later, the motion was announced: This House would introduce a mandatory term of at least one year of non-military national service for eighteen-year-olds.

Afterwards, we were directed to return to the hotel and dress up in formal attire for the final. Upon arriving at the aesthetic venue, the majority were dressed in black-tie; others whore a tie; the women dressed in an infinite variety. A guest lecture was held about the importance of debating. All sorts of important people also joined and a small army of cameras arrived.

Leiden A (CG), was announced to have made it to the finals, with Tel Aviv C (OG), Tel Aviv B (OO) and Stockholm A (CO). The motion was announced, directly after the announcement of the teams: This House believes that parents of a musical child genius have the obligation to push that child to maximize their musical potential.

The Open final motion read: This House would treat the deaths of soldiers as regrettable loss of human life, rather then something heroic.

Following the finals, a dinner-incorporated social was held inside a huge castle-like building in the middle of Vienna: a courtesy of the mayor of Vienna. Acknowledgements were made and awards were given. Roel Becker and Ybo Buruma were respectively second and third best ESL speaker of Vienna EUDC 2015 (English as a Second Language). Tel Aviv B (OO) eventually won the ESL final over Leiden A (CG) on a 4/3 split.

The after-social was held in yet another sparkling, less-formal, part of the city. We were transferred by bus, which had an excellent AC; an appreciable quality in Vienna, with the average temperature being above thirty degrees Celsius.

Saturday
After a last breakfast, we checked out of our rooms before 11.00 am in the morning and were headed back for the Netherlands. New friends were made, old friends were spoken to, exciting debates were held; as a whole, Vienna EUDC 2015 is something worth remembering. Our compliments to the people who made it possible!

Vienna EUDC 2015: Day 4 (Break day)

By Mussé Redi and Sarah Rust

Wednesday
The last three preliminary rounds are closed, which means that the results are not announced right after the debate. This lead to people conjecturing on their scores and judges trying to hold a poker face whilst passing a judged team in the corridor.

The motions today were:
R7. THBT the West should stop all attempts to gather information or intelligence by deception and/or coercion of foreign citizens
R8. THBT it is legitimate for individuals to punish people they deem to have committed online harassment by revealing their identity online
R9. THW introduce a 100% inheritance tax

As the last rounds finished, people were guided to the “Space-shaped building” to commence dining. We where welcomed with pork-beef-and-cheese hamburgers.

The sun was still fryingly hot, at about 30 degrees and people were heading back to yet another mesmerizing social, in a park-like bar. There we had a Dutch caucus to discuss the agenda for the Euros council, where policy is developed for upcoming EUROS.

This night’s social was held at the Pratersauna, a club with indoor and outdoor dancing areas and an outdoor pool.

At the party the CA team announced that the break result was delayed by an hour so some of the nervous teams had their patience tested. Eventutally, the CA-team grabbed the microphone and directed those present to gather around. In these next few minutes tensions reached a climax.

The break announcement started with judges, followed by the ESL-break (English as Second Language) and the Open break. Every breaking teams and judge received a tremendous applause.

The break was as follows:
OPEN
1. ULU A (23)
2. St Andrews A (22)
3. Oxford A (22)
4. GUU A (21)
5. Strathclyde (21)
6. Linkopings A (20)
7. Tel Aviv A (20)
8. Cambridge A (19)
9. UCD LawSoc A (19)
10. Warwick A (19)
11. TCD Phil B (19)
12. Oxford C (19)
13. Birminham A (19)
14. UCD L&H A (19)
15. Belgrade A (18)
16. TCD Phil A (18)

ESL
1. Tel Aviv A (20)
2. Leiden A (18)
3. BGU A (18)
4. Hebrew A (17)
5. Stockholm A (17)
6. Leiden B (17) VI
7. Tel Aviv C (17)
8. BBU A (16)
9. PEP A (16)
10. Warsaw A (16)
11. LMU Munich A (15)
12. Tel Aviv B (15)
13. Belgrade C (15)
14. Tartu A (15)
15. SSE Riga A (15)
16. Technion B (15)

Dutch breaking judges are: Annabelle van Beusekom, Karin Merckens, Bionda Merckens, Daan Welling, Leela Koenig, Simone van Elk.

