With thorough preparation, quick thinking and excellent argumentative skills, the RC debate team beat 38 teams from 15 countries over 7 rounds to win the EurOpen 2011 Schools Debating Championship in Stuttgart, November 5-12. The team eliminated Alberta (Canada) 5-2, opposing the motion “This house believes that the pen is mightier than the sword”. This is the first time Turkey has won an international debate championship.
The winning Turkey A team members are Kaan Ülgen (L-11), Şafak Kılıç (L-11), Mert Zorlular (L-10) and Ayşenür Biçen (L-10). A second team from Turkey also competed, comprised of Eymir Yılmaz (L-10), Cansu Yavaşcaoğlu (L-10), Bala Tabak (L-10), Ege Sözgen (L-9) ve Ilgın Nas (L-9). In addition, Şafak Kılıç was selected after the preliminaries as one of the top ten speakers in terms of command of the English language, general cultural knowledge and ability to convince the judges.
"My expectations of the team were high from the start. In previous tournaments they had been very successful," explains team advisor and RC Turkish Language and Literature teacher Emre Erkorkmaz, who accompanied the team to Stuttgart. "Every round brought a new level of excitement with it. Not only did I learn a lot from the team, I also admired their self-confidence and command of English. But I was most amazed by their capability to use humor as a method for convincing. They were able to use humor to influence the jury, sway the audience to their side and leave their competition in a difficult position. Because of their presentation skills, general knowledge and passion, they really deserved winning this championship."
The Turkey A team, along with Cansu Yavaşcaoğlu, is also the Turkish National Team. In order to achieve their Stuttgart success they worked with the National Debate Team coach, Engin Arıkan, for five hours each week since the beginning of the school year. They will continue working with him at this pace into next year when they will represent Turkey at the World Schools Debating Championship in January 2012 in Cape Town, South Africa.
The RC debate team is also organizing the second annual Eurasian Schools Debating Championship at Robert College in July 2012, which was established to help develop debate in Turkey.
For more information on the debate team visit their website, http://www.rcdebate.com/.