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In historic first, the Philippines' Ateneo de Manila University wins international debate championship

By NICK GARCIA Published Jan 04, 2023 11:41 am

For the first time in history, the Philippines won the World Universities Debating Championship, the largest international debate tournament, held in Madrid in Spain from Dec. 27 to Jan. 4.

Ateneo de Manila University's Ateneo A, consisting of David Africa and Toby Leung, bested Princeton University (United States), Tel Aviv University (Israel), and Sofia University (Bulgaria) during the grand finals early Wednesday.

Africa and Leung are the only Asian representatives during the event. Ateneo A is also the second university in Asia to win the championship after BRAC University of Bangladesh won last year.

In this year's finals, contestants debated whether it's preferable to have a world where all individuals have a strong belief in Ubuntu, an African philosophy asserting that an individual's identity is shaped by their relationship with other individuals and their communities. It's sometimes translated as "I am because we are."

Hadar Goldberg of Tel Aviv University, meanwhile, was named best speaker.

The next "Worlds" will be held in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.