Ateneo makes history after bagging PH’s first World Universities Debating Championship title

MANILA, Philippines – Ateneo de Manila University’s (ADMU) debate team made its historic win after winning the gold in the World Universities Debating Championship (WUDC) on Wednesday, January 4 in Madrid, Spain. It was conducted from December 27, 2022 to January 4, 2023.

Ateneo makes history after bagging PH’s first World Universities Debating Championship title
Ateneo bags the championship title in the 2023 World Universities Debating Championship | Photo courtesy: Facebook/ Madrid WUDC 2023

The Philippine team defeated some of the best debating teams and Ivy League schools, including Harvard, Princeton, and Brown, to emerge as the champion. David Africa and Toby Leung of Ateneo A were the champion debaters behind the historic victory. Leung was named the second best speaker, while Africa was ranked eighth. The best speaker award was won by Tel Aviv University's Hadar Goldberg.

The teams debated whether "a world where all individuals have a strong belief in Ubuntu" was preferable. Ubuntu is a philosophical belief that "asserts that people's identities should be shaped by, and their obligations should be owed primarily to their communities."

The competition uses a British parliamentary format, with topics revealed only 15 minutes before the debate begins.

The two were applauded on Ateneo's Facebook page for their incredible accomplishments. It stated, “The Ateneo Debate Society is proud to congratulate Ateneo A, David Africa, and Toby Leung for winning the World Universities Debating Championship. The World Universities Debating Championship is one of the largest and most diverse university-level majors, hailing teams from all around the world.”

Joining Africa and Leung were Ateneo B, consisting of Quintin Chua and Aly Barranda, as well as Ateneo C, with Bern Advincula and Zen Tiangco.

According to the Ateneo Debate Society, it was their third time making it to the finals, but their first time ever bringing home the gold. Last year’s champions came from BRAC University in Bangladesh.

— Sally, The Summit Express

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