One of the most prestigious debate tournaments across the globe, the annual Hobart and William Smith Round Robin will feature 16 teams from 10 countries in a competition that fosters critical thought and cultural exchange from Thursday, April 6 through Saturday, April 8.
“Every Round Robin debate promises that you will be watching excellent speeches, that your personal beliefs may change, and that, by the end of the debate, everyone will leave the room with more nuanced understandings of the world around us,” says Haley Giunta ’18, president of HWS Debate. “It is far from an overstatement to say I am privileged to be surrounded by the best debaters in the world.”
This year’s participants include students from Harvard University, Yale University, Oxford University, IIT Bombay and International Islamic University of Malaysia, with the competition pool also including three of the finalists from the 2017 World Championships, the North American Champions, the Asian Champions and the European Champions.
“One amazing thing about this year’s tournament is who we had to turn down because we had so many amazing applicants,” Director of HWS Debate and Professor of Philosophy Eric Barnes says. “When you are saying no to people who were in the quarter-finals of the World Championships, you know that you’ve got some amazing people coming.”
The 11th Annual Round Robin will feature keynote speaker Bill Shrum, a political consultant who advised numerous Democratic campaigns, including serving as senior adviser to the Kerry-Edwards presidential campaign in 2004 and the Gore 2000 presidential campaign. He was also a senior adviser to the campaign of Prime Minister Ehud Barak of Israel and to the British Labour Party in the 2001 parliamentary campaign. Shrum is a columnist, with work appearing in The New York Times, New York magazine, Slate and The Los Angeles Times. A former debating champion, Shrum will discuss the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the early days of the Donald Trump administration.
The Round Robin is annually hosted and organized by HWS Debate, a club with more than 30 active members and an illustrious track record in local competitions and those overseas. The club most recently advanced to the quarterfinals at Cornell University’s “Trifecta Tournament of Love” and won both the Brad Smith Invitational at the University of Rochester and Cornell Inter-Varsity tournaments last year.
“The Round Robin is a great opportunity for everyone on the team to witness the highest caliber debaters in the world,” says Grace Marshall ’19, vice president of HWS Debate. “It’s a nice motivation for all of us to see where our potential could take us.”
As the event host, members of the HWS Debate team can not compete.