Rollins Debate Team Takes Top Spot in Jamaica

Rollins debaters took home first- and second-place wins in the Jamaica Debate Academy and Open 2018.

This past December, two members of the Rollins Debate Team traveled to Kingston, Jamaica, to compete against approximately 110 other colleges in the Debate Academy and Open 2018. This is the third annual debating event organized by the Jamaican Associate for Debating and Empowerment (JADE)—a national umbrella organization dedicated to the advancement of debating, public speaking, and critical thinking in Jamaica. JADE partnered with the University of Technology, which hosted the British Parliamentary debate on its Papine campus. 

Rollins’ team finished in first place overall, with first-place speaker going to philosophy major Kelsey Eelman ’20 and second place to economics and philosophy double major James Payne ’20 on the topic of nepotism in the Jamaican government. The question at stake was whether or not choosing someone you know who is qualified for a position is actually an issue.

“Beacuse of the holistic training we get on the debate team at Rollins, we’re not only prepared for the competition, but also for interacting with different cultures and different people,” says Eelman. “Participating in an international debate was so amazing because I got to hear arguments from a global perspective and see how important debate is in the lives of the young people in Jamaica.”

The debate team is hard at work preparing for the three remaining national championship tournaments of the season, which will kick off with the Ethics Bowl in early March.