Hobart and William Smith have been named as the host of the North American Universities Debate Championship (NAUDC), a major collegiate debate competition now heading into its second year. The NAUDC, which will welcome teams from across the United States and Canada, is scheduled to take place at the Colleges in October 2014. As a widely-acclaimed event, the tournament is expected to draw about 300 people to campus.
“This is a significant opportunity for Hobart and William Smith and it is our hope that holding this tournament on campus is not only a great way to show what we can do at the Colleges, but also is a chance for many more people from across North America to see what we have to offer,” says Associate Professor of Philosophy Eric Barnes, the coach of the HWS Debate Team. “It tells of the faith that the debating community in North America has in our ability to host this type of program.”
In addition to the Colleges being named as host of the tournament, Gerald “Buzz” Klinger ’12 has been selected as one of the event’s co-chief adjudicators. As an adjudicator, Klinger brings a wealth of experience in collegiate debate and high-level competition to the event. Last year, Klinger along with fellow HWS Debate Team member Will McConnell ’12 were named the 2012 United States Universities Debate Champions.
“This is really an incredible opportunity for the Colleges,” says Klinger, who is currently a graduate student at American University in Washington, D.C. “We’re a well-respected school in the debate community and it will be an exciting championship for us to host on campus, with about 100 teams of two participating in the event.”
Klinger says he’s honored to have been selected as co-chief adjudicator and glad to be a part of such an engaged and loyal debate community.
In light of the NAUDC announcement, Barnes says the Colleges have a strong track record of organizing world-class events in debate, with the HWS Debate Team consistently competing at the highest levels of competition.
“At Hobart and William Smith, we are not strangers to internationally important debate tournaments. We’ve hosted very prestigious competitions here in the past,” Barnes says. “The North American Universities Debate Championship is one of the larger competitions, with attendees coming from all around North America.”
From regional to international events, the Colleges have recently hosted several debate tournaments and continue to cultivate programming centered on competitive debate.
In April 2013, the Colleges hosted the annual Round Robin Invitational, which brought together an elite and internationally diverse group of debaters and adjudicators. Sponsored through a partnership with the International Debate Education Association (IDEA), the highly competitive tournament featured keynote speakers Lawrence H. Summers, the Charles W. Eliot University Professor and President Emeritus at Harvard University, and Chen Guangcheng, Chinese legal activist. The Colleges also are part of a group of American colleges and universities that have embarked on a three-year project to expand the amount of debating in both English and Chinese in China.
“In past years, our debate team has grown in size and has continued to demonstrate success, which has helped to give us the organizational capacity to facilitate this kind of event,” Barnes says. “Other teams around the United States and Canada know that we are a competent and competitive group who can host a well-organized tournament that’s worth attending.”
Barnes says that hosting the NAUDC in 2014 also will help to give more people the opportunity to see firsthand the quality of collegiate debate taking place at HWS. He said the upcoming event is an important opportunity to showcase the HWS Debate Team not only to other students on campus, but also a way to encourage local young people to consider looking into debate.
In recent time, Barnes and the HWS Debate Team began working with local students in Geneva’s elementary and middle schools to provide them with opportunities to hone their skills in public speaking and debate.
“We have created an important tradition at Hobart and William Smith and hosting this championship on campus will bring more international focus on debate at the Colleges,” Barnes says.