Monday, August 13, 2007

College Policy Demo Debate #2 Available Now

From the World Debate Institute at the University of Vermont, comes this lengthy debate.

This policy debate is on the topic:
Resolved: that the United States Federal Government should increase its constructive engagement with the government of one or more of: Afghanistan, Iran, Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority, and Syria, and it should include offering them a security guarantee(s) and/or a substantial increase in foreign assistance.

The debate featured four outstanding debaters, Doowan Chung of Wake Forest, Brian Rubiae of Texas-Dallas, Eric Cole of West Georgia and Liz Lauzon of Richmond. This was the second demonstration debate of the two-week program.

Dr. Kevin Kuswa of Richmond leads a discussion after the debate.

In case you do not know, American policy debate takes place at high speed and utilizes a lot of quoted evidence read into the debate. The audio quality of these files is good enough to hear the voices very well.

There are two parts, get both, right click to download these large files, best viewed through iTunes:

To see our newest video files with the most recent on on top, go to:

College Parliamentary Debate Workshop Concludes

The College Parliamentary Debate Workshop concluded on Friday in a happy expression of celebration as the students and faculty members congratulated each other on how the week had gone. In that week there had been eleven small group instructional timeslots in which several different subjects were being taught that students could choose between. There had also been twelve debates that students had participated in.

Just before the closing assembly director Steve Woods had given students an "open" topic for their last debate (this house believes that the glass is half full) and it produced some very entertaining interchanges with the subject mater of the different debates varying widely. One team had argued that the workshop session had been a success, to which the opposition filed some serious disagreements, all while a team from the WDI marketing staff was observing the debate.

Hat winners above: Matt Garver of Tennessee Tech, Marianne Caballero of Universidad Catholica Andres Bello Venezuela, Anna Rawson of Vermont, Jese Swett of Vermont, and Zach Wilkes of Louisiana

Once again, the hats were the crucial event of the closing assembly. They are given to those students who contribute the most to the academic and intellectual atmosphere of the program, and there was easy agreement on the five winners.

The parliamentary program at WDI keeps growing and if this session is any indication, it will continue to do so in the future. A huge thanks must go to the faculty who designed and implemented the program.

College Policy Debate Workshop Ends

After a mini-tournament the College Policy Debate Workshop came to an end on Friday. Two weeks of hard work by students with many of them stretching themselves to the limit had come to an end.

In the final round on a 6-1 decision Max Adler of the New School in NYC and Ben Dabiri of the University of Oklahoma emerged victorious. The second place team was Callie Dowdy and James Farr of Richmond. There was a lengthy discussion by the judges (students at the workshop) after the debate.

<== WDI 2007 Scholars: Kyle Zarazan, Liz Lauzon, Brian Rubaie, Eric Cole and Doowan Chung

Many thanks were given to the WDI Scholars who had worked so hard and done so much to help every student and every instructor during the two weeks. They were chosen in the spring from among many outstanding debaters who applied for the positions, and the choice had been difficult. But, it had been a good one, as the results showed. Everyone seemed very grateful for all that the scholars had done.

<== Hat winners: Rachel Ford of Appalachian State, Ashley Fortner of Richmond, Callie Dowdy of Richmond and Ben Dabiri of Oklahoma

The main awards are the "hats" that symbolize the decisions by the faculty as to which students had contributed most to the academic and intellectual environment of the program. The choices were difficult, but the winners were announced and everyone seemed excited about the choices.

After a sub-par summer last year, the College Policy Workshop has bounced back under the leadership of the four dedicated senior faculty members who planned and implemented the program. With an impressive showing this summer, the future looks bright.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Great Deeds by IDAS Alumni

The World Debate Institute also sponsors the International Debate Academy held each November in Slovenia. For information about the upcoming fifth year, go to

<== Urska Derganc debating

Four graduates have achieved lofty goals at the recent European Universities Debating Championship.

Uve Poom, a finalist at IDAS 2006, has won the European EFL championship. Uve, from Estonia, is a dedicated debater who has debated at a wide variety of tournaments but has also been an important debate organizer, having been part of the Tallinn Open and now the winning bid for Euros 2008 to be held in Tallinn. Congratulations, Uve!

Branka Marusic of Croatia has been elected President of the EUDC. She was also in the IDAS 2006 final and in the upcoming year will serve as a faculty member. She has been an energetic debate organizer in Croatia as well as in southern and eastern Europe. Congratulations, Branka!

Ljubljana Law A, consisting of Urska Derganc and Jure Planinsek, reached the EFL semifinals at Europeans. Urska was Uve's partner last year at IDAS 2006 when they reached the finals. Jure is also an IDAS graduate. Congratulations to both of you!

