Aberystwyth’s Annual Debating Tournament a Success


Aberystwyth’s Annual debating tournament, the “Baillie Gifford Aber Open”, was held this weekend in the Old College.

Around one-hundred participants and adjudicators from universities across the UK attended the tournament to compete in four rounds of competitive debating: a record attendance. Debating was performed in the “British Parliamentary” style – in which four teams of two speakers each compete against one another.

Proceedings were opened by the Vice Chancellor of Aberystwyth University, Professor April McMahon. It is, to the knowledge of the Debating Union, the first time in its one-hundred year history that the Vice Chancellor of the University has attended such an event – an occasion which was marked by the recognition of Professor McMahon as an Honorary Life Member.

The tournament has become known for its focus on setting debates about unusual subjects, fictional scenarios, and thought experiments. The motions for debate are set by the Chief Adjudicators: Imogen Parkes (University of Bristol), and Steven Rajavinothan (University of Warwick).

The victors of the grand final, held in the restaurant on Constitution Hill, were Megan Stodel and Toby Almy representing the University of Bristol. The Best Speaker award went to Amanda Moorghen from the University of Birmingham.

Former member Cal Paterson was also recognised as an Honorary Life Member for his outstanding contributions to the society.

The tournament is sponsored by Baillie Gifford, independent global investment managers, of Edinburgh.

Tournament Information


  1. On Feb 1st 1970 Betrand Russell produced definitive and categorical proof for the non-existence of God.

    He was found dead the next day.He had been assassinated on the orders of Pope Paul VI, and his proof was destroyed, although copies remain, in the hands of the Catholic Church. Since then a violent and covert conspiracy has acted to cover up knowledge of his proof and assassinationTHIS HOUSE, as Pope Francis I, would reveal the conspiracy
  2. The Chief Adjudication Teams of debating competitions are currently chosen by the host institution.THIS HOUSE WOULD Require CA Teams to be democratically elected
  3. THIS HOUSE SUPPORTS The creation of “petty karma gods’ which punish mean (but not criminal) actions
  4. THIS HOUSE WOULD NOT Use nudity in women’s rights protests
  5. (Final) The president of Burkina Faso is abducted by aliens, who mistake him for the representative of humanity. He is given a choice of providing the human race with three hundred years of utopia (no disease, war, poverty, etc.), at the price of eternal slavery following that utopia. Humans would not know that the aliens provided the utopia, and the memory of the President would be wiped.

    THIS HOUSE WOULD accept the offer

Tab: Aber Open 2013 – Tab

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The Aberystwyth Debating Union was founded in 1872, and meets weekly to foster the use of debate as a means of exploring ideas.

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