IVC forensics team wins debate with visiting Chinese students

The members of the Chinese team with Gary Rybold, President Roquemore, and Irvine Mayor Sukee Kang (Diane Oaks, IVC)

Kati Sweet

In an effort to build international bridges, on Monday, Feb. 2, Irvine Valley College hosted a four-teamed international debate. Eleventh in a series of international debates held on the Irvine Valley campus, two teams came all the way from China to compete.

The eight debaters were: Nina Xue and Helen Qian from Beijing Foreign Studies University; Christopher Hacela and Michael Rodriguez from IVC; Nicole Nabulsi and Michael Andreas from Saddleback College; and Hans Hansi and Carmen Yuan from Xi’an International Studies University.

The topic was “Environmental concerns become less important during times of economic crisis.” After drawing lots to determine their assignments, the candidates were given an hour to prepare for their position. Each of the eight debaters was allotted seven minutes to express their views. The debaters defended their positions with a wide array of examples, including poverty, terrorism, birth defects, and cod and salmon fishing; even Kevin Costner’s ability to survive in the post-apocalyptic movie Waterworld was mentioned.

The IVC Speech and Debate Team has a strong history of gaining recognition, winning first or second in state championships eight times. This night was no exception: after the nine judges voted, the cup was awarded to IVC. The judges were instructed to base their decisions on the manner of presentation and the matter of ideas.

“The goal of the program is intercultural communication, ” said Gary Rybold, coach and director of forensics at IVC . “We want to prepare students for a rapidly-changing world.”

Intercultural communication was indeed the name of the game that night.

Nabulsi, 18, philosophy, said “It was interesting to talk with people with an international perspective versus just thinking with my own frame of mind.”

Debater Xue also found the evening to be educational.

“The point of the debates is to solve problems,” she said. “It taught me a lot, many new ideas I had not considered.”

For Qian, it was about sharing and learning.

“It was awesome to debate with Americans,” she said. “You really get closer to each other.”

Andreas and Rodriguez likewise found the debate to be amazing.

“I have a large respect for the abilities of people whose first language is not English,” Andreas said. “I was very impressed with their arguments.”

“It was great to have the international students here,” Rodriguez concurred. “Every team brought something different.”

Juliana Throckmorton, Saddleback debate coach, said, “Debate is crucial to bring people together and to critique our society through discourse. I am proud to be part of this program.”

Many students were glad to have had the opportunity to go. Greg Richardson, accounting, 21, found the presentation to be very good. “It was entertaining. Anyway, I didn’t fall asleep,” he laughed.

Amandeep Singh, a high school student who attended, also enjoyed the night. “It was interesting to see the different views,” said Singh. “All sides had really strong points.”

Winners of the IVC International Cup with Gary Rybold (Diane Oaks, IVC)

Chris Hacela, Vice President of the Associated Students of Irvine Valley College (Diane Oaks, IVC)

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