Insights & Media

Insights & Media

Shanghai International Debate Open (SIDO) 2016

April 18

Two Learning Leaders students, Alina Zhu and Cindy Zhao, competed in the 2nd Shanghai International Debate Open (SIDO) held at the Shanghai University of Finance of Economics (SUFE) on the weekend of April 25th to 27th. This competition was one of the largest British Parliamentary debate competitions ever held in China. Hundreds of students and judges gathered from around the world to make this a truly remarkable and high caliber event. Attendees represented some of the top universities from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Korea and other parts of the world. Expert adjudicators were brought in from around the world to guarantee the highest quality adjudication of the debates and a unique educational experience for the students.

In the British Parliamentary debate style the debate topic is announced and the students are only given 15 minutes to prepare, during which time they are not allowed to consult with anyone or access the internet. Each member of the two-person team must prepare to deliver a 7-minute speech either in support or opposition to the topic at hand. The topics were as interesting as they were challenging. They included such topics as: “Assuming they work, this house would ban the use of ‘smart drugs’ in academic examinations”;  “This house believes that the newly elected National League of Democracy (NLD) in Myanmar should grant citizenship to the Rohingya”; “This house believes development aid should be conditional on the improvement of women’s welfare”; “This house believes Britain should exit the European Union”; “This house would ban the inheritance of land”; and others. The topics moved between social and ethical controversies, international relations disputes, global trade policy, and the internal affairs of particular nations in the world. Success in such a competition requires a wide-ranging perspective and background knowledge of pressing contemporary controversies.


Cindy & Alina, both 10th graders at the Shanghai American School Puxi Campus, were by far the youngest students in attendance at the competition. In this, their first ever, British Parliamentary debate competition, they ranked 40th out of nearly 150 teams. The were very close to making it to the elimination rounds and missed by a single point. In British Parliamentary debate there are four teams in each debate and at the end of the debate the judge assigns points to each team: First place receives 3 points, 2nd place receives 2 points, 3rd place receives 1 point and 4th place receives zero points. After 6 preliminary debates, Cindy & Alina had accumulated 10 points and they needed 11 points to break into the elimination rounds. This fantastic achievement speaks to the dedication and bravery of these two brilliant young women. The Learning Leaders family is very proud of their performance and inspired by their perseverance.

Similar British Parliamentary debates are held throughout China and the world and we look forward to attending more such events in the future and expanding opportunities for our young leaders to showcase their skills and further develop their public speaking and debate abilities.





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