WSDC 2014 – Concerns, Comments, Confusions, Confirmations and Certainties

This is an attempt to provide some explanation as to the various emails, forums, newsletters and updates concerning the status of WSDC in 2014 and the Thailand World School Debating Championship 2014. Given the mass of material that has been produced in this regard, this will necessarily not be comprehensive, nor do I intend to express a particular preference for or against various proposals. Feel free to message me if you have concerns about the content of this post, or wish for aspects to be changed or updated. As always this reflects my take on events as they have happened.

Contents/Index/Table of Contents

  1. Quick Summary/Timeline
  2. Thailand WSDC 2014 – Moving forward
    • a) My estimate of tournament attendance
    • b) Results of WSDC Executive survey of Team Managers
    • c) Table of stated intentions

1. Quick Summary/Timeline

20 May 2014 – Martial law is declared in Thailand.
22 May 2014The coup happens: Royal Thai Armed Forces take over executive and legislative functions in Thailand.
22-27 May 2014 – Concerns are raised about the viability of Thailand WSDC 2014 with regards primarily to security, and subsequently also potential limits on what motions may be debated.
27 May 2014 – WSDC Executive begin survey of Team Managers.
4 June 2014 – TJ, Thailand WSDC 2014 convenor, releases newsletter to explain moving tournament further from Central Bangkok and address concerns on security and censorship.
5 June 2014 – WSDC Board announce opening of online forum to discuss motion to decertify and withdraw title of ‘WSDC’ from Thailand tournament.

PROPOSED MOTION: The name of “World Schools Debating Championships (WSDC)” shall be withdrawn from the high school debate competition being held in Thailand between 5 August 2014 and 15 August 2014.

6 June 2014 – TJ emails out “a letter from the [Assumption] University President, which he called up the Ministry of Education receiving a verbal guarantee that the tournament won’t be affected [by any censorship requirements].”
6-10 June 2014 – Online forum on motion to withdraw title held at
9 June 2014 – Further newsletter released by convenors concerning security situation in Thailand.
11? June 2014 – Suggestion/Proposal made for dual-track WSDC in the forum, with two officially sanctioned tournaments to be held in two locations either with a combined final or otherwise.
12 June 2014 – Motion to decertify Thailand WSDC 2014 fails.

The total number of votes received by the closing time was 42
The total number of votes cast in support of the motion was 16
The total number of votes cast against the motion was 26
Therefore the motion is defeated and WSDC Thailand retains the WSDC name.

12 June 2014Prepared motions released.
13 June 2014 – Canada clarify that their bid was intended to be a contingency in the even Thailand’s WSDC status was withdrawn.

“the result of the vote to keep Thailand the official host of WSDC 2014 does mean that the Canadian bid has been withdrawn.”

Dual-track WSDC a dead proposal unless a new willing host appears or is sought.

2. Thailand WSDC 2014 – Moving forward

Much of the administrative stuff can be found if relevant for anyone in the various netpal emails that have been sent out, and I imagine team managers ar getting emailed about that sort of thing specifically. I’m more interested in the question of how many and which teams might or might not attend Thailand WSDC 2014 as it goes ahead.

a) My take

Based on both the below information and extrapolating, it seems that somewhere between 45-60% of teams will attend, 30-35% will not attend, and another 10-20% are unsure. Based on the number 53, which was the number of countries entitled to vote in the forum:

Status Range Estimate/Average
Attending 23-32 27
Not attending 15-19 17
Undecided 6-11 9

This suggests that Thailand WSDC 2014 will have anywhere between 24-36 teams. For comparison the size of WSDC in past years: 28 (2002 Singapore), 25 (2003 Peru), 29 (2004 Germany), 31 (2005 Canada), 36 (2006 Wales), 34 (2007 South Korea), 39 (2008 USA), 39 (2009 Greece), 57 (2010 Qatar), 48 (2011 Scotland), 48 (2012 South Africa) and 50 (2013 Turkey).

b) WSDC Executive survey of Team Managers

Caveat: This survey is old, originally started on 27 May, doesn’t reflect any recent change in travel advisories and is of course not binding.

As such, I can confirm that, as of 3rd June 2014 when the data was compiled, 9 out of the 45 nations which responded said that they had purchased or formally reserved their flights, 16 nations said they would not go to Thailand under the status quo, 20 countries said they would go and 9 were undecided. It is also worth noting that many nations expressly stated their nation’s foreign office advice as a critical factor in their decision to attend or not to attend.
Posted 9 June 2014 by Beth James, Chair of the Tournament Executive Committee

c) Indications on the Forum/Emails

Caveat: This is an even less systematic amalgamation of indications both in the forum (primarily under the forum titled ‘nations currently inclined to attend’) as well as in emails. Of course none of this is binding, much of it is probably old and dependent on factors that may have changed. As weary as I am of putting a specific status to a country, much of the interest in how many teams attend has been echoed by questions of who specifically might be attending. I’m happy to change this if requested, and hopefully have reflected individual caveats as necessary.

Country Status
Argentina Attending
Australia Attending
Barbados Attending
China Attending
India Attending
Indonesia Attending
South Korea Attending
Lithuania Attending
Malaysia Attending
Mexico Attending
New Zealand Attending
Nigeria Attending
Philippines Attending
Slovenia Attending
South Africa Attending
Swaziland Attending
Thailand Attending
Romania Probably attending
Bangladesh Probably attending (Indicated intent to vote for motion)
Kuwait Probably attending (Indicated intent to vote for motion)
Canada Not attending
Hong Kong Not attending
Japan Not attending
Qatar Not attending
Scotland Not attending
United States of America Not attending
Wales Not attending
Czech Republic Probably not attending
England Probably not attending
United Arab Emirates Probably not attending
Chile Undecided
Greece Undecided
Pakistan Undecided
Peru Undecided
Bermuda No indication
Brunei No indication
Chinese Taipei No indication
Croatia No indication
Denmark No indication
Estonia No indication
Germany No indication
Ireland No indication
Israel No indication
Macau No indication
Morocco No indication
Namibia No indication
Netherlands No indication
Singapore No indication
Slovakia No indication
Sri Lanka No indication
Sweden No indication
Turkey No indication
Venezuela No indication


  1. I wish to inform you that Nigeria will be attending WSDC 2014 in Thailand.
    Thank you.
    Ade Ayeni
    Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN

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