Since 1981, the WUDC has brought together bright scholars from across the world to engage a diversity of crucial policy, political and philosophical debates.
About the tournament
WUDC is the world's largest debating tournament, and one of the largest annual international student events in the world. WUDC is parliamentary debating tournament held in British Parliamentary Debate format (involving four teams of two people in each debate).
Each year, the event is hosted by a university selected by the World Universities Debating Council. The tournament is colloquially referred to as "Worlds" and the winners of the open competition acknowledged as the "world champions"
The championship is usually held in the period between 27 December - 04 January. In most recent years, the nine preliminary rounds of the tournament have been held over three days from 29–31 December, with the elimination rounds being held on 2 January and the Grand Final on 3 January.
In recent years, the championship has varied from about 150 to 400 teams, depending on the capacity of the host institution. With judges and organisers, this involves 500 to 1,000 participants in all.
The competition involves nine preliminary rounds, which become "power-paired" as the tournament progresses, matching the strongest-performing teams against each other. The process of scoring and pairing these teams is known as "tabbing". The scoring of teams is done by judges, most of whom are students or former students from the competing institutions, who return "ballots" with their scores to the adjudication team, led by a Chief Adjudicator who is assisted by deputies.
The nine preliminary rounds are followed by a "break" at which the teams proceeding to elimination rounds are announced. This is traditionally done on New Year's Eve, although this is subject to the timing of the tournament. In the current tournament format, the top 16 teams from the preliminary rounds proceed to the octofinal round. The teams ranked 17-48 also break into a partial double octofinal round, and the winning teams from this round join the teams ranked 1-16 in the octo-finals. While preliminary rounds are usually judged by three to five judges, the break rounds are judged by panels of five, semifinal judged by panels of seven and the finals by panels of nine.
Separate breaks are announced for the English-as-a-second language (ESL) and English-as-a-foreign language (EFL) team competitions, for the individual public speaking competition, and the "World Masters" tournament which is participated in by judges (most of whom are no longer students) representing the countries where they studied or of which they are citizens.