Pan American Debate Championships at the University of Miami

Two weekends ago, another lucky troupe of Worlds debaters got the chance to escape the winter cold for a long weekend in Miami for the Pan American Universities Debate Championship! As the name suggests, the tournament brought in teams from all over the western hemisphere – Venezuela, Jamaica and a huge range of American schools were all represented by a healthy number of debaters. The tournament also had a Spanish division, allowing Spanish speakers to engage with the same motions as the English-speaking teams.

The debaters pose together before the first rounds of the tournament.

The debaters pose together before the first rounds of the tournament.



The motions touched on a few Latin American current issues, as expected – “This house believes normalization of relations with Cuba will improve the civil rights of Cuban citizens”, and the finals-round motion “This house would create an economic free-trade zone for all countries in the western hemisphere” – which added some uniqueness to this particular tournament.

Nick and Chris pose with their seminfinalists' award.
Nick and Chris pose with their seminfinalists’ award.

With such a variety of schools competing, the competition was fierce; Chris Perkins and Nick Heitsch (in his Worlds debut!) reached the semifinal round, with a motion concerning the war against ISIS in the Middle East. The rest of our three teams all came a single point away from breaking into out rounds – not bad for the first tournament after a long vacation! And time in the sunshine was sorely needed, too – we were saddened to be up and out of the balmy south before the sun even rose on Monday morning!

All in all, the tournament was very much a success. With one team breaking and everyone else coming quite close, it was a great way to jump back into the season and prepare for more upcoming tournaments.



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