[eDebate] Inauguration Debate Series - January 19th at the Smithsonian

Timothy O'Donnell todonnel
Mon Jan 12 10:42:44 CST 2009


This coming Monday (January 19th) six college debate teams will debate
the priorities of the Obama administration at the Museum of Natural
History as part of the inaugural weekend festivities.  The event is free
and open to the public and all who will be in the area are encouraged to

The official release with further details from the Smithsonian is copied

All the best, 

- Tim

Press Room of the Smithsonian Institution

PRESS RELEASE - Jan. 7, 2009

Smithsonian Hosts ?Great Debaters? in Inaugural Debate Series Jan. 19

Six college debate teams from across the country will come to the
Smithsonian to discuss the priorities of the new Obama administration
and debate issues such as the economy, foreign policy and climate
change. The program marks the 100th anniversary of the first debates
between Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Martin Luther
King, Jr. Day and the historic inauguration of America?s first African
American President. The Inaugural Debate Series will take place Monday,
Jan. 19, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Baird Auditorium at the National
Museum of Natural History.

The debate series features six teams with some of the nation?s top
collegiate debaters, including schools with close historical ties to the
real-life ?great debaters? depicted in the 2007 film of the same name
starring Denzel Washington.

Teams participating in the debate include Michigan State University,
Wake Forest University, the University of Mary Washington and the
University of Southern California, as well as two schools representing
Historically Black Colleges and Universities?Fayetteville State
University and Voorhees College. The debates are presented by the
National Museum of African American History and Culture in cooperation
with the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and
Universities and the Debate Consortium, with support from the
Presidential Inaugural Committee.

The Debate Consortium was formed to help African American colleges and
universities develop the capacity to field high-quality debate on
crucial public policy issues.

The students will debate some of the most important issues confronting
the new Obama administration, from energy and climate change to health
care, the economy and foreign policy. The series will feature three
debates, each approximately 75 minutes in length.

The first debate on energy and climate change, from 9:30 to 11 a.m., has
Michigan State University against Wake Forest University, two schools
that represent the pinnacle of intercollegiate debate?both having won
the National Debate Tournament, America?s most historic and prestigious
national debate championship, in the past three years. 

The second debate, from 11:10 a.m. to 1 p.m., features the University of
Mary Washington and USC arguing health care and the economy. USC was
host to Wiley College in the ?Great Debate? of 1935 (although the film
substitutes Harvard for USC). The most famous member of the Wiley
team?the distinguished civil rights leader James L. Farmer
Jr.?concluded his long career as a professor of history at the
University of Mary Washington.

The third debate, from 2:10 to 3:30 p.m., on foreign policy, features
Fayetteville State University versus Voorhees College, two Historically
Black Colleges and Universities that are committed to making the virtues
of a debate education central to their educational mission. 

The National Museum of African American History and Culture was
established in 2003 by an Act of Congress, making it the 19th
Smithsonian Institution museum. It is the only national museum devoted
exclusively to the documentation of African American life, art, history
and culture. The Smithsonian Board of Regents, the governing body of the
Institution, voted in January 2006 to build the museum on a five-acre
site on the National Mall. The Constitution Avenue site is adjacent the Washington Monument and across the street from the Smithsonian?s
National Museum of American History. For more information about the
museum, please visit nmaahc.si.edu or call Smithsonian information at
(202) 633-1000, (202) 633-5285 (TTY).

# # #


Timothy M. O'Donnell
Director of Debate and Associate Professor of Speech
University of Mary Washington
1201 William St., #25
Fredericksburg, VA 22401
todonnel at umw.edu
(540) 654-1252 (office)
(540) 654-1569 (fax)

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