Vienna EUDC 2015: First three days

By Mussé Redi and Sarah Rust

This Sunday the European University Debating Championships (EUDC) began in Vienna, Austria. Around 700 students from all over Europe partake in this competition every year. A Dutch delegation of selected teams from different institutions arrived on Sunday. This year’s delegation consists of:
EDS A, Jelle van Eijk & Yrla van de Ven;
EDS B, Luuk Nugteren & Maxim le Clerq;
Kalliope, Jeroen Claassens & Joost Kooiman
Leiden A, Roel Becker & Ybo Buruma;
Leiden B, Lennart van Laake & Emma Lucas;
Leiden C, Monique Bouffé & Martijn Otten;
Maastricht A, Evelyn Svingen & Lorenza De Dominico;
Maastricht B, Srdjan Miletic & Anna Vasylyeva;
Roosevelt A, Sarah Rust & Jordy van Rijsingen;
Roosevelt B, Max Negele & Misha Stocker;
UDS A, Bram de Rijk & Chris Duijst;
UDS B, Charlie Panhuyzen & Elmar Schmidt;
UDS C, Andrei Voineagu & Julija Stukalina.

And judging are: Judges: Annabelle van Beusekom, Anne Valkering, Alex ten Brink, Bionda Merckens, Daan Welling, Davy Fung, Karin Merckens, Leela Koenig , Marlinda van der Hoff, Mussé Redi, Oskar Pablo Avery and Simone van Elk.
Sunday was arrivals day. The teams arrived in Vienna, registered, checked in and checked the hotel out and were invited for a welcome drink. There was not an evening program but many participants reconnected with their international friends and spent some time sightseeing in Vienna.

MONDAY
In the early morning, the first actual debating rounds occurred. Tension rose as the teams looked at the draw to see what their opponents were. The first round is randomly assigned, so therefore it was a pleasant surprised to discover that two Dutch teams (from Leiden and Roosevelt) met in the very first round. The motion for this round read: This House would pay all elected politicians the median wage in their country. The main discussion among the judges was about the difference between means, averages and medians. Statistics remains a difficult subject, even among university students.
Since the beginning of the day the weather was unrealistically nice, and it stayed that way until the night. Later in the afternoon, after the second round, there was a Red Bull break for which some participants were very happy.
In the evening a “social, without alternative” was announced, to be held in the Prater, a theme park along the corner of our venue. A lot of familiar faces appeared, debaters met at competitions abroad. Upon getting back to the venue, another welcoming social was sparkling. A successful first day.
As a whole, the competition is over the top. Food is great. Organisation is very efficient. Crew is friendly. Socials are welcoming. The judges are world-class. The week looks bright.

TUESDAY
Registration was early. Even earlier than Monday, even though there were no briefings this time. It was hard for many, impossible for some and therefore the competitions started with some delay.
Yesterday most teams did really well, today was a bit more stressful for some, as gaining points proved to be more challenging. The topics debated on ranged from International Relations to, Media coverage and medicine. Tonight’s social will take place in a very typical Austrian bar where we’ll also have dinner. Tensions are rising for tomorrow, the last day of in-rounds.
As it remains a competition, below you can find the scores. In every room there are four teams that will be ranked from first place to fourth place. For each team that a team beats they get a point. The winner of a room therefore gets 3 points and the fourth place does not get points. Each round is power ranked which means that teams who did equally well face each other.
Scores of after the first three rounds (points, per round, that are known for now):
EDS A (1 0 2 1 2 2) 8;
EDS B (1 0 2 0 3 2)8;
Kalliope (3 3 0 1 3 0)10;
Leiden A (3 3 1 2 1 0)10;
Leiden B (2 1 3 3 0 1)7;
Leiden C (2 0 3 0 2 1)8;
Maastricht A (1 0 3 3 2 2)11;
Maastricht B (3 0 2 3 2 1)11;
Roosevelt A (1 3 0 2 0 3)9;
Roosevelt B (2 0 0 1 3 1)7;
UDS A (3 3 0 0 3 1)10;
UDS B (0 3 2 1 2 1)9;
UDS C (3 1 0 2 0 3)9.

The Motions until round 6 were:
R1: This House would pay all elected politicians the median wage in their country.
R2: This House believes that when multinational corporations conduct any business in Western states, these nations should enforce their environmental standards at all stages of production;
R3: This House believes that Western states should not use private military contractors in combat.
R4. THW ban any treatment, service or ritual from claiming a physical healing effect until it is tested and proven more effective than a placebo by a national regulators
R5. THBT the EU should lift its arms embargo on China
R6: This House would only allow the media and campaigning organisations to depict or publish information about the deceased in a tragedy with the explicit permission of the family

Why the national high school championships should be held in the British Parliamentary format.

