Wednesday 5th February saw students from 15 schools in 11 different countries descend on sunny Marbella for the eighth annual COBIS Student World Debating Competition. And what a competition it turned out to be! When planning for this event began in earnest last year, EIC’s aims were focused not solely on catering for high-levels of rigorous debate but also on providing participants from all schools with the opportunity to celebrate internationalism and forge lasting friendships with their peers from all over the world, and we feel this was achieved over the course of the competition.
The event began with a cultural excursion to the city of Málaga. After a brief detour through the industrial port, students began a range of activities including climbing to the roof of Málaga Cathedral, visiting the Alcazaba and touring the historic quarter of the city on Segways. Luckily there were no serious mishaps during the latter activity (!) and participants enjoyed breathtaking views and conversation with fellow debaters in equal measure. After a great day of sightseeing and bonding it was on to the Opening Ceremony Gala Dinner. Participants enjoyed a three-course dinner complete with a Flamenco show and inspiring words from Christine Wright from the British Embassy in Madrid, COBIS Student Engagement Officer Alisa Sacofsky and EIC Director Ron Griffin. Special mention to the two brave students who “volunteered” to have a go at flamenco dancing on stage!
Friday began early and excitement levels were high as the debating got underway after months of preparation. The first round saw teams debate ‘This house believes that (THBT) reality TV is unethical’ and it was clear from the outset how high the standard of the competition was going to be. The second prepared debate, ‘THBT direct action is the most effective way of securing political change’ saw numerous contemporary pertinent issues raised and a similar high level of debate. The draw for the first impromptu debate produced the motion ‘THBT globalisation is a force for good’, perhaps a classic debating motion but this did not hinder yet more very high level arguments being put forward. The first day of debating ended with a Showcase Final featuring the top eight scorers from all teams thrashing out the age-old argument of whether it is better to be a cat or a dog. Several highly-amusing arguments later, the debate was declared a draw and so we remain none-the-wiser!
After a strong first day of fierce debating everyone was ready to let their hair down at the Cuban-themed party. International friendships were further cemented on the dance floor and fun had by all.
Saturday dawned and the Quarter-Finals were underway for both the plate and cup competitions with the motion ‘THBT prisoners should be given the vote’. Once again the level of debating prowess on display was phenomenal, resulting in some very close results, but victory went to the British School of Amsterdam, Prague British School, EIC2 (who had won against the British School of Gran Canaria) and International British School of Bucharest in the plate competition, and British School Caracas, St George’s Luxembourg, British School of the Netherlands and EIC1 (who had won a hard fought Quarter-Final against the defending champions and pre-tournament favourites, Dubai College) in the cup. These teams marched on to the Semi-Finals debating the motion ‘THBT the purpose of education should be to prepare students for the workforce’. Several engaging arguments later, the Finalists emerged as BSA vs. IBSB in the plate, and SGL vs. BSN in the cup. Tensions were high for the final impromptu motion draw of the competition: ‘THBT negative economic growth is the only realistic way to fight global warming’. Two incredible finals produced worthy champions - IBSB winning the Plate Competition and BSN victorious in the Cup Competition. Huge congratulations to both teams, as well as to our top three scoring debaters of the whole competition: Summer Gainey (EIC), Mariya Murishko (SGL) and Max Furda (PBIS).
Thanks go from EIC to everyone who made such a great event possible, to all debaters and coaches for their good humour and enthusiasm, and to our representatives from the British Embassy and COBIS.