The HWS Debate Team recently competed in the 2020 Worlds University Debating Championship (WUDC) held in Bangkok, Thailand. Considered the most prestigious debate tournament in the world, the competition included the best debaters from more than 50 countries.
During the course of a week, Bart Lahiff ’20, Jacob Wallman ’20, Reed Herter ’21 and Sarim Karim ’21 competed in nine rounds of debate against more than 350 teams from 200 universities. Lahiff and Karim had a strong showing and narrowly missed advancing, while other members of the Colleges distinguished themselves in preliminary competition and adjudication.
In advance of the championship, WUDC holds two preliminary competitions. The first, Public Speaking, gauges a speaker’s ability to think on their feet, engage an audience and evoke emotion among viewers. After giving two speeches, Wallman was selected to compete in the elimination rounds as the second highest ranked advancing speaker. He readily advanced from semifinals to the finals, placing among the top six speakers in his division. His finals speech contemplated social justice advocacy in American court systems.
Additionally, Herter and Assistant Debate Coach Marlene Pierce competed in the Master’s Competition. This division includes graduated debaters and coaches with demonstrated debate success and requires teams to apply in order to land a spot. Herter was the youngest participant selected and the only undergraduate student to advance to the elimination rounds in that category. The pair ended as semifinalists after facing off against competitors from Britain, China, Israel, Malaysia and Singapore.
In addition, Pierce was selected as one of the adjudicators qualified to judge elimination rounds, ranking her as a top tier judge at the World Championships.
Up next, the team heads to Cornell University where they will compete in three different tournaments simultaneously: the US National Novice Championships, Spanish Language National Championships and Cornell IV Varsity Tournament.