News - June 9, 2015

Daylong debating tournament in Wageningen

The very first student debating tournament in Wageningen saw 28 teams participating. They debated topics like organ donation and monogamy. Winners of the Wageningen Open were two friends from Edinborough and Dublin.

Veronika Wehner wrote a report about the first Wageningen Open.

A young man stands in front of a small audience and defends, visibly nervous, why he regrets the instalment of the Euro in the European Union. He talks fast while the small audience takes notes and occasionally nod or shake their heads. Once in a while somebody stands up to give a reply, which has to be granted by the speaker. It all seems to be very orderly and choreographed. Everybody knows the protocol, the rules, and nobody interrupts one another.

We are at the third round of the first Wageningen Open, an international debating tournament, in the Forum building. Debating associations from all over the Netherlands and other European countries have sent teams to compete with each other.

Nathania Engelhardt from Wageningen Debating, the organising association, says that at many other debating tournaments people had asked when Wageningen would host such an event. Now, Wageningen Debating had finally been able to organise it. The organising association, however, is not allowed to take part in the tournament, so the in the past few weeks the people of Wageningen Debating trained a couple of Wageningen students to defend this university on their behalf.

Wageningen was well-represented. There were two Wageningen duos and one half Wageningen, half Leiden team. Lara Minnaard, one of the organisers, says the Wageningers made her proud. ‘None of them made it to the finals, but for first-time competitors they all did extremely well’, she reports.

The Wageningen Open was a daylong event. The 28 two person teams first debated in four pre-rounds about various issues, such as organ donations, differentiation between murder and manslaughter, and monogamy. When the organisers posed the motion ‘This house regrets monogamy’ the lecture room full of competitors broke out in spontaneous cheering. The self-proclaimed goal of the organisers to provide good and interesting motions was achieved.

The finals took place in the restaurant Colors on the Market Square, where dinner was eaten too.  The programme went on for so long, that one of the four finalist teams had to leave before the award ceremony. Luckily, this was not the winning team. Winners of the evening were Nishit Hedge from Edinburgh and Naoise Dolan from Dublin. These two had met in previous debating competitions and had decided to have a nice weekend in the Netherlands. They went home with  atrophy which they received that evening in The Spot, in Orion. Much like most guests, they praised the friendliness of the event and the good organisation of Wageningen Debating.

Photo: Wageningen Debating