Two students from UAA represented the Seawolf Debate program at the 2013 World Universities Debating Championships hosted by the Technische Universität Berlin from Dec. 27, 2012 to Jan. 4, 2013. The competition, organized by the Berlin Debating Union, was the most diverse world championships ever organized, with over 1200 delegates representing 280 institutions from over 80 nations in attendance.
The team of Kelsey Waldorf (Senior, Justice) and Brittany Bennett (Junior, Natural Sciences and Environment & Society) were selected to represent UAA in the competition. In nine preliminary rounds over the course of three days, the duo debated issues as diverse as whether European Union nations should forgive Greece’s sovereign debt to whether countries with booming populations should allocate every adult a single tradable permit to have a child. The Seawolf team turned in a credible performance that placed them in the top third of the teams competing but did not qualify them to advance to the elimination phase of the tournament.
Beyond the students’ competition, the Seawolf Debate program’s influence on international debating was evident in a variety of ways. Recent UAA graduate Brett Frazer was a sponsored independent adjudicator at the event, selected through a competitive process based on his historic success at the world championships. James Kilcup, Seawolf Debate alum, served on the competition’s Chief Adjudication team responsible for training and overseeing quality control of judging in the competition. Finally, Seawolf Debate program director Steve Johnson was elected President of the World Universities Debating Council, the body made up of representatives from each nation attending the world championships that sets policy for the competition.
The Seawolves now turn their attention to promoting debate at home. In the spring semester, the program will host the Cabin Fever Debates intramural debating competition, the Alaska State High School debating championships and the Anchorage Middle School debating championships. For information on these and other events, please visit uaa.alaska.edu/seawolfdebate.