Shengwu Li introduces the debating community to the Chula WUDC bid.
Hello debaters of Europe!
I’m writing to you in my capacity as co-CA of the Chulalongkorn bid to host Worlds in 2014. Thank you for taking the time to read this!
Before discussing the details of the bids, I think we should all breathe a collective sigh of relief at our good fortune. In January this year, it looked like WUDC 2014 might be left in the lurch; Worlds has grown ever larger and more demanding to host, and no viable bids were submitted to Council at the usual time. Now, the global debating community has the enviable dilemma of having to choose between two genuinely excellent bids for Worlds. (The debaters involved with the Chennai bid are also lovely, and I’m lucky enough to count many of them as my friends.)
However, part of the fun of having debaters as friends is that one can have heated arguments with them. Here are the reasons why I think one should vote for Chulalongkorn to host Worlds in 2014.
First, voting for Chula Worlds means putting Worlds in safe, experienced hands. The Chulalongkorn University Debate Society hosts a large yearly inter-varsity competition, and has hosted several major regional tournaments, including the Asian BP Championships and the All-Asian Debating Championships. There has also been substantial transfer of institutional knowledge from the team that hosted the massively successful Assumption Worlds in 2008, to the current team. Given the unusually truncated preparation time for Worlds 2014, it is preferable to have a team from a single institution, who are used to working together and have experience hosting large international tournaments. One of my co-CAs, Thepparith Senamngern (TJ), convened Worlds in 2008, and, with his knowledge and experience, will ensure an unprecedented level of close cooperation between the CA team and the organisers. Chula Worlds will run like clockwork.
Second, Chula Worlds has a high team cap, and will fly in incredible judges from all around the world. We have the logistical capacity to run a tournament with 400 teams, and will provide at least US$30,000 in travel subsidies for adjudicators. We are confident that we will be able to provide high-quality judging, in all language categories, in a tournament of this size. We will disburse this money in a fair and transparent process; no matter where in the world you are from, we believe that you deserve judges at Chula Worlds that you can trust.
Third, the entirety of Chula Worlds will take place in the heart of Bangkok – one of the world’s most desired travel destinations. Bangkok combines its ancient heritage with the bustle that comes with being one of Southeast Asia’s liveliest megalopolises. Accommodation will be in the 5-star Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel. This is a genuinely international city (one of the top ten most popular tourism destinations in the world) – they know how to show visitors a good time.
Fourth, Chula Worlds is strongly financially viable. Thailand’s tourism bureau has already promised their cooperation, and provided US$30,000 of sponsorship in advance. I don’t wish to be unfair to the Chennai team, but it is only responsible to weigh the following: Chula Worlds’ projected budget deficit currently runs at about 250,000 USD. Chennai Worlds’ projected budget deficit is about 414,500 USD, even after accounting for promised financial underwriting from their university (according to their published budget data, and using exchange rates available at the time of writing). At this stage, it is entirely normal for budgets to be in the red; the deficits represent each team’s estimates of the amount of sponsorship they would need to secure in order to deliver on their promises. (To their credit, Chennai has released a ‘worst-case’ budget that slashes spending by almost 50%; but their publicity materials have, understandably, focused on what they could deliver with the higher spending figure.) We are confident that Chula Worlds will be able to make its sponsorship figure, especially given the strong support from the University authorities and the Thai government. Chennai’s figure for sponsorship is more ambitious. Whether that is desirable is ultimately for you to decide.
Finally, TJ, Amit Golder and I are committed to making sure that the judging and motions at Chula Worlds are immaculate. We intend to appoint up to four DCAs; we will pick people who are smart, capable, and accurately represent the diverse debating paradigms from around the world. (In particular, we’d like to find DCAs who will disagree with us. We think debate is a good thing; even within a CA team!) We believe that CA teams should be friendly and receptive to criticism. In that light, we also plan to bring an unprecedented level of transparency to motion-setting; publishing post-competition reports about the thought processes behind motions, as well as detailed motion fairness statistics. We aim to set motions that are accessible, enjoyable, thought-provoking and fair. We will make sure that debaters in every language category have a great tournament experience.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. Please feel free to ask us questions at http://wudc.freeforums.org. We’d like to earn your vote, and to have an incredible New Year’s Day in Bangkok in 2014.
Co-CA, Chulalongkorn Worlds Bid 2014