7 December 2023 Four HWS Debaters to Compete at Worlds
Kayla Powers ’24, Fairooj Suhita ’27, Lamia Nur Rahman ’26 and Sandeep Tissaaratchy ’26 will compete at the World University Debate Championship in Vietnam. Linh Tran '26 will serve on the tournament's tab team and Director of HWS Debate Daniel Schonning '16 will be an adjudicator.
HWS Debate has selected four elite debaters to represent Hobart and William Smith at the 2024 World University Debate Championship in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on Dec. 27-Jan. 5.
HWS Debate has momentum going into Worlds, having had a winning semester. The team won major titles at two of the most competitive tournaments of the year: semifinalists at the United States University Debate Championship and quarterfinalists at the Yale IV Debate Championship.
Based on their success, HWS Debate selected Kayla Powers ’24, Fairooj Suhita ’27, Lamia Nur Rahman ’26 and Sandeep Tissaaratchy ’26 to represent the Colleges. Powers and Suhita and Nur Rahman and Tissaaratchy will compete as two separate teams.
Linh Tran '26 will serve on the tournament's tab team. In debate, positions for judges and speakers in each round are decided using tabbing software that takes into account the results of the previous round, then rotates positions on the table and avoids clashes. The position is an important part of making debate tournaments fair and efficient.
Director of HWS Debate Daniel Schonning '16 will serve as an adjudicator. In 2023 at Worlds in Madrid, Spain, Schonning was honored as one of the best judges of the competition. He chaired a panel of judges in the octofinals and judged the EFL final round.
Both debating teams have had an abundance of accomplishments.
Powers, who is the current president of HWS Debate, has broken records as an HWS debater. They are returning to Worlds after earning a spot in the quarterfinals of the World University Debate Championship in 2023 in Madrid, Spain. Powers also has an impressive record as an adjudicator in the debate circuit.
“Attending Worlds last year was an absolute honor. I eagerly await the privilege of representing HWS on the international platform again this December,” says Powers.
Suhita is a first-year and already an accomplished debater, making it to the semifinal round of the United States University Debate Championship with partner Hudson Chou ’27.
“I'm excited about experiencing the beauty of Vietnam while debating against and being surrounded by incredible debaters. Especially as a first-year, this is a huge privilege as I'm going to get exposure to a highly competitive environment early on and travel,” says Suhita.
Nur Rahman and Tissaaratchy are a formidable team. In 2022-2023, the pair won Novice National Champions, Colgate University Novice Champions, and made it to the quarterfinals of Cornell University. This year, Nur Rahman and Tissaaratchy were awarded the English as a Second Language (ESL) division champions and quarterfinalist of the Yale IV Debate Championship.