Cornell's Speech & Debate Society, led by ILR Senior Lecturer Sam Nelson and Assistant Speech & Debate Director Lindsay Bing, traveled to South Africa this spring to facilitate a debate and leadership workshop at the Midrand Graduate Institute.
The institute is a private higher education center offering bachelor's degrees and professional training to students from across the continent. It is located in Midrand, a suburb of Johannesburg.
In partnership with Pearson, the Speech & Debate Society sent eight undergraduates to help teach the fundamentals of debate, establish a debate society and develop peer-to-peer relationships with the students.
The 10-day program began May 20 by introducing nearly 75 students to debate for the first time and concluded with a three-round tournament among the students.
In addition to the workshop with institute students, Nelson and Bing also coached 25 post-graduate students from the University of Witwatersrand at a debate-centered leadership and communication workshop.
Rubin Danberg-Biggs, A&S '18, who assisted at the events, said, "Most of the students had never seen a debate before, but by the end of the program, they were speaking like they had done it for years."
Two institute students, Leonard Muyambo and Palesa Mojapelo, won the Pearson-Cornell Camp Fellowship Award.
Leo and Palesa will travel to Ithaca in August to act as teaching assistants for the Cornell International Summer Debate Camp.
In addition to Danberg-Biggs, other undergraduate speech and debate members assisting during the South Africa programs included ILR students Alex Klein '18, Rebecca Blair '17 and Lauren Kelly '18; Samir Salih, CALS '19; Catherine Yu, A&S '19; Emma Rose Wirshing, Eng '19, and Ankur Biswas, Eng '17.