UM Debate Team Hosts Bilingual Tournament

Student debaters from around the Western Hemisphere gathered in Miami to compete in the first-ever Pan American University Debating Championship.

By Renee Reneau
UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (January 29, 2014) — Friday night at the University of Miami’s School of Communication, student debaters representing five countries in the Western Hemisphere kicked-off a bilingual university debate tournament, believed to be the first in U.S. history.

Teams from Chile, Colombia, Jamaica, United States and Venezuela were represented in the three-day competition on the Coral Gables campus. Rounds were debated simultaneously in both English and Spanish with topics ranging from an independent Puerto Rico, to the morality of killing Osama Bin Laden, and the promotion of nudist beaches.

The tournament brought together two British Parliamentary debate legends for the first time, Alfred “Tuna” Snider of University of Vermont, and Arlan Narvaez from Universidad Central de Venezuela, who served as chief adjudicators.

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The first-ever Pan American University Debating Championship.

In the final round of the English division, four states were represented from the four corners of the U.S., California (California Polytechnic State University), Oregon (Willamette University), Georgia (Morehouse College), and Vermont (University of Vermont).

Morehouse took home the win after an hour-long debate about establishing Spanish as the official language in certain U.S. regions.

Universidad de Rosario from Colombia won the Spanish division, debating the same topic Sunday evening.

Top speaker awards and other finalist trophies were presented. The tournament was coordinated by Miami student debaters and overseen by head and assistant coaches, Dave Steinberg, Patrick Waldinger and Randall Martinez.

“I am proud and honored to have the privilege of working with this group,” said Steinberg, Director of Debate at UM. “I feel this tournament was our best team success to date.”

Renee Reneau can be reached at 305-284-5500.


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University of Miami debaters Spencer George, left, and David Silverman participated in the historic bilingual debate hosted by the University.

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