Bermuda To Host Host Pan-American Debates

July 11, 2013

Students, coaches, and judges from seven countries will convene in Bermuda from July 23 to July 29, 2013, for the Pan-American Debate Championships. Debates are held in both English and Spanish, with a champion team being selected in each language.

The preliminary debates will take place at CedarBridge Academy on July 24, 25, and 26; the semi-finals and finals will be on July 28. These debates are open to the public and the full schedule can be seen on the tournament website.

The students selected to represent Bermuda are between 14 and 18 years of age and attend several different high schools, including The Berkeley Institute, The Bermuda High School for Girls, and Saltus Grammar School.

The Bermudian debaters are: Hannah Blyden, William Campbell,Lillian Griffiths, Eron Hill, Kimika Jackson, Nicholas Pell, William [Liam]Peniston, Glenn Simmons, Jashonae Smith, and Megan Suttcliffe.

They are coached by Christianna Hiles and Gladstone Thompson, each of whom has previously coached the Bermuda national debate teams at both Pan-American Debate Championships and World Schools Debating Championships.

The other countries sending representatives to the tournament are: Argentina, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Peru and the United States of America.

Marisa Sharpe, Tournament Convener and board member of the Bermuda Debate Society, stated, “After months of preparation, we are so excited to welcome 85 visitors from across the Americas to Bermuda for the Pan-American Debate Championships. It is a fantastic opportunity for our students, both those participating in the debates and those who want to watch. We hope that the community will come and get involved.”

“Of course, we wanted to ensure that our guests could actually experience some Bermudian culture and flavor during their time here,” continued Ms. Sharpe, “so we included some activities to show them more than the hotel and debate venues.”

In addition to the debates, participants will be treated to receptions with the Governor of Bermuda, George Fergusson; Premier of Bermuda, Craig Cannonier, and the Mayor of Hamilton, Graeme Outerbridge. On the activity day, the participants will receive a taste of Dockyard and explore the ocean with a boat ride provided by Catlin.

Stated Richard Hillen, tournament fundraiser and Vice President of the Bermuda Debate Society, “We are incredibly fortunate to have received the support of multiple donors and sponsors. We thank each of the following organizations for their generosity, without which, this tournament would not be possible: Bank of Bermuda Foundation, ACE, XL, Renaissance Re, Catlin, Validus, Montpelier Re, Partner Re, Department of Youth and Sports, CedarBridge Board of Governors-Department of Education, Axis, Attride-Stirling&Woloniecki, Conyers Dill &Pearman, Zurich, and the Bermuda Junior Service League.”

The students are also raising funds to offset their own registrations costs. They are holding a bake sale on July 17 from 9:00am to 2:00pm at Market Place Church Street.

Ms. Sharpe continued, “We have many volunteer opportunities for people looking to get involved, whether for an hour or a day or the whole tournament. From making sure our guests get on the buses to the debate venue to taking pictures during the events to helping people find their way around the schools, there are multiple ways of helping that can fit into any schedule.”

Anyone interested in volunteering during the tournament or donating to the Bermuda Debate Society is encouraged to email

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