The Irvine Valley College’s Speech and Debate Team hosted a traveling team from Great Britain on Monday, Oct. 7, to argue whether the US/Russia diplomacy on Syria did more harm than good.
The format of the hour-long debate was a selected member from each two-person team was given an allotted time to make a speech and a member from the opposing team could intercede afterwards.
Aditya Sharma, a 20-year-old business economics major, and Dellara Gorjan, a 19-year-old undefined major, were the IVC team captains. Sharma, a third-year student who plans to transfer to Cal State Long Beach, argued that America was taking the best course of action, by entering negotiations with Russia. Gorjan, an aspiring musician with over a million hits on her YouTube video, agreed with her partner.
“Diplomacy is the first step; dialogue is needed” Sharma said.
The British team agreed that diplomacy is a step in the right the direction, but at the same time expressed cautious pessimism about the sincerity of such an agreement.
“Diplomacy between Russia and the US has been utterly ineffective thus far,” British team co-captain Charlie Morris said. “Of course diplomacy is needed, but in the past it has been inconsistent.”
Morris’s partner and fellow co-captain Neshay Aqueel agreed.
“So far diplomacy has acted like a little child,” she said.
Aqueel has a vast background in competitive debating. She was voted best speaker at the ESU Pakistan National Public Speaking Competition in 2009. She was also a part of the Pakistani National Debating team, which competed in the World Schools Debating Competition in 2010. Her squad prospered, reaching the quarterfinals.
Morris also is an experienced debater. Upon graduating with a first-class degree in hHistory and politics from the University of Sheffield, Morris was an active member of the UK debating circuit. Morris competed in tournaments in London, Dublin, Paris, and Budapest. Morris also coached speaking delegations in Israel, Rwanda, and Turkey.
The debate ended in a tie, and both sides cordially embraced afterwards.