From left: Ian Chan, Jiang Rong and Alex Choo.
College Street Music Hall – an iconic theatre in New Haven, with state-of-the-art production facilities – was certainly a befitting venue to host the opening ceremony of the Tournament of Champions at World Scholar’s Cup held at Yale University on the 10th of November, 2017.
It was amidst much excitement and fanfare that the ceremony kicked off with a moving opening speech by the founder of World Scholar’s Cup – Daniel Berdichevsky. Scholars were also treated to a stunning medley of songs by Yale University’s female a capella group – “Something Extra”. The highlight of the ceremony was definitely the immersive, engaging and thought-provoking talk on Biomedical Ethics by a Yale Professor. We were challenged on the issues of using animals for human research and also on the emergence of xenotransplantation (the process of grafting or transplanting organs or tissues between members of different species.). We were also fortunate enough to meet with the Malaysian Ambassador to the United States, Tan Sri Datuk Zulhasnan Rafique.
Throughout the next few days of the competition, we were able to meet and interact with 2,000 energetic, passionate and loud scholars from 50 countries. It was certainly an eye-opening experience exchanging ideas and listening to new perspectives on many issues with them. We also learned about the diverse culture of each country from our new-found friends, some who came from as far as Slovenia and Kenya.
The theme of this year’s Tournament was “An Unlikely World” and consisted of six subjects: Science, History, Literature, Arts, Special Area and Social Studies. There were four events that we participated in which were: Team Debate, Scholar’s Challenge (a gruelling quiz which tests individual scholar’s about the six subjects), Collaborative Writing and Scholar’s Bowl (a team quiz about the six subjects). We worked cohesively as a team. We learned to communicate and think as a whole, and this strategy worked well, especially in the Team Debating and in Scholars’ Bowl – a clicker challenge where scores are based on the difficulty of the questions (we were ranked 56th out of 650 teams).
The most challenging and intriguing part of the competition was the Debates, as our opponents were much older teams from Japan, Canada and India. With thought-provoking topics such as “We should plan for the worst” and “Inventions that are unlikely are more valuable to our society”, our team was stretched and challenged to come up with stances to substantiate and solidify our views. It was indeed satisfying and fulfilling to win those hard-earned debates. We were ranked 36th out of 650 teams and our team leader, Jiang Rong, emerged as a Top-10 Best Debater in the tournament.
This experience, especially engaging with so many like-minded youths in one venue at Yale University, has been truly inspirational.
By Jiang Rong LIM, Alex Choo and Ian Chan
Year 11 students
World Scholar’s Cup team student spotlight