Last month, HWS Debate had its debut experience with online debating as Club President Reed Herter ’22 and Reed’s debate partner, who prefers to remain anonymous, competed in the Asian Queer Open (AQO) and Christopher Costello ’22 served as a judge. The rigorous competition required the pair to train and compete late into the night as the competition was hosted in Beijing. Representing countries from across the world, AQO is the premier tournament of its kind and features an online space for members of the LGBTQ community to debate and dialogue despite the current pandemic.
After five hard-fought rounds spanning topics about religion, politics and the world’s response to Covid-19, the HWS team advanced into the quarterfinals where they handily prevailed and continued on to the next level of the elimination rounds. After an excellent debate, Herter and company earned their place in the top 8 teams at the tournament and ended with a semi-finalist title.
In addition to team placements, individual speakers were ranked over the five initial preliminary rounds of competition. Herter was ranked as the 13th overall best speaker, placing them in the top 15% of speakers at the tournament. This accomplishment is the third time overall Herter has distinguished themself at a debating competition this year, competing as a both semifinalist in the Masters Competition at the 2020 World Championship and a quarterfinalist at the Eastern Regional Championships previously.
In addition to promoting cross-cultural discussions, AQO raised more than $700 that the tournament champions were able to split between two charities of their choice, namely Humsafar Trust, an organization serving the spectrum of LGBTQ Rights in India for more than 25 years, and the T-Project, Singapore’s first and only social service provider for the transgender community.
In the photo above, Reed Herter ’22 and Assistant Debate Coach Marlene Pierce pose at the 2020 Worlds University Debating Championship held in Bangkok, Thailand.