A Rwandan Debate Team has won the Rollins Cup at the conclusion of a debate against the Rollins College Debate Team, USA.
The Rollins Cup is a prestigious trophy awarded to the winner of the annual “Great Debate”, which is traditionally contested between the Rollins College debate team and a debating society from the international community.
The contest is in its 11th year, and past contestants for the trophy have included debate teams from the world renowned Oxford and Cambridge universities.
On the winning Rwandan team were Mekha Rousseau Ndayisenga and Kellia Kaneze, a student at Wellspring Academy.
They argued against the motion that “The US should intervene or invade in cases of Genocide”.
The team is one of two that are currently touring universities & colleges across US states as part of iDebate Rwanda’s “Voices from a Post-Genocide Generation” tour.
Jean-Michel Habineza, founder of iDebate Rwanda and the brain behind the tour, which is currently in its 4th edition, says that through public lectures, presentations and debates, the tour aims at creating awareness about the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, but also at helping people understand that mass violence doesn’t happen overnight, and that everyone can play a role in making sure it doesn’t occur by recognizing early signs and working to stop them.
He says the tour also highlights how mass violence affects not only those directly caught in its crosshairs, but also the post-conflict generation on many levels; and emphasizes how debate in Rwanda is being used to cultivate a culture that counters some of the socio/cultural factors that allowed for the genocide to occur.
Through debate, young people understand that their voice matters, and that they can use it to question harmful rhetoric and be agents of change.
This year’s tour will see the two iDebate Rwanda delegations go to 24 universities in 15 states.
Jean-Michel’s team will be the first to return, arriving on November 1, 2018.
Apart from the US Tour, iDebate Rwanda’s other programs include the year-long Kigali Debate League, the East African Debate Championship and an end-of-year camp called the Dreamers Academy. To know more about iDebate Rwanda’s work, visit their website: www.debaterwanda.org