From December 26 to January 3, three teams of debaters from the Hart House Debating Club (HHDC) travelled to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to compete in the World University Debating Championships (WUDC).
Two debaters from U of T placed in the top 10 speakers, with Joe McGrade named ninth best speaker and Veenu Goswami named third best speaker.
This year, the WUDC hosted 410 teams from around the world, with a maximum of three teams and two judges allowed per institution.
Hosted by the The Debate Society of the Universiti Technologiki Mar, the WUDC is a parliamentary debating event held using the British Parliamentary Debate format.
Next year, the event will be held at the University of Macedonia in Thessaloniki, Greece. The HHDC attends the championship each year.
According to Kaleem Hawa, HHDC treasurer, team spots are awarded based on competitive success.
Goswami and McGrade’s results in Malaysia follow a year of debating success for the team, whose recent accomplishments include winning the Oxford Invitational Tournament and tying for best speaker at the Cambridge Invitational Tournament.
Goswami, a law student, was also ranked the top speaker at the Oxford tournament, and is a previous national champion in Canada.
He has been a member of the Hart House Debate Club for five years, and began debating in Calgary.
“I think the most important skill is being a good listener. The way to become a good debater is by being responsive. It’s less about being aggressive and more about to adjusting to other people,” Goswami says when asked about the most important skill for success in debating.
At the WUDC, Goswami and McGrade debated topics including whether or not medical professionals should refuse to treat victims of torture, as well as the merits of tightly integrated families.
According to Goswami, the pair excels on motions relating to politics and economics.
“Debating at U of T has been an incredible experience which has helped me in so many ways. It has helped me to meet people at U of T who share my interest, and has given me many skills that are useful both in class discussions and in life,” Goswami said.
Goswami said that this year’s championships marks the third time that he has been in the tournament.
Although the WUDC has a limit of four attendances per person, Goswami would not confirm whether or not he will attend the championship again.