The first debate between Masters students from the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, and their counterparts at International Studies, ended without injury.
An organiser, Dr Charles Butcher, a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre, says the debate was intended to build linkages between the students, as there were linkages between the programmes.
The topic was that “Non-violence has made war obsolete”, and looked at questions such as whether non-violent civil defence can provide a realistic alternative to military-based national defence, with Peace and Conflict students taking the affirmative.
Dr Butcher says the “detailed and extremely well-crafted responses of both sides” showed that all involved learned “a lot about the relative merits of violence and non-violence in different circumstances”, as well as skills of persuasion.
“And I think the audience and the judges, and myself, learned what a well-reasoned case for both sides looked like.”
The debate was won by the affirmative, although all agreed it was a close call.