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Health, youth issues take center stage in Global Health Debates

From left to right: Adjudication Core members Dr. Lee Yarcia (University of the Philippines College of Law), Josh Zoffer (Harvard University) and Dan Corder (University of Cape Town), pose with the Grand Champions David Glynn Harris and Yashodhan Nair (University of Cape Town) and other Adjudication Core members John McKee (University of Glasgow), Karin Merckens (Leiden University) and Syed Saddiq (International Islamic University Malaysia). Global Health Debates

MANILA, Philippines – The first youth-led Global Health Debates (GHD) held last August 23 to 27 at the Philippine International Convention Center focused on international health issues tackled through competitive debating with participants from all over the world.

The debate was different among the usual brand of Filipino-organized tournaments as it focused on only one theme which was health and it accepted international participants. The participants included debaters and adjudicators from premier universities in the world who contributed to the rich discourse in the tournament. The adjudication core was headed by Dr. Lee Edson Yarcia from the University of the Philippines Manila Debate Circle, featuring world champions and world-class judges from countries such as the United States, the Netherlands, South Africa, Scotland and Malaysia.

The adjudication core created health-focused motions for the five preliminary rounds and three elimination rounds, where teams from 17 various countries including Nepal, United States, Jamaica and South Korea battled in the British Parliamentary format of competitive debating provided with only 15 minutes of preparation before the round.

The teams were compelled to give the most logical and persuasive speech to win the $3,000 grand prize.

The grand finals round was a match among teams from the International Islamic University Malaysia, Asia Pacific University-Monash University, University of Cape Town and University of Otago held during the last day where David Glynn Harris and Yashodhan Nair from the University of Cape Town, South Africa emerged as the eventual champions, speaking as closing government.

Meanwhile, the Philippine teams competing in the tournament, Santo Tomas: Karel Cartagena and Bolo Pascual from University of Santo Tomas; Ateneo 1: Mike Agoncillo and Gerard Valerio from Ateneo de Manila University; De La Salle 1: Mikee De Vega and Jason Dizon of De La Salle University; and DLSU 2: Gio Cortes and Razhev Requejo, reached the quarterfinals. A composite team, Beda-MARA with Jayson Maulit from San Beda College and Mai Mokshein from University Teknologi MARA, Malaysia, reached the semifinals. Team UP Manila Aloysius Bresnan and Gianica Monteagudo also capped their run in the semifinals.

GHD provided the opportunity for health-interested students and student debaters to focus on health and impact change through debate. GHD is an innovative platform for youth discussion formulated as part of the Global Forum on Research and Innovation for Health 2015 where 15 countries gathered to debate on key health issues which include food security and safety, capacity building, investment models, disaster risk reduction and social accountability.

The event was organized by the University of the Philippines Manila Debate Circle in partnership with Council on Research for Development, Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, Department of Health, Department of Science and Technology, Health Sector Catalyst, the Philippine Debate Union, and the Asia Medical Students. - Rosette Adel

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