From intense debate sessions at Bogotá’s Universidad del Rosario to an entertaining bus tour into the Andes, Colgate’s Spanish Language Debate Society left Colombia with memories to last a lifetime. Take a look at the full photo gallery on Flickr.
Debating is not easy. You have 15 minutes to prepare a persuasive and informed argument on a topic you may or may not know and then another seven to speak about it, all while attempting to sound confident in a claim that you may not necessarily believe in, but have to prove to be true nevertheless.
As Colgate University’s Spanish Language Debate Society continues its journey through Campeonato Mundial Universitario de Debate en Español (CMUDE) 2015 in Bogotá, exciting and enriching experiences continue to shape and strengthen the relations between students of distinct countries.
Our second day at CMUDE consisted of three official debate rounds in British Parliamentary Debate format. This format simply consists of four teams in which two represent the government and two represent the opposition. Each team is made up of two debaters who work together to form a coherent argument for their side of the motion.
These debates brought up crucial points for us as students and future leaders. We debated questions of human rights and when it is permissible or justifiable for them to be bent. Further, we debated whether a government should be allowed to intervene during a humanitarian crisis in another country when that foreign nation does not allow help from abroad. Being able to debate for a side, even when it is one with which you personally do not agree, allows us to hear other points of view and gives us a better understanding of how to use various rhetorical techniques.
At the end of our day, we headed to Night of Cultures, where participating students beautifully showcased snippets of their countries’ cultures. We sampled snacks and drinks, such as Mexico’s famous tamarind candies and Guatemala’s canillitas de leche. Each country brought their traditional national alcohol, such as Peru and Chile’s pisco. Colombian participants brought even more adventurous exhibitions of their culture by exemplifying traditional forms of dance unique to their country while fully dressed with bright colors. They also brought with them a vallenato band, which played a traditional style of Colombian music.
Participants from all over the world danced and celebrated each other’s cultures. The beauty of it all was simple: extremely distinct nations coming together because they speak — and debate — in the same tongue.
Debaters and judges from 20 countries, including Spain, Chile, Peru, Russia, and Germany gathered for this year’s Campeonato Mundial Universitario de Debate (CMUDE) in Bogotá, Colombia. Representing the U.S. for the fourth time, Colgate University’s Spanish Language Debate Society is the only U.S. team in the competition.
(Editor’s note: The author of this post, Erik Lima ’18, is an undecided major from Trenton, N.J. He is one of 10 students traveling to Colombia next week.)
Colgate’s Spanish Debate Team only formed a few years ago, yet its progress has been immense. Now, 10 members are headed to Colombia on July 20 for Latin America’s largest debate tournament, Campeonato Mundial Universitario de Debate en Espanol (CMUDE) 2015.
Coming from predominantly Spanish-speaking communities, many of our current team members desired an experience at Colgate to use their Spanish-language skills in a new and different way.
Originally established by just a couple of students, the Spanish Debate Team now allows Spanish-speaking students to debate controversial topics of world interest. Not only do we learn about current events through our involvement with the team, but we also learn about laws and different views that certain topics can bring to the table.
Knowing the level of competition that awaits us in Colombia, our team has dedicated this past year to intense training and meetings. CMUDE 2015 is Spanish-only, so we only speak Spanish during meetings and practices. As the Spanish language slightly differs across Latin America, having a diverse group of Spanish speakers on the team allows us to prepare words or phrases that are commonly used and understood.
CMUDE is based on the British Parliamentary style, and our debate practices are run under the same style and speech duration time. Having two weekly debate meetings can be very time consuming under a tight semester schedule, but our team has managed to work well and remain consistent throughout this past year.
One of our biggest challenges has been learning to handle complex debate topics quickly — particularly those on which we might have little background knowledge. Since debaters have only 15 minutes to prepare during the competition, we intentionally practiced under similar pressure, sharing talking points if some teammates didn’t understand the subject. We hope that this strategy will allow our team to remain concentrated, calm, and ready to take advantage of every minute we are given to prepare on debate day.
Although nerves are definitely setting in as the tournament nears, we hope to enjoy our time in Colombia and learn from some of the best debaters gathered at CMUDE.