Rachel Ayres | Staff Writer
Fast talking in two different accents resounded in a celebration of public speaking and culture, the 7th Annual International Debate at Whitworth.
Three members of Whitworth’s debate team, the Arguing Bucs, took on the Irish National Champions Wednesday, April 2 at 7 p.m. in Weyerhauser 111.
Aishling Kinsella, Daniel Gilligan and Ronan Daly were Whitworth’s overseas guests.
According to The Irish Times, 98 teams and more than 300 contestants entered 59th The Irish Times Debate.
“The Irish Times Debate is a prestigious national debating competition for third-level students, which aims to promote oratorical excellence,” the Times reported.
Kinsella, Gilligan, and Daly all made it to the final round on Feb. 22, 2019, where the motion up for debate was, “This House would rescind Ireland’s position of neutrality in favour of a European standing army.”
Gilligan and Daly are students at Trinity College Dublin and together won the team event to become Irish National Champions .
Kinsella was the runner up in the individual speaker competition while representing the University College Dublin (UCD) Literary and Historical Society.
These three students are on a debating tour in America, with Whitworth as one of their stops.
Whitworth’s competitors included sophomore Justin Li, senior Sanjay Philip and junior Tucker Wilson, all of whom recently won the 2019 National Christian College Forensics Association invitational to become National Champions.
“I feel like I did pretty well,” Wilson said. “Coach placed us very intentionally as the first, second and third because Justin is better at establishing arguments, Sanjay is really good at the political theory stuff and I am a lot better at talking holistically, broad concepts and counter argumentation.”
Each of the teams’ three competitors gave a seven minute speech. The Whitworth team started off the debate by affirming the motion that populism is the greatest threat to liberty. Then, the teams took turns giving their speeches until signaled by professor of communication studies, director of forensics, and co-coach of the Arguing Bucs, Dr. Michael Ingram, that their time was up.
Following the Irish style of debate, the competition allowed interjections from the opposing team in the middle of the speeches. This is different from what the Arguing Bucs were used to, Wilson explained.
“Normally the International Public Debate Association (IPDA) debate has a two minute dedicated question period for each side to ask the other person questions, so it is interesting being able to talk during a speech and getting talked to during a speech. That was a big change,” he said.
The competitors, dressed in business attire, sat on opposite sides of a podium where they listened intently, took notes, and whispered to their team members.
“They were a tough competition,” Kinsella said. “I think it was a very interesting topic. It was a very nebulous topic, so it was interesting to see the different takes on it from the team... We enjoyed doing it, definitely.”
Audience members included the other members of the Arguing Bucs team, Whitworth students and staff as well as community members.
Sophomore Frances Morgan was interested in the event, having just spent a semester in Ireland.
“I was impressed with both sides’ ability to think quickly on their feet and answer in a clear manner,” she said.
At the end of the friendly competition, the audience voted for the winner by clapping. In good humor, Ingram announced that it was a tie.
This unique opportunity allows Whitworth students and the community to meet and learn from
“The Pirates grow as thinkers and debaters in preparing for this intellectual exchange,” Ingram said. “It also promotes cross cultural learning as we get to hear about cultural differences and similarities in politics, life and debating. And the debates give the campus community an opportunity to hear firsthand how their peers across the Atlantic think about important issues of the day.”
This experience is also beneficial for the Irish students.
“Meeting people from different countries and having important conversations with them is the best for challenging things we think we know,” Kinsella said, in a statement prior to the debate.
Prior to arriving at Whitworth, the Irish students toured through Tennessee, Kentucky and Montana.
While in Spokane, the overseas guests were treated to a tour of the area from the Arguing Bucs.
“We have showed them our lovely campus and city with hiking at Bowl & Pitcher State Park, walks downtown and at Manito Park, and taking them to some favorite restaurants. Daniel said the pho at Pho Van was the best meal he has eaten in years,” Ingram said.
After their stop in Spokane, they will venture to the west side of Washington where they will visit Bellingham. Then, they will end their trip with stops in Georgia and South Carolina.