On the 9th of March two teams from the Milestone Debating Society attended the renown The Oxford Union‘s Oxford Schools Debating Competition after winning the National Qualifiers hosted at Milestone in January. Read the review below by one of the team members, Emma Somos Junior student.
As we looked out at the windows of our bus, we could the see the siluette of the city of Oxford unfolding from the dark. In the moment of arriving, we truly understood how lucky we were to be given the chance to debate at the historic Oxford Union the following day. The whole atmosphere of the city motivated us to get the most out of ourselves and the academic environment.
The first two teams of the Hungarian Qualifiers were invited to the Finals Day of the Oxford Schools Debating Competition, organised in Oxford on the 9th of March. The members of the first team, László Dolgos and Samu Marosi are experienced, professional debaters, while the other team of two girls, Lili Juhász and Emma Somos, has never participated in a debating competition and started debating three months ago. Nevertheless, both teams were super excited to debate in Oxford. Overall 850 teams from around the globe participated in the Oxford Schools Debating competition and 120 teams invited to the Finals Day.
The day started early in the morning as the 120 teams and their helpful coaches gathered in the Chamber of the Oxford Union. A huge thanks goes to the Debating Society and to our coach, Miklós Hajnal for preparing us for the competition and for helping us in Oxford too. The historic environment itself and the opportunity to talk to many students from the top schools of England were truly valuable and enjoyable experiences we were able to collect.
Each team participated in four debates at the Final Day and from the 120 teams, the top 8 got into the semi-finals.The first debate’s topic was about legalising the selling of organs. The team of Lili and Emma represented the Closing Government in the British Parliamentary debating style and had to propose the motion. They managed to rank as the 3rd of 4 teams.
The motion of the second debate of the day was: This house would ban terrorists from running for political positions. The team of Lili and Emma, as the Opening Opposition had to argue against the motion. They managed to win the debate and achieved first place.
At the third debate of the day, the team of girls as the Opening Government had to convince the judges that this house should believe that feminist movements should reject the glorification of motherhood. However, they only managed to achieve the 4th place.
The fourth motion stated that: This House believes that formal colonising countries (e.g. Britain and Spain) should significantly raise the quotas of immigrants from countries they previously colonised. In this debate, the team of Laci and Samu managed to win the debate and achieved first place. Both Hungarian teams won a debate, however only the top 8 of the 120 competing teams were invited the semi-finals.
Lili has received the highest speaking points as a Hungarian debater, achieving the 115th place from the 240 debaters invited to the finals day with 293 points. Emma reached the 142nd place with 291 points, while Laci reached the 199th place with 282 points. However, in the overall ranking the team of Laci and Samu managed to achieve 86th place with 562 points, while the girls with 584 points achieved the 88th place out of the 120 teams.
We watched the semi-finals in the Goodman library of the Oxford Union and were amazed by the high-quality and truly exciting debates which revolved around the topics of house market, urban migration and homelessness. The final debate took place in the historic Chamber of the Union between teams from the schools of Westminster, Dulwich, Eton and the International School of Amsterdam. The team from Westminster took the first place as they convinced the judges representing the closing government that this house should accept the responsibility to protect as the main guideline for international law.
We travelled back to Budapest on the following day of the competition realising and appreciating how much our debating skills have improved and how many talented debaters and students we have met in Oxford.