The most successful debating societies of the World / Stuttgart VDCH’s best deb soc

Datum: Mar 31st, 2011
Category: Turniere

“Oxbridge“ among the top ten debating societies of the world? Of course, one may assume to find those two oldest deb socs in that list – but who else is to be listed there? Colm Flynn, former chair of the WUDC Council, is the founder and editor of the internet blog World Debating Website. There he has published his “Worlds Debating Rankings 2011“. According to this, the top ten comprises four Australian institutions and only two English ones – Oxford and Cmabridge Unions. Even an institution from the Philippines is listed among them. The most successful debating society from under the umbrella of VDCH? The one from the Swabian capital.

The number tot he left indicates the rank, the number to the right the total of the points a certain institution scored at World Universities Debating Championships (WUDC or Worlds) over the past five years.

  • 1 Sydney, Australia, 506 points
  • 2 Oxford Union, England, 458
  • 3 Yale, USA, 394
  • 4 Cambridge Union, England, 372
  • 5 Monash, Australia, 358
  • 6 Queensland, Australia, 358
  • 7 University of Toronto, Hart House, Canada, 295
  • 8 Alberta, Canada, 291
  • 9 Australian National University, Australia, 287
  • 10 Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines, 268

According to points, Debattierclub Stuttgart ist he most successful society from under the umbrella of VDCH, the Association of Debating Societies at Universities. After some corrections, Greifswald just got ahead of Berlin.

  • 115 Stuttgart, 66 points
  • 136 Greifswald, 51
  • 163 Berlin (BDU), 41
  • 191 Bremen (JUB), 32
  • 198 Köln, 29
  • 204 Munich, 27
  • 206 Bonn, 27
  • 217 Potsdam, 24
  • 225 St. Gallen, 22
  • 226 Wien (DKW), 22
  • 247 Berlin (HSG), 15
  • 250 Mainz, 14
  • 265 Halle, 13
  • 290 Münster, 11

Colm explained how he came with the calculations: “[The rankings] are calculated by adding up the total team points scored by an institution at the World Debating Championships (e.g. if Limerick A score 15 and Limerick B score 14 the total for that institution is 29 for the year). This score is totalled for each of the last 5 years. The only exception is where an institution has hosted Worlds (e.g. Cork, Koc, UCD etc) within the last 5 years then their score from 6 years ago is added as they cannot compete in the year when they host.” The list and its creator are targets of critique: Some observed that the mere adding-up of points scored over five years does not mirror teams breaking – and hence does not reflect reality, as they wrote in the comments section of Colm’s blog.

Since 1981, debaters from all over the world have been competing at the World Universities Debating Championships (WUDC) at alternating locations across the planet. It was not before 1996 that the British Parliamentary Style became the mandatory format for this annual tournament. From 27 December 2011 to 4 January 2012, the international debating circuit will flock in to De La Salle University at Manila, Philippines, where the tournament is part of the university’s centennial. The convenors expect more than 1,400 participants from about 70 nations. Co-chief adjudicators are Lucinda David from the local La Salle Debate Society and Sam Block, alumnus debater from the Cambridge Debating Union. Joe Roussos (South Africa), Cormac Early (USA), Tim Mooney (Australia), Masako Suzuki (Japan) und Art Ward (Great Britain/Ireland) are their deputies. WUDC 2013 will be held in the German capital Berlin, your convenor is Patrick Ehmann of Berlin Debating Union. Language of debate is English and there are three categories: “Main” for native speakers, “ESL” (English as a Second Language, for those who prove great proficiency in English) and “EFL” (English as a Foreign Language).

apf / glx

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  1. Every year that Colm publishes these rankings there is a huge (and partly violent) diskussion over whether these rankings are relevant, misleading or even correct. In my opinion the information published is maybe quite nice to have, but it shouldn’t be published (or announced) as “the most successful debating societies”. That is simply not what’s being measured. The measurement taken is merely participation.

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