Excitement is now starting to build for the 2007 IDAS. Here is a list of faculty, with more coming:
Alfred C. Snider, University of Vermont, USA, Director, World Debate Institute
Loke Wing Fatt, SAID, Singapore, WUDC breaking judge
Jens Fischer, Berlin Debating Union, Germany, Europeans CA
Neill Harvey-Smith, UK, Former WUDC Finalist
Branka Josimov, ACCD, Serbia
Branka MaruĊĦic, EUDC President, HDD, Croatia
Rhydian Morgan, UK, CA Euros Warm-Up
Sam Nelson, Cornell University, USA
Steve Llano, St. Johns University, USA
Bojana Skrt, Za in proti, zavod za kulturo dialoga, Slovenia

Friday, August 10, 2007

College Policy Debate Workshop Produces Huge Evidence Set

"Wow," was the expression Dr. Kevin Kuswa of the University of Richmond used when seeing the intense stack of research that had been produced by the college policy debaters. "It is huge, it is high quality, everything is typed and easy to read, and the arguments are extremely creative. What more could you want?"

If you know policy debate in America (one broad topic all year long), then you know that research and evidence are extremely important.

The evidence set is perhaps better than any set ever produced by the college program at WDI. If you want to have a look at the indexes for all of the files, do so at:

Unlike other workshops, you cannot simply buy the WDI evidence set. You get one (on a CD, all high quality pdf files) if you are enrolled in the program. The CD also contains videos of the topic lectures and a policy debate textbook.

Congratulations to the hard working students, scholars and faculty who made this possible.

World Schools Final Round Now Online

<== Teams in the Finals

The final round of the World Schools Workshop is now online.

The motion was:
This House would ban elective cosmetic surgery.

The judges were James Probert of the English Speaking Union in London, Peejay Garcia the national World Schools coach for Korea, and Alfred Snider th director of WDI.

The decision was 2-1 for the opposition.

Right click to download the large file, best viewed in iTunes:

To see the latest in the video library with the most rcent video first, go to:

Thursday, August 9, 2007

College Policy Tournament Is Underway

College Parliamentary Faculty Poses for a Photo

The WDI College Parliamentary Workshop senior faculty took some time out of their busy schedule to pose for a photo on the fourth floor of Waterman Hall where the program is located. Pardon the look on their faces, because we find them here at the end of a very long day.

Left to right, Steve Woods of Western Washington University, Bojana Skrt of Z.I.P. Slovenia, Sam Nelson of Cornell University, Steve Llano of St. Johns University, and Ann Canavan of Northern Illinois University.

WDI College Policy Topic Lectures Now Online

From the World Debate Institute National College Policy Debate Workshop held at the University of Vermont, you can see the lectures even though you were not in attendance.

We have six college policy topic lectures that we are sharing. There were others, but we have picked these six.

The topic is - Resolved: that the United States Federal Government should increase its constructive engagement with the government of one or more of: Afghanistan, Iran, Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority, and Syria, and it should include offering them a security guarantee(s) and/or a substantial increase in foreign assistance.

Right click to download, click to watch right away, bigger files best viewed through iTunes. We suggest that you download (right click) them and then watch. Bigger files look fine in full screen.

Smaller files: (less than 100 MB)

Larger files: (full podcast format, can be large)

Too see our full library of debate related new videos with most recent on top, go to:

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

College Policy Evidence Set

We are coming up on the end of wave 2 of research for the National College Policy Debate Workshop here at WDI. This year has been perhaps the best ever in terms of the quality and depth of the research that the students have produced.

<== Main copier in the Men's Dressing Room (note make up mirrors)

There were some late hours spent last evening as people completed their assignments, and now they are coming in to be printed. We have a two-day tournament starting tomorrow. Our most awesome main copier has now made it through the entire copying load without ONE paper jam (knock on wood). This is also a new WDI record. The print room is in the men's dressing room at the Royall Tyler Theatre, so there are lots of mirrors and such in the room.

Lots of printing today, new argument briefing this afternoon, and then distribution of the evidence sets.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

College Parliamentary Workshop In Full Swing

The National College Parliamentary Debate Workshop is in full swing here at the University of Vermont. This one-week event has attracted students from many different backgrounds and experience levels.

