UWI team tops international debate competitionSaturday, November 14, 2020
BY BRITTNY HUTCHINSON
A two member team from The University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus — second year law student Kymari Young, and second year economics and mathematics student Sebastian Lawrence —has walked away with the top prize in the recently completed novice final of the Huber Debate Invitationals.
The annual tournament, which was hosted virtually by the United States-based University of Vermont in honour of its debate coach for 45 years, Robert “Doc” Huber, featured competition in the British Parliamentary debate format with five preliminary rounds, an open break to semi-final elimination rounds and a novice breakout which lasted from November 6-8.
Young, who has been a part of The UWI Debating and Public Speaking Society (DPSS) for more than a year, always had high hopes of his arguments being recognised on an international stage.
“This debate marked my first experience of the concept of the equity violation and equity concerns [which] permeated the tournament. Getting familiar with the language and possible uses of equity was interesting and an invaluable experience for me.
“The tournament was also the biggest and most international debate I have taken part in and I was pleased to recognise that my patterns of argumentation were in line with my international peers from a quality perspective,” Young told the Jamaica Observer.
According to Young, the British parliamentary style of debate required trust in order to keep the lines of argument coherent across speeches.
“I learned that we have completely different approaches and understandings of certain ideas and it was often the case that an argument that I might have lent, when filtered through his style, came out completely differently than I had imagined,” said Young.
In the meantime, his teammate Lawrence, who started learning British Parliamentary debating this year, said he is still in disbelief at the victory.
“Especially seeing that we were one of the last two teams to break into the novice out rounds,” said Lawrence.
“However, once again, when the pressure kicked [in] our performances improved. In the semi-finals and finals, we beat teams who were ranked higher than us in the preliminary rounds. What surprised me the most was that we achieved this feat debating in closing half, which arguably was not our strong suit.
“This victory is a testament to our growth as debaters and a signal to me as a rookie debater that if I continue putting in the work, I can achieve greatness,” added Lawrence.
The UWI DPPS was also represented by team Captain Ronaldo Blake, Jonathan Atkins, Peter-John Thompson, Andre Barrett, Kuan-Kera Wheatle, and Tamoy Campbell.
“I'm deeply satisfied by the performance of the teams. Making such a final is definitely a huge accomplishment, and winning it shows that both debaters have grown a lot since they started. Kymari and Sebastian have seen such success because of their eagerness to learn, practice and compete, and because of their own interpersonal cohesion.
“Team UWI's performance is also a testament to the strength of our programme which was recently renewed to focus on substantive argumentation, and then on strategy,” said Blake.
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login