After qualifying for the quarterfinal round at the World Universities Debating Championships 2021, Sarim Karim ’22 and Sreyan Kanungo ’23 became the eighth place English as a Second Language team in the world.
World Universities Debating Championships (WUDC) is considered the most prestigious debate tournament in the world. The 2021 competition included the best debaters from more than 50 countries. One of the highest honors at the competition is to earn enough points during nine preliminary rounds to break into the knockout stages. In the ESL division, Karim and Kanungo earned their spot in the quarterfinals and ranked eighth in the world.
WUDC has many ranking categories based on the language background of speakers. Native English speakers compete in the Open, people who speak English as a second language compete in the ESL category, and people who speak English as a foreign language compete in the EFL.
This year, debate topics ranged from complex international relations issues regarding South Korea’s economic cooperation with the North to Russia’s expansion in the arctic region. In the quarterfinal round, Karim and Kanungo debated whether parents should teach children to have a logical approach to life, even at the expense of reducing their emotional bandwidth (e.g. trying to react in less emotional ways, prioritizing logic over emotions when approaching problem-solving, etc.)
The competition, originally scheduled to take place in South Korea, took place virtually.
In addition to ranking as a team, Karim and Kanungo both earned individual honors. They ranked as the 23rd and 27th best ESL speakers in the world respectively. Kanungo is the first debater from Bangladesh to rank among the top debaters at both the Worlds Schools Debating Championships (the top high school competition) and WUDC.
Julyssa Winters ’24 and Eden LaRonde ’24 also participated in their first WUDC on behalf of HWS and had a strong performance in the preliminary rounds, collecting 12 points. Reed Herter ’22 distinguished themselves as an adjudicator, participating as a judge on behalf of the Colleges.