Haifa U debate champions 311.
(photo credit: Anat Zeidenberg/Haifa University)
Haifa University’s debate team has been awarded first place in the world’s
largest and most prestigious debating competition in the English-as-a-second
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Students Meir Yarom and Michael Shapiro represented
the school at the World Universities Debating Championship (WUDC) in Botswana
during the past week, where more than 300 teams from 150 different universities,
representing 50 countries participated.
Yarom, a law student, and
Shapiro, a philosophy student, progressed through nine preliminary rounds, where
they contested and defeated native English-speaking teams, and finally made it
into the final rounds. The competition was comprised of three categories:
Mother-tongue English, for university debating teams from Great Britain, the
United States, Ireland and Australia; English- as-a-second language (ESL), in
which most European countries and Israel compete; and Englishas- a-foreign
Competing in the English-as-asecond language category,
last year’s team made it to the final round, but this year Yarom and Shapiro
managed to defeat contestants from the Netherlands, Slovenia and Malaysia in the
final round, earning the titles World Debating Champions for 2011.
talented duo debated a number of challenging motions, eventually triumphing in
the last stage. Their successful debate on the motion “this house believes that
the courts should break up consistently dominant political parties” led them to
Motions that they contended with in earlier rounds included
matters of privacy on the Internet, prohibiting teacher union strikes and rights
to possess nuclear weapons.
Over the past decade Haifa University has
been consistently successful at various championships held in Israel and abroad,
including achievements at the European Debating Championships. Trained by Uri
Zakai at the University of Haifa Debating Society, the team made it to nine
international finals and 20 international debating rounds.
Having won the
Israeli National Championship five times and various smaller competitions, they
have shown their university that its investments in debating teams have clearly