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In the fourth formal debate, UGA’s debate team defeated the Oxford Union Society to even the series.

UGA v. Oxford Union debate IV


The University of Georgia challenged the Oxford Union Society to a formal debate for the fourth time, and the Oxford Union accepted this challenge. Several of the organization's best debaters competed against an elite UGA team in a hybridized British/American-style debate on March 8. This fourth installment was an opportunity for the UGA team to even the all-time score, as they were down in the series two losses to one win. Held in the UGA Chapel, the evening found UGA victorious to even the series 2 to 2.

“Like its previous iterations, the 2011 debate is a hugely exciting event and it showcases some of the best young thinkers and speakers from both campuses,” said Kalpen Trivedi, director of the UGA at Oxford Program. “The topic is timely, provocative, and well chosen.”

Kavita Pandit, associate provost for International Education at UGA added, “The debate draws attention to the very valuable and long-standing international academic partnership between UGA and Oxford. It also provides an outstanding example of the way in which an international education equips UGA students to compete with the very best and brightest students around the world.”

The Oxford Union was founded in 1823 as an arena for the free exchange of ideas among students, and it soon became the forum for political debate in Oxford. Many British prime ministers have served as past presidents of the Oxford Union, and world figures such as Robert Kennedy, Mother Theresa, Yasser Arafat, Jimmy Carter and Nelson Mandela have addressed its members. The union team is a hand-selected group of “all-stars.”

UGA's team also was assembled specially for this event. Drawing from the membership of the Georgia Debate Union, the Demosthenian Literary Society, the Phi Kappa Literary Society, the Law School, UGA's Honors Program, and several other student organizations, the “home” team truly represented the wide variety of programs and schools UGA has to offer.

The UGA team represented a wide field of expertise, and included: Elizabeth Allan, Honors student and Carl Vinson Institute Fellow; Bobby Rosenbleeth, Honors student, Model U.N. co-director and member of the executive board of the Roosevelt Institute at UGA; Cameron Secord, Phi Kappa Society and a School of Public and International Affairs graduate student; Robert Mulholland, UGA Debate Union assistant coach and M.A. student in the department of speech communications; John Turner, UGA Debate Union assistant coach and M.A. student in speech communications; and Aileen Shawcross, former librarian and chief justice of Demosthenian Literary Society.

The debate topic was “Resolved: China's economic and military rise threatens the interests of the United States and Great Britain in the 21st century.” This topic addressed such issues as human rights and federal policy toward atrocities committed in foreign countries, alliances and stabilizing influences on the Korean peninsula, and throughout the Eastern Hemisphere, Western debt in the region, and the recent round of high-level talks during the State Visit of China's President Hu. The UGA team argued the affirmative position, and the Oxford Union Team argued the negative.

The moderator was Peter Appel, professor in the UGA School of Law, who teaches in the areas of property, natural resources law and environmental law. A former debater himself at Yale, Appel has served as the moderator for the UGA v. Oxford Debate on two previous occasions.

Distinguished judges for the event included Steve Wrigley, UGA vice president of government relations; Wyche Fowler, former U.S. representative, senator and ambassador; Annabelle Malins, Her Majesty's Consul General in Atlanta; Colleen McEdwards, CNN international news anchor; Cecil Staton, Georgia state senator who earned his doctoral degree from Oxford University; and Ian Archer, sub-warden of Keble College and former proctor of the university.

For over twenty years, UGA has fostered one of the leading study-abroad programs in Oxford. In 2007, the program opened a new facility for student use, a fully-renovated, 11,000 square-foot Victorian residence in the heart of north Oxford. UGA continues to be one of only three American programs—and the only program at a public university—to operate year-round. Many UGA students join the Oxford Union upon arriving in Oxford. Because of UGA's status in Oxford as a respected sister institution (UGA students hold associate membership at Keble College during term); a healthy rivalry has developed between Oxonians and UGA. For more information on UGA at Oxford, see http://www.uga.edu/oxford/.