Ghanaian is first black president of World Universities Debating Council

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Antonio Edem Asinyo has won the 2019 World Universities Debate Council (WUDC) presidential election to become the first black person to chair at the 39th world universities debate championships at University of Cape Town, South Africa.

This was after a general meeting by country delegates of the immediate past council, held on January 1, 2019, during the ongoing World Universities Debate Championship in Cape Town.

As coach of the University of Ghana Debate Society, he recently led the debate team to reach the grand finale of the Pan-African Championship for the first time in December 2018.

He also led and won the bid for the Pan-African Championship held in Legon in 2015, which saw the championship come to West Africa for the first time under his auspices as tournament convener.

During the previous World Universities Debate Championship in Mexico, Mr. Asinyo was appointed to the Equity Committee of the championship, which was another historic first for the Ghanaian debate community.

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With this election, he becomes the first Ghanaian to ever rise to this position within the global debate circuit after 39 years of its existence.

The World Universities Debate Council exists to oversee all administrative roles and tasks that surround the annual organization of the championship and as well as matters regarding the welfare of university-level debate globally.

“Positive Change has come to world universities debating, a new dawn of leadership is at hand and will work tirelessly to increase access and awareness of the sport.

“I will work tirelessly with other members of this council, providing the needed leadership that will make inspire change”, Antonio said moments after his election.

His election comes with that of other executives, including Julio Meyer from Mexico (Registrar), Tsiamo Malatji from South Africa (Secretary) and Kerrin R-s from New Zealand (Equity Officer), They will be serving a one-year renewable term as world council executives.

The election of Antonio Edem Asinyo now puts the spotlight on the University of Ghana at the global level and is a positive indicator of the prospects of debate for the university community, as well as the dawn of a new age to many across Africa.

Antonio succeeds Nishith Hedge from the University of Edinburgh as Chair and shall serve in this respect during the next world championship to be held in Thailand, 2020.

This tournament is the world’s largest debating competition, and one of the largest annual international student events in the world.

The inaugural championship was hosted by the Glasgow University Union in January 1981, with 43 teams from 7 nations competing.

Since then it has dramatically grown to an event that hosts over 400 teams (each comprised of two students), representing more than 380 universities from 80 different nations.

Students from the world’s best universities regularly compete. Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Monash, Stanford, Sydney and dozens of other world-class institutions send their best students. As a result, being crowned ‘World Champion’ is one of the most prestigious titles a student can attain.

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