[Press & Publications] The Great Debate and a Mission to Mars

March 2000

No 35

The University of Leicester will host its first ever inter-varsity debating competition organised by its Debating Society on Friday 3 and Saturday 4 March 2000.

A major national event, the 2000 KPMG Inter-Varsity Tournament will draw more than 32 teams keen to air their debating skills, from universities across the country.

Vishal Nangalia, a medical student from the University of Leicester, a member of the Debating Society and organiser of the competition, explained the process the competing teams will undergo.

"The theme of the entire competition is space, representing innovation and achievements of mankind. All the teams will take part in 5 tab rounds and the best 8 will go on to the semi-finals, which is a knockout round. The two winning teams in each semi will go on to the final round, which will debate the motion, 'This house would put a man on Mars.'"

Judging the final round will be Professor Robert Burgess, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester; Dr Paul Roche, Education Manager, National Space Science Centre; Mr Michael Nicholson, distinguished ITN foreign correspondent, University of Leicester Graduate and Patron of the University's Debating Society; and Mr Sean O'Grady, Leader-Writer on The Independent. Other judges will include accomplished debaters, including Mr Matt Bhutt, President of the University of London Union.

Prize money totalling 900 will be won, with the best team in the final round walking away with 600. Associate sponsors for the competition are Deloitte & Touche.

As if the competition will not provide excitement enough, there will be limited opportunities for participants to embark on a Mission to Mars at the Challenger Learning Centre during Saturday morning. Vishal Nangalia promises it will not be an easy ride. "We have been told that there will be hundreds of emergencies programmed into this," he said.

The Challenger Learning Centre is the first major public component of Leicester's 46.5 million National Space Science Centre, a Landmark Millennium project supported by funds from the Millennium Commission. Set up in the United States as a tribute to the people who died in the 1986 Challenger shuttle disaster, its aim is to encourage study and careers in science. Groups of school students become astronauts on a space station and scientists working at Mission Control, spending two-three hours on a simulated space mission. The National Space Science Centre is home to the first Challenger Learning Centre outside North America. The University of Leicester and Leicester City Council are co-founders of the National Space Science Centre.

The Inter-Varsity debating competition is open to the public and free of charge. Registration is between 4-6 pm in the Garendon Suite, Charles Wilson Building, University of Leicester. The event will conclude with the Imperial Ball on Saturday night, for which a limited number of tickets may be available to the public.

Full programme details are available from Vishal Nangalia, Inter-Varsity Convenor, Leicester Debating Society, tel 07939 233580, emails debate@le.ac.uk, valien@hotmail.com

Note to editors: Further details are available from Vishal Nangalia, Inter-Varsity Convenor, Leicester Debating Society, tel 07939 233580, emails debate@le.ac.uk, valien@hotmail.com

Friday 3 March

4-6 pm: Registration, Garendon Suite,

Charles Wilson Building, University of Leicester

6-7 pm: Welcome speech and introduction

7-10 pm: First two competition rounds

Saturday 4 March

8.30 am: Registration for Mission to Mars teams,

Challenger Learning Centre

10.00 am: Re-registration for teams, Garendon Suite,

Charles Wilson Building

11.30 am-5.30 pm: Competition (Lunch 12.30-1.00 pm)

6.00 pm: Announce Grand Final

6.15-8 pm: Final round, followed by speeches

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Last updated: 07 March 2000 15:51
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