Irish debate champions visit RMC campus, article by contributor Molly Davis

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Pictured, from left to right, are the Irish Times National Champions: Aisling Tully, Dara Keenan and Leah Morgan. Photo courtesy of the Irish Times.

Pictured, from left to right, are the Irish Times National Champions: Aisling Tully, Dara Keenan and Leah Morgan. Photo courtesy of the Irish Times.

Every year, three Irish debate champions embark on an all expenses paid tour across the United States. This year, the lucky three made a stop right here in the Magic City to sightsee, socialize with the locals, and perform an exhibition debate against Rocky Mountain College’s own debate team. This debate and reception occurred on Saturday April 8th in the Great room in Prescott Hall.

The Irish champions landed in New York City on March 15th to begin a one month tour of the United States.

About a month earlier, Aisling Tully (19), Dara Keenan (20), and Leah Morgan (26), competed in the Irish Times Final National Championship Debate in front of over 350 observers. University College Dublin law students Aisling and Dara won the team portion of the competition while Morgan went home as the individual champion. The individual champion is awarded to the top performing speaker of the entire tournament.

For the past 50 years, “The Irish Times,” a top newspaper in Ireland, has sponsored a national debate tournament along with a grand prize of a international trip. The purpose of this trip is to foster international connections and create a global dialogue among students across the world.

Prior to the trip, the three champions were enthusiastic about coming to the states. “America is such a massive country in comparison to Ireland I’m so excited to learn more about it and see more firsthand.” Morgan said,“I am absolutely delighted and incredibly excited about the trip because there are so many great thinkers, artists and educators. I cannot wait to get to know the States better.”

Dara valued the international debate as a place to “share viewpoints and to gain a better understanding of cultural differences.”

Pictured from left to right: Dara Keenan and Aisling Tully receiving the Irish Times Final National Championship award. Photo courtesy of the Irish Times.

Pictured from left to right: Dara Keenan and Aisling Tully receiving the
Irish Times Final National Championship award.
Photo courtesy of the Irish Times.

This was a unique opportunity for Rocky to host such a talented group of elite thinkers. This was the second time the college has been able host the Irish champions, the first time being in 2014. A benefit this program brings to the community is the opportunity to interact with people of another culture and examine the different style of rhetoric they use when making arguments.

While the Irish debaters were in Montana, the RMC Debate Team hosted the three and took them around the state to experience different things. They embarked on a trip to Yellowstone National Park and observed wildlife, soaked in the Boiling River, and took a trip to Red Lodge Mountain.

It was a fun week full of cultural exchanges and adventurous outings. It’s incredible that even in Montana we are able to have meaningful involvement with individuals who live halfway across the world. It goes to show that if you take opportunities to engage with others, education can connect people from around the globe.

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