University of Haifa duo wins a world’s debate championship
GABORONE, Botswana (Press Release)– The University of Haifa’s debating team, Meir Yarom and Michael Shapiro, are World Debating Champions for 2011 . The team took first place in the English-as-a-second language category at the World Universities Debating Championship (WUDC) currently being held in Botswana, where more than 300 teams from 150 universities representing about 50 countries have been competing. In the final round, the Haifa duo triumphed over contestants from the Netherlands, Slovenia and Malaysia.
The WUDC, the world’s largest and most prestigious of debating competitions, comprises three categories: Mother-tongue English, for university debating teams from Great Britain, the United States, Ireland and Australia; English-as-a-second language (ESL), in which most European countries and Israel compete; and English-as-a-foreign language (EFL).
The path to winning this championship took Shapiro, who is studying philosophy and general history, and Yarom, a law student, through nine preliminary rounds, where they contested and defeated native English-speaking teams too, and finally into the final rounds – the quarter-finals, semi-finals and the Grand Final. The final motion that the University of Haifa team debated was: “This house believes that the courts should break up consistently dominant political parties”. Motions that they contended with in earlier rounds included matters of privacy on the Internet; prohibiting teacher union strikes; rights to possess nuclear weapons; and more.
The University of Haifa’s triumph at this year’s WUDC topped off last year’s already impressive achievement, when the team made it to the finals. Over the past decade the team, trained by Uri Zakai at the University of Haifa Debating Society (UHDS), has been consistently successful at the various championships held in Israel and abroad, with impressive achievements at the European Debating Championship. The team has made it to nine international finals and twenty international elimination rounds. It has won the Israeli National Championship five times, and gained numerous wins at various smaller competitions. Even though the students in the University of Haifa team change over time, it consistently makes it to the top – evidence of the serious and intense efforts that the University of Haifa Debating Society invests in it.
Preceding provided by University of Haifa
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