For the sixth year, the HWS Debate Team has again partnered with the International Debate Education Association (IDEA) to present the Round Robin Invitational at Hobart and William Smith. The event annually brings together an elite and internationally diverse group of debaters and adjudicators for a weekend of debate at the highest level. Previous winners include teams from Oxford, Harvard, Yale and Loyola Marymount University.
“This tournament has quickly become a very prestigious event on the collegiate debating circuit, attracting many of the best teams from across the country and around the globe,” says Assistant Professor of Philosophy Eric Barnes, coach and adviser to the HWS debate team.
This year’s HWS/IDEA Round Robin Debate Tournament will be held from Thursday, April 5 – Saturday, April 7 with the final debate held at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday in the Vandervort Room of the Scandling Campus Center. The Colleges have received a grant from the Open Society Institute in excess of $10,000 to support the event.
HWS became innovators in 2007 when they hosted the first-ever round robin tournament in British Parliamentary style. This style consists of four teams of two speakers debating at once. Each participant arrives with his or her own unique field of expertise as well as knowledge of current events and issues affecting global economies, the environment and political relations, and must formulate a cohesive argument around such an issue with only 15 minutes to prepare on the assigned topic before debating about it. There are five rounds of highly competitive debate.
A total of 16 teams will be invited from various schools around the world (as the tournament host, the HWS debate team is not allowed to compete). The 2011 tournament included teams representing the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, The Netherlands, Singapore, South Africa and Australia. Half the teams attending had earned automatic bids by winning major tournaments, and there were 18 applications for the remaining eight spots. Additionally, the adjudicators have all been recognized at the world championships as among the best in the world. The chief adjudicator for the 2012 tournament is Doug Cochran, who will also serve in that role at the World University Debate Championship 2013.
“It is unlikely that any collegiate tournament will surpass the prestige of the World University Debate Championship tournament, but the HWS/IDEA Round Robin seems to be on a fast path to being seen as one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world – much as high school debaters in the United States see the Tournament of Champions and various round robins,” says Barnes.