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Linfield speakers take part in international Skype debate

Linfield CollegeLinfield College forensics students connected with peers from around the world during a recent Skype debate.

The Debate Without Borders Skype Tournament, hosted by Afghans for Progressive Thinking, was held during the day in Kabul, Afghanistan. For Linfield, the first round began at 9 p.m. and continued through the night.

In addition to Linfield, the tournament included teams from Ibn e Sina University, Saudi Arabia; Kahmir University, India; KPU University, Canada; and Kabul University, Herat University, Mazar University and Karwan University, all from Afghanistan. The teams participated in five rounds of IPDA debate via Skype.

Linfield students alternated participating in rounds, reached the final round of the tournament and received second place overall. Students include sophomore Caleb Snodgrass of Canby; and freshmen Chris Hu of Hilo, Hawaii, Lacie McElvain of Fallon, Nev., Robin Seiler-Garman of Sunnyvale, Calif., Ellie Forness of Dayton and Murphy Jackson of Mount Hood Parkdale.

“It was a great experience and allowed us to interact with students we normally would not be able to,” said Forness.

The tournament provided opportunities for cultural exchange and understanding, said Jackson Miller, Linfield director of forensics and professor of communication arts, who judged a round of debate between a team from Afghanistan and a team from the Indian region of Kashmir.

“It was amazing how open the students were in their discussions of issues as difficult as the treatment of Muslim minorities in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir,” Miller said. “These kinds of dialogues are made possible by the format of debate and by the ability to bring these students together via Skype.”

The Linfield forensics team is one of the oldest in the country and focuses on competitive speech and debate. For more information about the program, contact Miller at 503-883-2625, jmiller@linfield.edu.