CULTURE

Greek students do well in debate

Five students represented Greece at the 16th World Schools Debating Championship held in Stuttgart, Germany, from February 11-21. Against stiff competition from teams from 29 countries, the Panhellenic Forensics team finished in third place, the highest position ever achieved by a team whose first language is not English. The aims of the WSD Championships are to achieve excellence in debating, to encourage debating throughout the world, to promote international understanding and to promote free speech. The Championships first took place in Australia in 1988, with six teams taking part, and have since grown to their present size, including teams from six continents. During the preliminary rounds, the team from Greece had decisive victories over New Zealand and Scotland, teams that have won past tournaments. Greece went on to beat Wales, then Peru in the quarterfinals, before losing to South Africa in the semifinal. The winner of the Championships was Australia. The Panhellenic Forensics Association has been holding debating competitions in English for over 20 years, and decided to send a team to the World Championships in 1999. Its highest ranking until this year was eighth place. The players The team from Greece was selected after a competition held in Athens, and the students chosen this year were: Roxanne Krystalli, Anatolia College; Dimitris Samouris, St Lawrence College; Eleni Gati, Pierce College, and Leon Pappas and Spyros Alogoskoufis from the Hellenic American Educational Foundation. The teams that take part engage in intense training and have to prepare for four debates on set topics, such as «This house would make use of GM crops to feed the world.» The other debates are impromptu, with one hour to prepare. The coaches of the team were Effie Yiannakouri, a graduate of Pierce College; Irianna Kouri, a graduate of Geitonas School, and Helen Koliais, a teacher at Anatolia College.