QE debaters’ competition success places them in august company

Two QE boys have been selected to take part in the national final of a renowned debating competition. Ravi Karia and Jathieesan Umaasuthan, of Year 10, will compete in the final of the International Competition for Young Debaters in the hallowed halls of the Cambridge Union Society – the scene of countless speeches by leading statesmen and other public figures over the past two centuries.

“My congratulations go to both Ravi and Jathieesan,” said English teacher Tom Quinn, who oversaw QE’s entry to the competition. “They put in an excellent performance in the regional heats and thoroughly deserve their place in the national finals.”

""The QE team at the regional heats, which took place at the New College of the Humanities in Bloomsbury, also included Tej Mehta, of Year 9, and Jamie Watkin-Rees, of Year 8. “They did a tremendous job amidst some very tough competition,” said Mr Quinn.

More than 800 students from four continents entered the competition this year. Ravi and Jathieesan performed strongly in opposing the motion ‘All religious schools should be banned’, while Jamie was given a special mention by the adjudicators after being pronounced the joint-fifth best speaker at the event. “This was a great achievement, especially considering he was by far the youngest person there,” added Mr Quinn.

""The competition is for pupils aged 12-15 and aims to provide an opportunity for participants to improve their public speaking skills through constructing arguments, researching topics and engaging with current affairs. It also gives them the chance to meet entrants from other parts of the world.

Ravi and Jathieesan will debate at the Cambridge Union, the oldest debating society in the world and Cambridge University’s largest student society. It was founded in 1815 and celebrates its bicentenary this year. Past speakers at the Union include Winston Churchill, US President Theodore Roosevelt, the first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru, theoretical physicist Professor Stephen Hawking, and actors Dame Judi Dench and Bill Nighy.