Nottingham defeats Harvard at 2011 International Varsity Debate

24 Oct 2011 16:07:20.180

PA 329/11

A team from The University of Nottingham have overcome students from Harvard at the 2011 International Varsity Debate organised by Central China Television.

Aired on the state TV channel to a potential audience in excess of one billion people, the Nottingham team of Ricky Jeavons, Kenrick Davis and Peter McSweeney held their nerve to come out as winners in the debate asking — ‘When getting married, should your spouse love you more than you love them?’

After the debate Peter, an MA student in English/Chinese Interpretation and Translation, explained: “Although the debate subject may seem odd to us, it is a question often debated in China.

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“Knowing how many people could be watching made the early exchanges extremely nerve-wracking, but we soon relaxed and enjoyed the experience. The competition was fantastic and gave us the opportunity to meet fellow Chinese language learners and native speakers from all over the world.”

For his performance during the debate, Peter was presented with the ‘Best Debater’ prize for the second year in succession. The University’s School of Contemporary Chinese Studies (SCCS) was also celebrating after its students — Ricky and Kenrick — followed in the footsteps of two of the School’s PhD students who won second prize last November at the ninth International Varsity Debate.

Professor Shujie Yao, SCCS Head of School and Director of Nottingham Confucius Institute, congratulated the students on their success and added: “The continuous success of SCCS students in the International Varsity Debates signifies the remarkable achievements of the School and demonstrates that SCCS can produce the best students in Chinese Studies.”

Sixteen participating teams took part in the four-day competition, separated into two groups, with eight teams competing as native Mandarin speakers and eight teams competing as non-native Mandarin speakers. Each team competed in one debate, with a best debater selected from each event.

The eight non-native Mandarin speaking teams included those from Harvard University, Princeton University, The University of Nottingham, The University of Sheffield, Moscow State University, The University of Melbourne, Tel Aviv University and The University of Heidelberg.


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Notes to editors: SCCS was formed in January 2007 from the merger of the former Institute of Contemporary Chinese Studies and the China Policy Institute at The University of Nottingham. The school offers various study opportunities at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, as well as a Mandarin language programme ranging from beginners’ modules to advanced training in translation. More than 400 students have registered to take Mandarin modules this semester and over 60 Nottingham staff and local residents are currently taking part in evening Mandarin classes offered by the Nottingham Confucius Institute.

The University of Nottingham, described by The Sunday Times University Guide 2011 as ‘the embodiment of the modern international university’, has award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. It is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 75 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and the QS World University Rankings. It was named ‘Europe’s greenest university’ in the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking, a league table of the world’s most environmentally-friendly higher education institutions, which ranked Nottingham second in the world overall.

The University is committed to providing a truly international education for its 40,000 students, producing world-leading research and benefiting the communities around its campuses in the UK and Asia. Impact: The Nottingham Campaign, its biggest ever fund-raising campaign, will deliver the University’s vision to change lives, tackle global issues and shape the future. For more details, visit:  

More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranked the University 7th in the UK by research power.

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Story credits

Harry Waddle

Harry Waddle - Students Communications Officer

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 823 2353 Location: University Park

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