Dalton School Graduate Gisselle Perez-Leon Debates in Spain

Colgate University Students travel to Spain for Debate Tournament

HAMILTON, NY (09/30/2013)(readMedia)-- Members of the Colgate Speaking Union traveled to Madrid, Spain, this summer to compete in an all-Spanish-language debate tournament, representing one of just three schools from the United States at the international event.

Gisselle Perez-Leon '15, Benjamin Rangel '15, and Arlene Robles '15 spent 11 days in Spain for the World University Debate Championship in Spanish. The annual tournament hosts college students, predominantly from Spanish-speaking nations, to use British-style parliamentary format to debate global affairs issues.

Ten minutes before the start of each debate, the teams learn the topic of the contest and whether they'd have to defend or oppose a particular viewpoint. From there, teams hurry to prepare their arguments, regardless of their opinions on the matter, knowing they have only seven minutes to impress the judges. Teams are marked them for the quality of their speeches and their ability to deliver it in Spanish.

Of the 60 teams in attendance, only three-Colgate, Cornell, and the University of Vermont-were from the United States.

Perez-Leon, who is studying history and Spanish, said the debate improved her team's oratory and argumentative skills. But another benefit was meeting people from Spanish-speaking nations.

"It was great to learn and share a little bit of our studies, countries, and cultural differences," said Perez-Leon, a resident of Queens, N.Y.

Colgate University is a highly selective residential liberal arts institution distinguished by the dedication of its faculty and its commitment to global engagement, student-faculty research, off-campus study, sustainable practices, and utilizing technology to enhance the teaching and learning experience.

Colgate offers 53 majors to a diverse student body of approximately 2,900 undergraduate students, and supports 25 Division I athletic teams. The university's 515-acre campus in rural central New York is renowned for its beauty and for the important role it plays in the student experience.