What is Worlds?

The World Universities Debating Championship (WUDC) is a parliamentary debating event, held in the ‘British Parliamentary’ competitive debate format. Colloquially it is referred to as ‘Worlds’ and the winners of the competition acknowledged as the ‘World Champions.

Each year the event is hosted by a different university, selected by the World Universities Debating Council at the World Championship taking place. This follows a bidding process conducted at the World Championships held up to two years prior to the tournament.

In its 33 year history Worlds has been held across Europe, North America, Asia and Africa. Yet, Worlds has never been hosted in South Asia. For the first time, we are bringing the World Universities Debating Championship to India.

The tournament is the world's largest debating tournament, and the largest annual international student events in the world. The inaugural Championship was hosted by the Glasgow University Union in January 1981 with 43 teams from 7 nations competing. Since then it has dramatically expanded to an event that hosts over 400 teams (each composed of two individual students) representing over 250 universities of 70 different nations.

Students from the World’s best universities regularly compete. Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale, MIT, Stanford, Monash, Sydney and dozans of other world class universities send their best students. As a result, being crowned ‘World Champion’ is one of the most prestigious titles a student can attain.


The competition involves nine preliminary rounds, which are ‘power-paired’ as the tournament progresses, matching the strongest-performing teams against each other. Two teams form the government (or proposition), and two teams form the opposition, in each debate room (there are roughly 100 occurring simultaneously).

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 one or more deputies.

The nine preliminary rounds are followed by a ‘break’, at which the teams proceeding to the elimination rounds are announced. This is traditionally done just after midnight on the cross over from New Year’s Eve to New Year’s Day. In the current tournament format, 32 teams have proceeded to octo-finals and from there two teams from each room proceed on to quarter-finals, semi-finals and then Grand Final. While preliminary rounds are usually judged by up to three judges, the break rounds are judged by panels of five, and the finals by panels of seven.


Separate breaks are announced for the ‘English-as-a-second-language’ (ESL) and ‘English-as-a-foreign language’ (EFL) team competitions. ESL is a category of competition for those competitors whose native or primary language is not English, but who have adopted English as a second language. EFL is a category of competition for those competitors who may speak English as a further language.

Previous hosts

2014 Rajalakshmi Engineering College, India
2013 Berlin Debating Union, Germany
2012 De La Salle (Manila), Philippines
2011 University of Botswana, Botswana
2010 Koç University, Turkey
2009 University College Cork, Ireland
2008 Assumption University, Thailand
2007 University of British Columbia, Canada
2006 University College Dublin, Ireland
2005 Multimedia University, Malaysia
2004 Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
2003 Stellenbosch University, South Africa
2002 University of Toronto Hart House, Canada
2001 Glasgow University Union, Scotland, United Kingdom
2000 University of Sydney, Australia
1999 Ateneo de Manila University, Philippines
1998 Deree College, Greece
1997 Stellenbosch University, South Africa
1996 University College Cork, Ireland
1995 Princeton University, United States of America
1994 University of Melbourne, Australia
1993 Oxford Union Society, England, United Kingdom
1992 Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
1991 University of Toronto Hart House, Canada
1990 Glasgow University Union, Scotland, United Kingdom
1989 Princeton University, United States of America
1988 Sydney University, Australia
1987 University College Dublin, Ireland
1986 Fordham University, New York, USA
1985 McGill University, Montreal, Canada
1984 Edinburgh University, Scotland, United Kingdom
1983 Princeton University, USA
1982 University of Toronto Hart House, Canada
1981 Glasgow University Union, Scotland, United Kingdom

For attractive air fare deals and tour packages, send your queries to chennaiworlds2014@magtaan.com