On September 12th 2013 member of the Rollins Debate Team (Chassidy Cook, Zohaib Jessani, and David Gevorgyan) Traveled to Beijing China to participate in a series of friendly debates and cultural events with students from Beijing Foreign Studies University. The Rollins Debate Team Captain, Chassidy Cook, described the trip as “Simply Amazing!” “There were so many cultural immersion experiences and we learned a great deal about the Chinese culture as we explored the cities.” The trip began with a visit to Xian, China. Xian is well-known for its rich culture, exemplified in the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the Jianfu Temple, and the Xian Museum all of which recounts the life of Buddha and serves as a place of worship for contemporary Buddhists. “The most fascinating culture exhibit was the Terra Cotta Warriors.” In order to protect the emperor in his afterlife, Chinese craftsmen and laborers erected 8,000 soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses, and 150 cavalry horses that are believed to surround the emperor’s tomb. “Wei Lao Shi (Professor Li Wei’s Chinese professorial title) led us through the three pits that house the life-size warriors and cavalry horses.” In Beijing, the debate team visited Great Wall of China, Beijing National Stadium, Tiananmen Square, and the Forbidden City.
The opening debate took place on the campus of Beijing Foreign Studies University. As is our custom, the debate began with a lecture from a professor from the visiting team. Dr. Smaw lectured on the American Dream and the Chinese Dream. It was just after the lecture that we learned Dr. Smaw’s Chinese name and the origins of it. In Chinese, students use the phrase “Lao Shi” after a teacher’s last name to mean professor. “To truly capture Dr. Smaw’s stylish manner of dress, the students added a bit of a twist to his name dubbing him “Shi Mao Lao Shi” meaning professor of fashion. I think the title is quite fitting and I’m pretty sure that Dr. Smaw enjoys it as well.” The topic of the debate was: The government has the right to censor the media in times of emergency. The Rollins Debate Team argued for censoring the media in times of emergency and the BFSU Debate Team argued against censorship. In the end, the debate was educational, engaging, and we shared varying opinions during the open discussion portion of the event. The last series of debates were filmed in the studios China Central Television are will be aired on the popular television show Crossover from October 1st through October 4th. Unlike in the first debate, the members of the Rollins team were paired with members of the BFSU team for these debates. The topics of the debates included: (1) which is more important in a marriage spiritual wealth or material wealth? (2) Traditional social networking is better than online social networking; and (3) Reality TV does more harm than good. Afterward the debates we talked with the producer and host of Crossover for a while and then we returned to our hotel. The trip ended with David Gevorgyan presenting a paper at the Boya Forum at Beijing Foreign Studies University.