Debating in China

The Rollins Debate Team traveled to China to participate in a series of debates with Beijing Foreign Studies University.

On September 12, 2013, the Rollins Debate Team participated in a series of friendly debates and cultural events with students from Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) in Beijing, China. The opening debate, which took place on the campus of BFSU, began with a lecture by Rollins Associate Professor of Philosophy Eric Smaw, who lectured on the American Dream and the Chinese Dream. The two teams then debated whether the government has the right to censor the media in times of emergency. Representing the Rollins Debate Team, Chassidy Cook, David Gevorgyan ’14, and Zohaib Jessani ’16 argued for this, and the BFSU Debate Team argued against it. 

For a few of the debates, a Rollins team member paired with a member of the BFSU team. This series was filmed in the studios of China Central Television and aired on the popular television show Crossover in October. The topics of the debates addressed whether spiritual wealth or material wealth more important in a marriage, whether traditional social networking is better than online social networking, and whether reality TV does more harm than good. The trip ended with David Gevorgyan ’14 presenting a paper at the Boya Forum at Beijing Foreign Studies University.

While in Beijing, the team visited the Great Wall, Beijing National Stadium, Tiananmen Square, and the Forbidden City. They also took a trip to Xi’an, one of the oldest cities in China, where they saw the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the Jianfu Temple, and the Terra Cotta Warriors. Smaw also picked a new nickname during the trip: Shi Mao Lao Shi. In China, students use the phrase “Lao Shi” after a teacher’s last name to mean professor.  “To truly capture Dr. Smaw’s stylish manner of dress, the students added a bit of a twist to his name dubbing him “Shi Mao Lao Shi” meaning professor of fashion,” Cook says. “I think the title is quite fitting.”

Watch the debate on material wealth versus spiritual wealth.
Watch the debate on online networking versus traditional networking.