After a week in Manchester EUDC 2013 , I’m back in St Andrews an have spent the majority of today in my bed watching TV in the hope of recovering. Anyone who has ever done a competition like Worlds and Euros can tell you that it is both emotionally and physically draining. Though, I can type some words in an effort to let people know how Euros went for St Andrews. However, I want to be really explicit about the fact that this is written from a personal perspective. I’d encourage other UDS members who want to write about their stories to get in touch with me and I’ll provide them with a username and password, especially our judges Anton and Steph who did a great job at Euros but aren’t on the tab.
First, we should cover the most important and attention worthy part of Euros; St Andrews A ( Ben and Ruairidh ) have once again made us very proud by getting to the quarter finals of Euros and they are also both among the top 20 debaters in Europe. Duncan, who is a life member and a very dear friend of the society who has thought a lot of us how to debate, made it to the semis and was also among the top 20. There were some truly strong teams that didn’t make the break , making these achievement all the more impressive. Did I mention we are very proud ?
St Andrews B ( Jaro and I ) did not preform very well. I’m not gonna put the exact results here because I am a bit embarrassed, the tab is out there somewhere so I’m sure if you want to find us you will have no difficulty finding out. We went in with the ambition to be an excellent ESL B team because I had always found the idea of breaking teams in two categories very exciting. We were very disappointed to be told on day 2 that I’m not ESL so our team can’t be eligible for the ESL break. It would be obvious to most speaker and judges and indeed the language committee that my ability is impaired compared to native speakers when debating but unfortunately they had to follow the rules on this issue which means that I’m technically not ESL because I’ve been in Scotland for too long. Apparently this has sparked some conversation and might mean that in future language committees are given discretionary powers. The point I’m trying to convey is that we might have done slightly better were it not for our disappointment. Despite our overall result and our inability to meet our goal, I would like to say thank you to everyone who has been very supportive of us and has provided much needed hugs and comfort.
The motions and the organization of the competition were incredible. Such a big event requires dedication from so many volunteers. They made sure that the competition ran on time and everything was in order which meant that it was much easier to cope with the stress. I quite liked the fact that the first 9 rounds were motions simple enough at their core that they could be debated by everyone with quite a range of capabilities. As an International Relations student, I particularly enjoyed the R3 motion on Egypt and Muslim Brotherhood and the R8 motion about US politics and torture. They were a couple of motions that I think were weighted to one side or the other but overall it was very enjoyable.
Manchester was the first international competition that I have participated in as a speaker so I’m ok with the fact that it didn’t go particularly well for me and Jaro, we developed a great friendship and had quite a few laughs, only some of which were out of desperation and hysteria. We developed a sense of humour about the fact that couple of times we were unlucky enough to have judges who at best were quite bad at articulating how they had reached their final result and at worst had no idea how to judge and their calls seemed random. We also had one unfortunate round when our chair judge who I completely trust was going to give us a second but we got a fourth because his wings disagreed with him. It is all part of debating.
I had a lot of fun cheering for my friends in their out-rounds and taking notes so I can discuss it with them later. It was a pleasure to see them achieve their goals because I’ve seen them work so hard for it over the past couple of years. It was great that I was able to tell Duncan that he had definitely gone through his quarter because I thought his summary was brilliant or sitting next to a friend during the final and discussing what we though of the arguments. All of these memories are ultimately the memories I will remember in a couple of months or years when I look back at EUDC 2013.
There are couple of issues that are important but I won’t discuss in this post. One of them is Gender/women’s forum that was held on day 2 where an array of issues were discussed regarding how to promote gender equality in participation at Worlds and Euros. The reason I’m will not write about this right now is because I believe it’s an incredibly important issue that deserves it’s own post. I shall write about this after talking to the Board of Ten and discussing possible ideas and solutions. The other issues is regarding the bidding process of EUDC 2014; Zagreb won the right to host Euros next year at this year’s Euros council. Personally , I look up to both Danique and Fred who were the CAs of the Durham bid as my idols both as a speaker and a judge so I’m rather sad that the circuit will now lose their experience and expertise. The process has been controversial and I don’t want our society to get involved so if you are curious about this subject and want to know more you can always ask me in person.
Finally , St. Andrews is having its speaker trials for Chennai WUDC on 22nd of September. I think everyone should participate as we have such a great talent among our freshers.I look forward to the result and I hope that we can update the blog soon after that and much earlier than the end of Chennai Worlds.
Before you comment under this post about my grammar or spelling or the use of idioms ask yourself this “did I understand the point of that sentence? does it actually matter? “
And here is a picture of our delegation looking happy :