Miranda Van Iderstine ’13 and Elle Wilson ’13 were two of the four members of the United States debate team that finished in 30th place at the World Schools Debating Championship in Antalya, Turkey.
The WSDC debates, between Jan. 27 to Feb. 6, took place in local elementary schools, high schools, or universities around the city, Wilson said.
The debate are in the form of the parliamentary debate, each lasting about an hour.
Each round has six eight-minute speeches, one from each member of each three-person team, and two four-minute speeches, as one person from each team speaks again to close out the debate.
Students debated a wide range of topics, including whether the media should be prevented by law from intruding into the lives of public figures, as well as whether prisoners should be allowed to choose death over a life sentence as punishment for a crime.
While the U.S. team didn’t make it past the preliminary rounds, both Wilson and Van Iderstine said they greatly enjoyed the experience.
“My favorite part was definitely meeting new people, Wilson said. “Although I really love competing traveling, the best part is getting to know people from around the world. We made so many great friends, which makes the experience particularly memorable.”
Van Iderstine observed the global attitude towards the U.S. during the trip.
“The U.S. isn’t the most liked, and we are the brunt of obesity, Mitt Romney and gun jokes, but going to these tournaments and getting to disprove stereotypes is very cool,” Van Iderstine said.
Members for the U.S. team were chosen from the U.S. World Schools Debating Championship Program, a debate team primarily based in Southern California, which includes about 20 students, including a development program. To qualify, debaters had to go through a series of auditions before the coaches picked who would compete in the WSDC. The U.S. team spent the first two thirds of the competition preparing for debates.
Towards the end of the tournament they took a day trip to Roman ruins, and spent time with other debaters, Van Iderstine said.