Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia has challenged the Oxford Union Society to a formal debate for the third time and the Oxford Union has accepted this challenge. On Monday, March 17 at 7 p.m. in the Hugh Hodgson Concert Hall, several of that world-famous organization’s best debaters will compete against an elite UGA team in a hybridized British/American-style debate. The third installment will be of great significance as the series is currently tied.
“Like its previous iterations, the 2008 debate promises to be an hugely exciting event, which will showcase some of the best young thinkers and speakers from both campuses,” said Kalpen Trivdei, director of the UGA at Oxford program. “The topic is timely, provocative, and well chosen. I look forward to a second well-deserved UGA victory.”
The Oxford Union was founded in 1823 as an arena for the free exchange of ideas among students, and it soon became the forum for political debate in Oxford. Many British prime ministers have served as past presidents of the Oxford Union, and world figures such as Robert Kennedy, Mother Theresa, Yasser Arafat, Jimmy Carter and Nelson Mandela have addressed its members. The Union team will be a hand-selected group of “all-stars.”
UGA’s team also will be assembled specially for this event. Drawing from the membership of the Georgia Debate Union, the Demosthenian Literary Society, the Phi Kappa Literary Society, the Law School and several other organizations, the UGA team will represent the variety of programs the university offers. First team members include: Naveen Ramachandrappa, UGA law student who participated in ’03 debate; Josh McLaurin, Foundation Fellow, UGA Debate Union member; Meg Turlington, member of the Mock U.N. and Demosthenian Society; Matthew Williamson, member of Demosthenian Society and a UGA at Oxford Alum. Alternates include: Andrew Paradis, member of Phi Kappa; Brittany Cambre, UGA Debate Union member; and Spencer Diamond, UGA Debate Union member.
The debate topic is “Resolved: That the United States Federal Government should ratify and implement the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.” This topic will likely access such issues as coercive interrogation, federal policy toward genocide and atrocities committed in foreign countries, the U.S.’s moral, political, and social responsibility in Iran, Iraq, North Korea, China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Darfur, etc. The Union team has elected to argue the affirmative position and the UGA team will therefore argue the negative.
The moderator is Fraser Campbell, former president of the Oxford Union, fellow of All Souls College at Oxford University and trainee solicitor at Clifford Chance Law firm in London. Fraser was the captain of the Oxford Union team for the 2003 UGA vs. Oxford Debate.
Distinguished judges for the event include UGA President Michael F. Adams; John Wiles, District 37 senator; John Hinchey, senior partner at King & Spalding Atlanta; Martin Rickerd, British Consul General in Atlanta; Louise McBee, retired UGA interim provost and former member of the Georgia House of Representatives; Jere Morehead, vice president for instruction; and Steve Jones, superior court judge, Western Judicial Circuit.
In the last fifteen years, the University of Georgia has fostered one of the leading study-abroad programs in Oxford. In 2007, with the generous help of the University of Georgia Foundation and the support of Adams, the program has been fortunate to open a new facility for student use, a fully-renovated, 11,000 square-foot Victorian mansion in the heart of North Oxford. UGA continues to be one of only three American programs—and the only program at a public university—to operate year-round. Many UGA students join the Oxford Union upon arriving in Oxford, and, because of UGA’s status in Oxford as a respected sister institution – UGA students hold associate membership at Keble College during term – a healthy rivalry has developed between Oxonians and the University of Georgia.
For more information on UGA at Oxford, see http://www.uga.edu/oxford/.