WSDC 2011 – Coverage

This is part of the WSDC 2011 series as I recount and report on the World School Debating Championship 2011 in Dundee, Scotland as a debater, blogger and Wales national team member.

The official webpage for Dundee city, has released the following article covering WSDC 2011 and Team Singapore’s win.

Team Singapore Win World Schools Debating Championship

Lord Provost John Letford, & Irene McGrath, Chairman Convenor of the World Schools Debating Championship Dundee 2011 congratulate Team Singapore, winner of World Schools Debating Championship Dundee 2011

The World Schools Debating Championship reached its nail-biting climax when Singapore met Australia in the Grand Final, which was held in the majestic surroundings of Dundee’s Caird Hall.

The motion the teams were discussing was ‘This house believes that autocracy is doomed in the age of Facebook’ – with Australia proposing the motion and Singapore opposing. After a highly impressive show of world-class debating, with questions and answers volleying between the two teams like a verbal game of tennis, the judges retired to make their decision.

After some time, the winners were announced: Singapore. “This is for every member of Team Singapore since our country joined the World Schools Debating Championship 16 ago,” said Team Singapore Captain, Ren Jie. “This is the first time Singapore has won the World Schools Debating Championship and it’s fantastic to be a member of the winning team!”

Team Singapore was presented with the magnificent trophy at the Closing Ceremony on Friday evening, which was also held in the Caird Hall. As they approached City Square, over 400 team members, coaches, managers, judges and officials, many in national dress, were welcomed to the Closing Ceremony by the stirring sounds of Mains Of Fintry Pipe Band.

“It was truly wonderful to see so many young people from across the globe enjoying the fabulous spectacle of the pipes and drums,” said Cllr John Letford, Lord Provost of Dundee. “The World Schools Debating Championship has been a fantastic success for Dundee – it has given us a unique opportunity to enable young people who are destined to become tomorrow’s world leaders to get to know more about our city, our traditions, our highly-esteemed schools, colleges and universities, our world-leading status in science and technology, and, of course, our people. Over and over again, competitors have mentioned the warm and friendly welcome they’ve received throughout their time with us.

“It’s been estimated that hosting the World Schools Debating Championship will have boosted the local economy by over £1 million – but the boost it’s given to the reputation of Dundee is immeasurable. World Schools Debating Championship Dundee 2011 has demonstrated that Dundee is the ideal location for global events.”

Irene McGrath, Chairman of the Scottish Schools International Debating Council and Convenor of the World Schools Debating Championship Dundee 2011, revealed that the organisers were delighted by how smoothly everything had gone – and how much interest local school pupils had shown in the debates and debating in general. “Having the chance to watch the finest young debaters in the world has been inspiring,” said Irene. “Judging by the enthusiasm I’ve noticed this week for debating, I suspect it won’t be too long before we once again have Dundee school pupils in Team Scotland.”

John Cavanagh, Rector of Baldragon Academy, was very impressed by the standard of the debates which were held in his school and how Baldragon pupils had reacted to the debates. “One of our more challenging pupils was enthralled – and I mean seriously enthralled – with the event,” said John.

After dinner, an excellent speech was made by Professor David Heeley of the University of Abertay, sponsor of the Grand Final, followed by the presentation of the trophy and other tournament prizes.

Joyce Cullen, Chairman of Brodies LLP, headline sponsors of World Schools Debating Championship Dundee 2011, said: “As a firm, we are keen to help nurture the imagination, talent and skills of future generations of all backgrounds from communities across Scotland. Brodies is therefore very proud to have been the headline sponsor of this year’s World Schools Debating Championship in Dundee – an event that continues to promote the development of skills in public speaking and debating not only among young people in Scotland, but also across the world.

“We have been tremendously impressed with the calibre of the teams who have taken part in the competition – not least the Scottish team who did so well in reaching the semi-final and the worthy winners from Singapore – and would like to congratulate all the talented young people who have helped make this prestigious tournament such a success.”

Irene McGrath stressed that the organisers of the World Schools Debating Championship Dundee 2011 were very grateful to all sponsors for their support. “On behalf of everyone involved in the World Schools Debating Championship, I would like to thank our sponsors,” continued Irene, “including Dundee City Council, Angus Council, High School of Dundee, Quarter, Michelin, Dundee Waterfront, Integrated Results, Al-Maktoum, Euro RSGC Riley, University of Abertay, Dundee College, University of Dundee, Baillie Gifford, Oxford Aviation Academy, Scottish International, Apex Hotels and DC Thomson.”

The tournament concluded with a disco in the Marryat Hall and then the teams returned to their accommodation and prepared to return home, with several teams leaving in the very early hours of the morning.

“World Schools Debating Championship Dundee 2011 has been amazing!” exclaimed Latifa, a member of Team Kuwait. “For me, one of the highlights was beating Team USA as they are a really strong team.”

Fellow Team Kuwait member Hiba revealed that, for her, one of the best aspects of the tournament had been the people she’d met in Dundee. “Everyone in Dundee is so friendly,” said Hiba. “In fact, it’s such a fabulous city, I’m considering studying at the University of Dundee.”

For more information about the World Schools Debating Championship, and the latest results, visit