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UW Debate Coach to Teach at Iraq Workshop

December 7, 2009

University of Wyoming debate coach and Director of Forensics Matt Stannard will teach at the Iraq Debate Academy and Mesopotamia Debating Tournament Dec. 13-17 in Duhok, Kurdistan, Republic of Iraq.

He is among eight faculty members selected to teach at the workshop, including debate scholars and coaches from Slovenia, Wales, Iraq and the United States.

The workshop, sponsored by the governor of Duhok, was organized by Muhammad A. Ammad, director of Iraq Debate, and Alfred Snider, director of forensics at the University of Vermont, both of whom have worked with Stannard at debate workshops in the past: Ammad as a student debater at the Asian Debate Institute in Seoul, Korea, and Snider as a longtime debate institute director.

Stannard says the reason for holding such an event is explained on the tournament Web site: "These are challenging times, and the skills of oral disputation, reasoned debate, logical decision making and conflict resolution through open discussion are badly needed, not only in Iraqi society but throughout southwest Asia and, indeed, the world."

Stannard's travel to the Middle East is sponsored by the UW Foundation, President Tom Buchanan, the Department of Communication and Journalism and the College of Arts and Sciences, the Leadership and Learning Center and private donors.

This is not the first time UW debate has participated in international debate education or competition. Stannard says that during the Cold War, in the late 1960s, UW coach B. Wayne Callaway took his debaters to Canada to debate students from the Soviet Union. UW debaters have participated in several annual U.S.-Irish debates and have debated abroad occasionally, and Stannard taught summer debate programs in Seoul, Korea, in 2006 and 2008.

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