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Stellenbosch WUDC 1997

The championships were hosted at Stellenbosch University, the first time in Africa. In fact this was the first time a host nation came from outside the original seven Charter nations. After the problems with the previous two Charter nation Worlds (Princeton and Cork), this gamble by the Worlds Council was rewarded as Stellenbosch '97 is widely regarded as the benchmark Worlds setting new standards against which all future years would be measured. This was in spite of a campaign by some American debaters to boycott the championships as they were being held in the birthplace of apartheid, and an outbreak of Ebola in Africa which had the world's media in overdrive. The competition ran smoothly and the social events in the warm African summer were very successful following two cold-climate Worlds.

This was also the first championships to have Deputy Chief Adjudicators to provide external expertise to the organizing committee, with Ray D'Cruz and John Long being the first to fill the role. Stellenbosch also struggled with the number of judges. As a result the council finally voted to enforce the N-1 rule for all future championships. Council at Stellenbosch voted to introduce verbal adjudications after the first 6 preliminary rounds. The ESL Final was contested by 2 teams from Singapore, one from the Philippines and one from Greece, and the National University of Singapore emerged with the win.

The main competition was won by Glasgow A (Andy Hume and Derek Sloan) who were faced with the task of taking a large trophy in the shape of an Elephant home. It had to be carried into the final by 4 men. Andy George from Gray's Inn was best speaker.

Champions:

Glasgow A

Finalists:
Edinburgh A
Grays A
London A
Semifinalists:
Oxford A
Oxford B
Sydney A
York A

Quarterfinalists:
ANU A
City A
Kaplan A
Melbourne A
Monash C
U. College Cork B
U. New South Wales A
UWA A

This History of the World Debating Championships comes in 3 parts. From 1976 to 1990 it is taken almost word for word from the 1991 Toronto WUDC Tournament booklet. Who wrote it isn't known but it was provided by Randal Horobik. At the start of the section on Worlds in 1981 is an extract from an e-mail by Clark McGinn, Convenor of Debates, GU Union 1980 -81 and 1981 and Convenor of the First World Debating Competition, 1981. The history since 1991 has been compiled initially by Colm Flynn and edited by many contributors to Wikipedia. Unfortunately Wikipedia deleted the history due to copyright concerns so we are back here. Hopefully anyone who contributed to the Wiki article before it was deleted will be happy to see their work preserved here.
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