K-State Debate competes internationally in World Universities Debating Championship

Jan. 24, 2023

The K-State Debate team recently traveled to Madrid, Spain to compete in the World Universities Debating Championship, the largest international debating tournament. British Parliamentary debate partners Kate Thomas and Liberty Belote competed against debaters from countries around the world. The event was hosted by the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid.

“Through this opportunity, I was able to meet people from across the globe and encounter a world of new experiences,” said Thomas. “I was immersed in new ideas and learned about others' lives through the activity of debate.”

The team debated a wide variety of topics, including the economic needs of the Pacific alliance, the diversity of regional needs in housing policy and the value of reputation and morality in international sports.

“It often felt like we were little fish in a big pond debating against opponents with broader, more nuanced understandings of the global issues we discussed,” Belote said.

Belote felt that this competition held the team to a very high standard, explaining that judges expected much more from them to win individually over other teams. They received detailed feedback from judges to help them improve their arguments and strategy.

“Many times throughout the competition, my debate partner Kate and I found ourselves reformulating our strategies and adjusting to thinking like a BP judge who was more familiar with the activity than we were used to,” said Belote. “Those adjustments improved our success not only in the numbers, but in how much more engaged we felt in and after the debates themselves.

“The best part was that we were never alone in these extremely formative learning experiences,” Belote said. “We made friends with people from a variety of different backgrounds who were making their own adjustments to fit the tournament style and learning more about our perspectives as much as we learned about theirs.”

Director of debate Alex McVey also attended the competition and graduate coaching assistant Nick Aranda judged several debates.

“I’m proud of how Kate, Liberty and Nick represented Kansas State University among this international group of talented debaters,” McVey said.

“I am incredibly grateful for everything I obtained from this experience and everything I have learned from my time in Kansas State University’s debate program,” said Thomas.


About K-State Debate

The Kansas State University debate team participates in NDT/CEDA policy debate and British Parliamentary Debate. These rigorous academic activities dramatically increase students' ability to identify problems, engage in extensive research and analysis of public policy and to propose solutions to a variety of pressing international and domestic issues.. K-State Debate welcomes students from any major, as well as students with no prior debate experience. Follow us on Facebook.