For the second year in a row, the King’s Political Science Club and Debating Club spent an enriching day on May 30, 2013 at the Monk Debates in Toronto.  This rigorous biannual debate brings together a mix of former world leaders and academics to discuss highly relevant and controversial topics.  It was a rare opportunity for students to get up close and connect with leaders and witness their debating styles.          

Accompanied by Dr. Thomas Tieku of  the Munk School of Global Affairs, and incoming professor of Political Science at King’s as of July 1st, the students travelled to Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto, where they met Nobel prize winning economist Paul Krugman.  With less than forty people in the room there were plenty of opportunities to ask questions and share ideas with such a high profile – and yet approachable – economist.

The debate itself was entertaining.  Former Greek PM George Papandreou and Krugman debated on the pro side and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and father of supply-side  economics, Arthur Laffer on the con side. With everyone clearly familiar with each others’ past comments and actions, the debate stayed lively, with opponents often throwing quotes and inaccurate past predictions in each others faces.

Fatima Al-Dhaher, who graduated this year with a degree in Political Science, said that “attending the Munk Debate was an invaluable experience, where we were able to observe internationally acclaimed individuals debate only a few feet away.  Highlights included meeting Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman, and Former House Leader, Newt Gingrich.”

Similarly Tyler Paget entering his second  year in Political Science, called the debate “an enriching experience” which “provided valuable insights into the hotly contested subject of wealth redistribution from respected politicians and economists.  Additionally, it was interesting to see the outstanding public speaking skills of those involved.”

Overall the trip to the May Munk Debate is rapidly becoming a favourite annual event  jointly-organized by the King’s Debate Society and the King’s Political Science Club.  We are grateful for the valuable support provided by the Political Science Department, the King’s University Student Council, and Dr. Erin Hannah.

While the primary focus of the trip was the Munk Debate and its all-star line-up, we had the unique opportunity of spending the afternoon discussing graduate school life with Dr. Thomas Tieku.  His personal experience in graduate school – particularly as a PhD candidate – helped us better understand the rigors and rewards of graduate life.

Everett Aukema is the president of the King’s Political Science Club. The trip was made possible by financial support from the Department of Political Science and the KUCSC.