By Floris Holstege
 
As someone who has just one tournament left as a high school student the period after my final exams allows for some reflection on the schools circuit. Those reflections led to me writing this article in which I will argue that the national high school championships should be held in the British Parliamentary (BP) format for a very specific reason: that it will increase the number of high school students who continue debating at a university level. Although I hold the opinion that BP is superior to the current format in many different ways I will focus solely on this specific merit. As someone who has had incredible amounts of fun debating in both the high school circuit and the university circuit I am genuinely interested in how we can extend this joy to more people. I do not expect the format to change, but I personally believe that the discussion about which format should be used and how we can increase the number of students continuing their debating career at university is a fruitful one. The current format is similar to the format used at the World Schools Debating Championships. For a more elaborate explanation of the format, see the following link: http://www.schooldebatteren.nl/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/Handleiding-Debatteren-voor-bovenbouw-havo-vwo-2014-2015.pdf.

There is a difference between the format used at a high school level (WSDC) and at a university level(BP). Given that most societies main goal (and in a majority of cases only) is performing well at nationals the majority of them solely train in the format used at nationals. Apart from a small group of schools that are extremely involved with debating, most of them have little to no exposure to British Parliamentary debating. This means that there is a group of people who obviously like to debate but have had no exposure to BP when they enter university. Obviously there are different reasons to quit debating at university level. My contention is simply that this group being completely new to the format is for some individuals the reason to quit or not be as active as before. We are not talking about a small group here (and even if we were, encouraging a small group to continue debating is already a great thing): the number of students participating at the national high school championships and the effort societies put into this activity is massively increasing each and every year. The ones from the schools circuit that continue to debate at a university level are now almost solely the ones who have had exposure to BP debating or to WSDC coaching (I recognize that this is also the most fanatic group and thus the one already most likely to continue. I think their continuation of debating largely has to do with their familiarity in BP, given that lots of students who are really fanatic at schools level don’t continue at university). This is a very small group compared to the massive group of students who participate at nationals. Giving this massive group exposure to BP debating will increase the number of students that continue debating for a couple of reasons:

 
1. Having to start off in an entirely new format can make the bar to continue debating much higher. These students are used to an entirely different format. That means that they will have to get rid of old habits and learn new ones when starting debating at their university. They obviously enjoyed debating in the past but now they have to start all over again. Compare this to when they can easily continue the format they already know and are skilled in to a certain extent at university. Since this is a format they are familiar with it also gives them a form of security: they know this format and they know they will enjoy it. Compare this to the insecurity of a new format that they don’t know and will have to put time and effort in without knowing if they will like it. A lot of students are unwilling to take that risk. Obviously some are willing to take this risk, but not everyone.

2. There is now a small group of students who regularly attend BP competitions on the university circuit. The amount of people attending these competitions is likely to increase when we change the format of nationals to BP since
A) They can now use these tournaments specifically to train for the main goal of their society. This gives them an extra reason to attend these tournaments
B) It is very scary to decide to go to a tournament of which you have no experience in the format and your school doesn’t offer any training in. When schools start training in BP for nationals their students are more likely to come to these competitions since it is less scary to go to a tournament of which you already know the format.

Personally I believe that a student having positive experiences at these types of tournaments makes it very likely that they will continue debating for a number of reasons. First of all since when they have fun at these tournaments they want to attend more of them since the first one they attended was fun. In order to do maximize the experience of these tournaments joining a debating society seems far more reasonable. Compare this to when they have no positive experiences at these tournaments since they don’t attend them and thus don’t see a direct reason to join a debating society.
Second of all when they make friends or meet nice people at those tournaments they build up a network. When you know that you like the people from our debating community you are far more likely to join a debating society. One of the key reasons why I will continue debating at a university level is because I really enjoyed hanging around with people from different debating societies including the one I will be attending next year. Compare this to when people know nobody when they start at their respective debating society.

As outlined before the group of people willing to continue debating at university level almost solely exists of people who have had exposure to BP debating before. This is obviously not true for all. But it is a shame that this is the only group willing to continue their debating career at a university level. If this group that didn’t have exposure before would be included our entire community can massively benefit. It is for that reason that we should consider changing the format of the national high school debating championships. It is reasonable to aim for more people getting more joy out of debating by continuing this activity after high school.

The main concern with this change of format I have encountered is that lots of people believe that schools will no longer continue to participate for three reasons:
1. “BP is too difficult for most schools”. I have a couple of responses to this:

1. The role of the third speaker in the current format is also extremely confusing for most schools. There are a lot of different ways to fill in this role, which could potentially make it very difficult. Arguably, a whip speech in BP has a much clearer role than the third speech in the current format. If schools can already fill in the current role then why should they have problems with BP?

