By No Sophearith
On September 16, four University of Cambodia Speech and Debate Society (UCSDS) members joined a debate competition focused on climate change at TVK. The event was hosted by the Ministry of Environment. Teams from the following four universities participated in the event: University of Cambodia (UC), Chenla University, Royal University of Phnom Penh and Cambodia Mekong University. The four teams debated three motions, the first of which was that nuclear energy can help tackle the problems of climate change. The second motion was that climate change must be considered in issues of development, and the third motion was that climate change affects natural resources in the Tonle Sap River.
|UCSDS debaters representing the University of Cambodia|
The four students selected to represent UC in the debate were Lay Sophanith, No Sophearith, Ouch Leakhina, and Pich Sophealeak. They were advised by Ieng Chankreusna, President of UCSDS, and the student organization’s advisors, Gina Lopez, Peter Tan Keo, and Seng-Dao Keo. The debaters and other members of UCSDS spent more than one month researching the topic, preparing strategies, and rehearsing their remarks.
The UC debaters argued the pro side of the first motion and, although they delivered an impressive team argument, they lost in the first round by one point. All of the debaters demonstrated great resilience and character afterwards, saying that defeat is just a lesson in life and overcoming it can make an individual even stronger.
“On the competition day, there was a group of more than 10 UC students and [Executive members] who attended the event, including Peter Tan Keo, Seng-Dao Keo, and Gina Lopez,” said Sophealeak. “They went to support us at TVK, which made us feel extremely proud and warm.”
|Students and Associate Dean Gina Lopez posed for pictures at the competition.|
She also added that, “For us, we lost in the debate, but we won a lot more than a title. We won recognition from our advisors and friends; we gained knowledge and experience; and we strengthened friendships. It is hard to find this type of experience anywhere else.”
Leakhina also felt disappointed by the results at first, but she said that she has learned much from the experience in terms of public speaking and team work. She believes she has gained more confidence and is more open to receiving feedback from others and sharing with others.
“Although our team lost in the competition, this failure for me is not real failure in life, but another step that pushes me to move towards success,” said Leakhina.
|A number of UC students went to the event to support their friends and the University.|
Sophanith agreed with this and said, “As long as we keep trying our best, success will always be with us. We have to dare to fail, learn from failure, build strength from our failures, and understand failure.”
Like my three teammates, I have not lost hope in our debating abilities and believe that the UCSDS will have many more opportunities to win. We may have lost this debate, but in real life, we have not lost because the word ‘lose’ is for those who completely give up and no longer try after they encounter an obstacle. And, that, we will never do.
Source: UC Bulletin September 2011, Page 26