The Official Page for the Patrick Henry College British Parliamentary Debate Team
10 Patrick Henry Cir
In 2010, the Patrick Henry College debate team stood at a crossroads. Traditional, or “American-style,” avenues of parliamentary debate had witnessed a deterioration in quality. A focus on “speed-and-spread” argumentation - essentially, spitting out as many arguments as possible in a short time, with no regard for actual substance or communication - caused a jarring transition for PHC debaters fresh off the NCFCA/Stoa circuit. And then, PHC discovered Worlds - or “British Parliamentary” - debate. With only 15 minutes of preparation time, BP debaters are thrust into high-stakes arguments centered on critical current-events topics (example: “This house would put boots on the ground in Syria”). Four teams of two speakers each - two defending the Proposition in question, and two opposing - employ logic, charisma, and razor-sharp wit to achieve success. Combining extemporaneous and impromptu speaking skills with elements of both team-policy and Lincoln-Douglas debating styles, British Parli proved to be truly the best of all worlds. In this new league, PHC quickly established itself as a school to be reckoned with. When two PHC freshmen brought home a victory in the novice finals at Rochester, this point was driven home with force. In 2011, 2 PHC teams competed at the annual Inter-Varsity tournament in Cambridge, England, foreshadowing a coming emphasis on international travel. Aiming for success on the world stage, in 2012 PHC sent teams to Toronto, Oxford, and Cambridge. When PHC finished in the top 20% of teams at Oxford, a powerful message was sent to the rest of academia: Christian conservatives aren’t afraid of engaging the culture; instead, they’re shattering outmoded stereotypes without compromising integrity. The 2012-2013 season was further highlighted by PHC’s finish, with a winning record, at the 2013 World Universities Debating Championship in Berlin, Germany. As PHC’s debate team continues to ascend up the global rankings, its members and coaches are eager to see what the future holds.
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