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STHM Debate Team Wins Top Honours

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Members of the STHM debate team:(L-R) Isei Nabuka; Sylvia Vilsoni; David Lewgor and Kusitino Vakatalai.

“The Paris Agreement is not beneficial for the Pacific Islands.” This position was successfully argued by The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) School of Tourism and Hospitality Management (STHM) debate team as they achieved top honours against the School of Government, International Affairs and Diplomacy during the 6th Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE) Interschool Debate Finals on Wednesday 24th August 2016 at the FBE Postgraduate Lecture Theatre.

STHM students Sylvia Hereniko, David Lewgor and Kusitino Vakatalai put up a formidable and convincing case to argue that while the Paris Agreement was commendable, it was not practical in terms of providing sustainable solutions for Pacific Island communities.

The team effectively argued that when taking adaptive or mitigation action on climate change, parties should respect, consider and promote the rights of Pacific Islanders in terms of their culture, resources and livelihoods.

Both teams put up comprehensive and formidable arguments in what was a well-researched and very closely contested debate.

Head of STHM, Professor Marcus Stephenson remarked that “I am very proud of the level of academic underpinnings that our student team displayed in their presentation – truly excellent!”

STHM debate coach Ilisapeci Matatolu said that the students deserved to win as they worked very hard in the lead up to the finals.

She added that they were also assisted by a hand-picked team of experts on South Pacific climate change issues.

Best debater in the STHM team was Sylvia Vilsoni while the School of Government, Development and International Affairs best debater award was won by Riyaz Parvez.

Sylvia said that she learnt so much from the debate experience, and has grown in terms of her skills in teamwork dynamics, critical thinking and effective communications.

The STHM team looks forward to defending their title in 2017.

This news item was published on 1 Sep 2016 09:09:54 am. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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