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Chinoy debater Toby Leung and partner David Africa becomes the Philippines’ first World University Debating Champions!

For the first time in history, a Philippine team became the champions of the World Universities Debating Championship (WUDC)!  

Chinoy debater Toby Leung, alongside his partner David Africa, represented the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) as team Ateneo A in this year’s edition of WUDC, which took place at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, Spain from December 27, 2022 to January 3, 2023. The tournament, which was held in the British Parliamentary style, saw teams from ADMU, Princeton University, Sofia University, and Tel Aviv University battle for the championship title in the final round. 

The final was decided by the motion: “This house prefers a world where all individuals have a strong belief in Ubuntu.” Ubuntu — a Bantu word that is often translated as “I am because we are” — refers to the African philosophical belief that people’s identities should be shaped by, and their obligations owed to, their communities. 

BS Applied Mathematics majors Leung and Africa claimed victory after presenting their argument in the opening opposition side. In his speech, Leung asserted, “Community is a shackle that alienates you from your sense of self, discourages you from discovering your own preference, and emboldens the worst forms of tyranny.” 


Watch the full final WUDC debate here: 


Following their victory, Leung and Africa were respectively recognized as the second and eighth-best speakers of WUDC after a cumulative tabulation of their tournament scores. Among those bested by the winning pair in previous rounds were teams sent by Harvard, Stanford, the National University of Singapore, and the London School of Economics.

According to the Ateneo Debate Society (ADS), this tournament marked the third consecutive time a team from the Ateneo qualified for the final round. The university organization also congratulated the rest of its WUDC contingent, which included partial double-octofinalist Ateneo B, Quintin Chua and Aly Barranda; Ateneo C, Bern Advincula and Zen Tiangco; and double octofinal adjudicators Bea Cuizon and Paolo Taino for representing the country. 

As a sophomore ADMU student, Toby Leung’s previous achievements include being a 2022 United Asian Debating champion, a 2021 Austalasian champion, a 2022 Taylor’s Debate Open champion, and a 2022 Diliman Open Grand Champion, among others. Having now added a 2023 World champion title to his resume, Leung’s debate career is surely one for the books — a bright moment of history for both Ateneo and the country to celebrate! 


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