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Varsity debate forum UADC to be held for the first time in Cambodia

The dream of the management board of SpringBoard4Cambodia and outstanding English-language varsity debate teams in Cambodia has now come to reality as the 2017 United Asian Debating Championship (UADC) is slated to be held in the Kingdom this year.

The UADC is a yearly debating tournament that attracts hundreds of student teams across Asia. It will take place in Siem Reap from end-July to early August this year.

Sen Pidet, the managing director of SpringBoard4Cambodia, explained that the UADC is a very challenging debating competition between groups of students from universities in numerous countries in Asia. The debate will be held entirely in the English-language, and the judges will score candidates based on their speaking skill, talent in debating and their key arguments in accordance to each topic. Every topic will encompass general knowledge that is always up-to-date in the ever-changing world.

No one, not even the judges, knows what the major topic of this UADC debate tournament will be.

“Sometimes the topic can be related to social issues, global politics, global environmental issues, scientific discoveries, or parts of their global lessons,” Sen said.

He continued: “Therefore, the candidates must, of course, have a very wide range of knowledge on top of their English ability. Generally, their shortlisting is a stringent process by their universities as they represent the institutions and also their countries.”

This debate is based on the debate policies of the Asia chamber. However, the UADC is only for students in universities. The UADC applies a policy on the debate whereby three students per group compete against one another while the judges, comprising of an odd number of people (3, 5, 7 or 9) will sit in between the two groups. Each debate will last for 56 minutes. Each group has an equal share of 28 minutes on the same topic selected from the three given options. Voting will be done to decide the stand that each team will take on, be it for or against the motion.

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Each member of the group has the opportunity to air their opinions for seven minutes. Between the second to the sixth minute, members of the other group can interject and raise questions if granted permission by the judges.

Throughout the debate, all the judges in the middle must listen with full attention, analyse and score the teams fairly and transparently in accordance to prevailing education policies.

“They must also explain, present, and give references and transparency when they announce the victory of the winning group. If not, the audience in the debate hall will devalue the judges and raise questions,” Sen said.

The UADC has been held for 20 years and has never encountered any problem as it has its own constitutions for each continent (including Asia) and respects the global constitutions as well. In Asia, they have six council advisers from different countries working from term to term with certainty and reliability.

Sen said: “UADC opens a very important opportunity for the students’ future as they will become leaders or representatives of some places. It will teach them to broaden their mindset through debates with proper consideration and peaceful thoughts for the future of their own countries.”

For the first time Cambodia is hosting the UADC this year, there will be approximately 300 participants from different countries who will gather in Siem Reap province.

“Almost all of these participants are those with strong potential in their country as they are talented and might become leaders in the future as well,” Sen said.

The programme will span over 9 days and 8 nights, and will be held at USA International School in Siem Reap Province.

The programme will also host debates with approximately 100 topics or competitions as almost 80 groups of students, including 4 groups of Cambodian students, have already registered.

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