The University of
Otago is now ranked among the top debating universities in
the world, alongside the likes of Harvard and Cambridge.
Being ranked among the top 11 universities for next year's
world university debating championships was a reflection of
its performance in the past three championships, when it
defeated some of the world's most prestigious universities.
Otago University Debating Society president John
Brinsley-Pirie said being ranked among the best meant it
would no longer be able to sneak under the radar, as it did
last year, when one of its teams made the top four in the
''There is a bit of pressure now,'' he said.
Having a higher ranking also meant it was able to enter more
teams in the competition, which was a great way of training
The top ranking came as the society was busy preparing to
host the Australasian and Asian inter-varsity debating
championships, known as the Australs, starting at the end of
About 360 people were expected to come to the week-long
The fact Otago University was chosen to host the event, over
Bali, was another sign of respect for Otago's debating
''People are willing to come here [over Bali] even though
it's a miserable place in the middle of winter.''
Preparation included finding rooms in which to hold debates
and recommending people pack winter clothes.
Four qualities that make a top
•Being calm under pressure
•Being able to work as a team
•Being approachable and likeable
SOME OF THE STRANGEST MOTIONS DEBATED BY OTAGO TEAMS
•The merits of going back in time to kill Hitler
•The ethics of taking a hypothetical pill ''that stops