WUDC BERLIN 2013: STRIKING REPRESENTATION OF THE CAMEROON DEBATE ASSOCIATION
By Sulem Worti
Ever since Cameroon made a poor first participation in WUDC Botswana 2010, a lot of progress has been made by these wise participants who did not consider the pain they had felt but the lessons they had learned. They then created the CDA alongside Debate and Leadership clubs in the University of Dschang and in some state universities all around the national territory. They have appealed to National, and International Institutes with a knowledge of the worth and promise of debating and have received the support of some of them in having a good number of Cameroonian youths trained in debatting. These youths have done so much in lifting the country’s face, most recently in WUDCBerlin 2013 by being first one of the meritorious scholarship holders, then the only African country represented in a total of 40 finalists and by holding the third best position in Worlds Public Speaking… all these in less than three years!
OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATIONS (OSF) CAMEROONIAN WUDC SCOLARSHIP HOLDERS IN BERLIN
For the first time, the OSF awarded scholarships to 110 (out of 1400 registered participants) WUDC participants. This scholarship covered participation fee and subsidised visa fees and transportation to, around and from Germany.
So it happened that two debaters from the Debate and Leadership club of the University of Dschang were awarded this scholarship. After a promise of support from their school rectorate, un planned expenditure by their parents, immeasurable support from the Executive board of the CDA, and from one of its dear partners Lilia Kilburn, they finally got to Tegel Airport-Berlin as awaited on December 25th 2012 where they received a warm welcome by the WUDC Berlin 2013communication committee.
From December 26th to 27th, debate experts gave a pre-tournament workshop to scholarship holders in Berlin’s TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITAT. During this, each team played two preparative debate matches and each participant received lectures on three of many themes which talked on Defining the role of each position in a British Parliamentary Debate match; Taking and Giving points of Information; Public speaking; debating Gender; Religion, African politics, the Syrian crisis, the midle east, capitalism and the market. By the end of these sessions, scholarship holders were better prepared to face the competition come 28th December 2012 to 3rd December 2013 that held at the same site but for the final debate matches that took place in the Maritime Hotel of Berlin.
THE COMPETETIVE EXCHANGE OF IDEAS
After a briefing on British Parliamentary Debate format and its adjudication, then nine rounds of British Parliamentary Debate matches on the following themes in the following positions (see table below), the Cameroonian team had the following ranks. With a total of ten points, they could not qualify as one of 16 needed teams for the quarter finals in their category of English as a Second Language since the 1st team accumulated 17 points and the 16th team 13 points.
However, the student Afor Kenneth Ndage, (3rd level student in the Faculty of Law and Political Sciences of the University of Dschang) did well as best debater from Cameroon with a total of 71.33%, 0.45 percent above his collaborator and 8.55 percent below the best English as a second language Debater from Havard University, obviously a back ground in which encouraging debate is the order of the day.
Meanwhile, in the Section of Public Speaking, the Cameroonian team did break through and strike! The speaker Sulem Yong Ingrid Worti (Master I student in the Department of Biomedical sciences of the University of Dschang) was the only African of all fourty finalists from different categories (English as a professional language, as a second language and as a foreign language) and sectors(British Parliamentary debate, World Masters and World Public speaking). She then asserted the efficiency of her team, school debate club, University, Debate association, country and continent by concluding as Worlds third best Public Speaker 2013.
EMBRACING DISSENT IN BERLIN
The right meaning of this phrase was one of the correct responses needed alongside a relevant CV for one to be granted an OSF WUDC BERLIN 2013 scholarship - And indeed there was a lot of dissent to embrace.
A marked difference in temperatures, climate and time zone; a difference in food and transport means; a different variety of English assents, mentalities and life style; a different adjudicating expectation and approach to debating; different types of social events…
And last but not least, a never before attended Debate closing ceremony in which outstanding participants took back home neither medals, nor attestations nor trophies but solemnly received Relating Bags, T shirts and bear scale models- How much more dissent could one embrace
THE CDA: AN ASSOCIATION TO PUSH FORWARD
The indomitable debaters that we are have diligently discovered the immeasurable treasures of mind broadening, capacity building, development engaging…and much more that resides in the interesting activity of debating. We have had it boost our academic and social performance and so have taken as duty to share its juicy fruits with fellow Cameroonian youths . By this, we relentlessly work to embolden the Cameroonian youth. We thus continue our call to all sectors of our government to join hands in the acquisition of one of the greatest tools indispensable for the concrete emergence of our fatherland.
In our PAUDC (Pan African Universities Debating Championship) ZIMBABWE 2011 report, we said that CANUDC (Cameroon National Universities Debating Championship) organized by the CDA in November 2011 trained and spoted outstanding debaters that subsequently proved their worth with a break through performance in PAUDC ZIMBABWE December 2011. We let you know our plan to spread structural debating to secondary schools and our promised to leave mark in PAUDC SOUTH AFRICA 2012 and WUDC BERLIN 2013.
If ever you doubt us, remember that from the onset of the CDA, we set goals and are eloquently achieving them. We have made Cameroon eligible for Worlds School Debating Championship by taking this great art to secondary schools in already five of ten regions. We have given the country a heavier say in world issues many a time;- We wrenched the silver position in PAUDC ZIMBABWE 2011 from the usual Southern African holders, we won the trust of the African continent in PAUDC SOUTHAFRICA 2012 and the bid to host the prestigious competition in Cameroon in 2014; most recently, we won two prestigious OSF first WUDC scholarships and proudly told the world that a mind stretched by experience can never return to its old dimension. We did this out right by being the only African of 40 WUDC BERLIN 2013 finalists and inspite of our association’s infancy, we came back home with a Bronze position in World Public Speaking…Even then we are still achieving the preambule of our aims and need your support to lay down the rest of our objectives. So what are you waiting for!
REMEMBER YOU HAVE DISSENT TO EMBRACE…