2. I am just going to contest that BP debating is way more difficult. Especially when the debate doesn’t have a really high level (which, let us be realistic, is the case with most debates at the national championship), the opening half is approximately the same as in the current format and the extension can be explained as “bringing new arguments”. The only extra difficulty I really see is that BP is more tactical. This extra difficulty only really comes into place at high-level debates, and students who are in those already have the experience to grasp this.

3. If BP really is too difficult, why then do we see lots of students participating in school debating where BP is already the norm, mainly the entire United Kingdom? Dutch students are not less competent than them and thus can handle the difficulty of the format (It might be the case that even more students would have participated in the UK if the format would not have been BP. This is merely an example of where BP can function succesfully as a dominant format for the school circuit).

2.”Changing the format again requires a lot of extra effort for schools which they are unwilling to put into it” – again a couple of responses:

1. The format has changed many times before and time and time again schools where willing to put extra effort into this activity. Speaker times and roles have changed many times but the number of schools participating has only been growing.

2. Schools will recognize that the extra effort of learning their students to debate in BP is all worth it when considering that their students can enhance the reputation of their school by participating and possibly winning the national championships. Even if schools are unwilling to put in effort, students themselves have shown to be extremely motivated to do well at the national championships and thus will be participating again, regardless of the format.

3. Almost every school receives formal training from Cogency once they sign up for participation. I have faith in their trainers to communicate this format to schools in a way that will make sure that they won’t have to put in lots and lots of effort into understanding and practicing it since professionals who are experienced in the format help them.

3. “Schools want to let as many students as possible participate and thus will prefer other tournaments over the national championships”

1.In a BP format you could allow schools to send up to two teams which would make sure just as many students as in the current format can participate.
Schools are already keen on sending multiple teams to BP tournaments such as Oxford schools and Leiden schools

2. As much as schools and students dislike not having one single coherent team of four people, the pride they get out of participating and doing well at the national championships outweighs this. That means they will still be participating.

Lastly, I don’t see a problem with letting prepared motions exist in the new BP format. Some might think that using prepared motions in BP disadvantages the second half. From my experiences at the Intergymnasiaal tournament this went fine and was not disadvantageous for the closing half. At its last edition the prepared final was even won from closing opposition. I would have run a fairness test on its tabs if they were available online. If anyone has experiences or thoughts about BP being unbalanced with prepared motions than I would be interested in hearing those. Motion difficulty would also remain the same with BP as the new format.

If there are other concerns with BP as a format for the national high school championships then I would really like to hear those. Let us however try to keep this discussion focused on which format allows for the best transition between the school circuit and the university circuit, and not turn it into a unspecific discussion. It might also be the case that BP puts lots of students off from participating at university. I haven’t identified why, but if that is the case please comment bellow. There are people in our community with far knowledge on this topic than I and I look forward to hearing from them.

The adventures of team the Netherlands day 2 –

After a very successful day yesterday we finally were able to get some rest. The president of Slovenia visited for the opening this great tournament, and although his entire speech had to be translated, it was really impressive. All the teams won their first two debates, except team Netherlands blue who were unfortunate to face the USA in the first round, in what has been told was a very high standard and close debate. They redeemed themselves immediately in the next round, and look forward to take this team on again later. This team is power ranked, which makes it all the more enjoyable.

The adventures of team the Netherlands in Slovenia – day 1 – long days and longer flights

By Floris Holstege

The first day of our trip to Slovenia consist of travelling and case building along our journey. After a long journey, your reporter finally has some time to look up from his case file and write down this report. Where are we actually going to? The International World Schools debate tournament in Slovenia, Ljutomer to be more precise. There will be 52 teams from teams all over the world, such as team USA or Denmark, and they will come together to debate in the World Schools format with speeches of 8 minutes. As a final chapter to the pre-selection and a part of the preparation for the World Schools Debating Championships this summer in Singapore, the Netherlands will be represented at this tournament with three teams. In no particular order, those teams are:

Team Netherlands A: Max Kosian, Urmi Pahladsingh, and Simon Martina-Perez
Team Netherlands Alfa: Victor Schippers, Jeroen Wijnen, and Floris Holstege
Team Netherlands 1: David Metz, Jeanice Koorndijk, and Sam Melief

Our flight to Belgrade was without any inconvenience, but our flight from from Belgrade to Zagreb, followed by a long bus trip, had some bumps on the road. In particular when our plane to Zagreb turned out to be 1) the smallest aircraft any of us had ever seen 2) unable to have more than one passenger walking up the stairs to the cabin. Thinking we were stranded in an episode of air crash investigation, our team stood up to the challenge without hesitation and full of bravery. This blog will keep you further updated with all the results of all the teams and the many adventures they will experience.