International Competition for Young Debaters

21 January 2024

Written by Ayla M, Year 9

On 21st January 2024, eight students from OHS visited the Oxford Union to compete in the first round of the International Competition for Young Debaters (ICYD). It was an honour to visit and compete in the Oxford Union because, over the past two centuries, the union has hosted some of the world’s greatest politicians and celebrities and has frequently found itself under the media spotlight. Some of us were even able to compete in the chamber and library which were built in 1823! 

Our team consisted of two swing teams and two teams who were competing. There were schools and debate clubs from all over Oxford. We competed in 3 rounds, rounding the day off with pizza as a celebration! Unfortunately neither of our teams made it through to the final, but we all scored very well in our individual speaker events and won at least one of our debates. One of our speakers was ranked the second highest in the tournament.

The motions consisted of one that we knew a week before the competition and two that we would find out on the day and have 15 minutes to prepare. Our motions were: “This house would ban animal testing”, “This house believes that anonymity online does more harm than good” and “This house would implement parental licences (a licence to have a child)”. They were all very interesting to debate, especially the motion about parental licences because it was exciting to explore and argue about something that doesn’t exist.

Throughout the day we met many new people and friends. After all of our rounds were finished we ended the day off by watching the 4 finalists debate who will be going to the next round. It was a great experience and was a fun day!

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