<== Prep before practice debate

Steve Woods of Western Washington University is the director of the program. He has been a coach for twenty years and has national championships and national top speakers to his credit. Last year his squad was fifth in the NPDA national sweepstakes race. Joining Steve are an impressive group of senior faculty members. Sam Nelson of Cornell is here to carry forward his commitment to all formats of debate. Sam has national championships to his credit, but also specializes in building national stature debate programs, as he did at the University of Rochester before deciding to dedicate himself to rebuilding the Cornell program, where he had been an assistant coach years ago. He also teaches internationally and runs a debate outreach program that serves youth in prison. Steve Llano of St. Johns University is also back at WDI after an absence of two years while he worked on his doctoral degree at the University of Pittsburgh. Steve has a storied coaching history, and coached at Rochester during their run to the national sweepstakes championship. He plans on directing a parliamentary program at his new position at St. Johns. Ann Canavan, previously of Tennessee Tech and now at Northern Illinois, is also back. Ann has been at WDI previously. She has been travelling a lot internationally and in the last year has presented two papers at international conferences in Europe. Finally, Bojana Skrt, fresh off of her directing of the World Schools Debate Workshop for high school students (from five countries) and the Deliberation Across the Curriculum Workshop held for teachers. Bojana, of course, has considerable parliamentary debate experience, having twice won the WSDC EFL world title and has directed the International Debate Academy in Europe for the last four years, teaching students from over 25 countries.

<== More prep

The days at the workshop are somewhat similar. Each involves a debate and a series of lectures (students get to choose which to attend of those offered), lunch, then more of these "elective" lectures followed by another critiqued debate. Each evening their is a voluntary "open forum" held to answer any questions or issues while always having a content component, such as Steve Llano's "Samurai Debate" presentation as well as Bojana Skrt's "Tournament Basics."

Friday, August 3, 2007

World Schools Debate Workshop Ends

<== WDI World Schools Champs

The two-week World Schools Debating Workshop for high school students ended on Thursday, August 2, 2007. After six preliminary rounds of debate two teams with the best record (both 4-2) met in the final round.

The final round was held on the motion, This House would ban elective cosmetic surgery. A spirited debate was judged by James Probert, Peejay Garcia and Alfred Snider. On a 2-1 decision the opposition, composed of
Varun Tyagi, Dong Whan Lee and Hyunji Lee won a victory over the opposition of Anja Juvancic, Tim Pushnik Jausovec and Eunsung Yang.

<== WDI World Schools Top 6 Speakers

The top six speakers were:
1. Varun Tyagi, USA
2. Helen White, Canada
3. Anthony McGuire, USA
4. Ji Won Choi, Korea
5. Won Ho Choi, Korea
6. Anja Juvancic, Slovenia

It was interesting that many of the teams in the tournament had almost as many points as the top teams, indicating a very even aggregation of talent among the teams.

T-shirts and certificates were handed out.

All pronounced the workshop a success in its first year, and vowed to work to make a second year bigger and better.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Evening Policy Debate Demo Debate

There was a demonstration debate at WDI this evening, with Brian Rubaie of Texas Dallas and Doowan Chung of Wake Forest on the affirmative and Kyle Zarazan of Kansas State and Liz Lauzon of Richmond on the negative. The topic is the current national college policy debate topic:
Resolved: that the United States Federal Government should increase its
constructive engagement with the government of one or more of: Afghanistan, Iran, Lebanon, the Palestinian Authority, and Syria, and it should include offering them a security guarantee(s) and/or a substantial increase in foreign assistance.

There was a nice crowd to flow the debate and cheer them on.

We will process the video and make it available as a podcast later. We will make the announcement here.

,++ Flowing

World Schools Workshop Tournament Has Begun

The World Schools workshop students, who come from five different countries, have entered the final phase of their program -- the tournament. There will be a six round tournament and then the top two teams will stage a final top determine the WDI World Schools Champion.

Students come from the USA, Korea, Canada, Malaysia and Slovenia, some of the best debating nations in the world. After working with an all-star international faculty, it is now down to business.

They will debate three topic that they have prepared four as well as three topics that are given to them one hour before the debate. The rush has been on in the pursuit of information and good arguments for the last few days, and with the final scheduled for tomorrow now is the key time.

Two students are pictured here. Helen who debates for Canada and Tim who debates for Slovenia. We will post the results and hope to have a video of the final to show you.

College Policy Debate Workshop In Full Swing

As July ended the air was full of debating at the World Debate Institute. The college policy debaters were having their daily practice debates in the Old Mill complex right next to the Royall Tyler Theatre, the headquarter of the WDI.

There was a wide variety of experience on display. Some of the students here are among the finest debaters in America and are working hard now to prepare for a year that will prove that. On the other hand, there are fairly new debaters here. The good part is that they are very accepting of one another and work together on research assignments. Some of the more experienced debaters have been helping the less experienced by watching their debates and making comments. There is no doubt that learning to judge debates also makes one a better debater. The senior faculty, Kevin, Jackie, Sarah and David have done a great job of bringing divergent groups of students together.

We have also seen the considerable progress of Max Adler from New York City. Max is an extremely intelligent young man but he cannot talk. But, he can debate. He has been working with a pair of American Sign Language translators to "get their signs straight" and is developing new methods of taking notes. We will talk more about Max in the future.