A formal bid needs to be submitted by any potential World Championships host to the World Schools Debating Council no later than two tournaments prior to the one it proposes to host. The bid is presented to the Annual Meeting and the delegates to that meeting vote on it. In years where there is more than one country bidding to host, this is obviously your opportunity to convince the Worlds community why your nation, rather than another, will put on the best event. If no other nation wishes to host, putting together a bid document is still essential, as the bid must be formally approved by the Council.
This page provides some tips on putting together that bid.
Factors to consider before you bid
Hosting an event this big is a very significant undertaking. Although nations proposing to host a Championship can expect a good deal of support from the World Championships community, here are some of the most obvious factors to consider before you bid:
- Who will be the Convenor?
Is there someone with the time, experience and ability to co-ordinate the whole hosting operation?
- Do we have enough organisational back-up?
Somewhere along the line you will need office space, full-time personnel and a good number of volunteers. Can your debating organisation provide these things and, if not, who will?
- Where will we get the money?
There's no need to have a detailed sponsorship plan at this stage, but you should at least consider the types of organisation that might be able to support the event.
- Can we afford the time?
No matter how far in advance you organise the tournament, you will need to sacrifice a very considerable portion of your life as the tournament approaches.
- Do we have enough experience?
You need detailed knowledge of how the World Championships work and how debating competitions run. It is suggested that you do not consider bidding until the key members of your team have attended at least two Championships.
- When are we looking to host?
Check the minutes of World Council meetings (or e-mail the Secretary of the Executive Committee if they are not available online) to see which future years already have approved hosts, and which other countries are considering a formal bid for subsequent years. Make sure that your proposed dates fall within 1 January-28 February or 1 July-31 August (as required by Rule 23) and do not clash with a major religious holiday such as Eid. You should also avoid holding the competition during the month of Ramadan if possible; there are plenty of websites that can tell you when Ramadan falls.
Stages of bidding
There are several stages involved in making a bid to host the World Championships:
- Express interest
The first intimation of interest can be made as early as you like – perhaps as many as 3 or 4 years in advance so as to stake a claim to the particular year in which you are interested. This is done by informing the World Schools Debating Council, preferably at its Annual Meeting held at or towards the end of a Championships.
- Explore the practicalities
Once you get home, start drawing up a budget and putting out feelers regarding the likelihood of getting the necessary funding (see next sections).
- Make the initial bid
If you have reasonable assurances (preferably in writing from sponsors) that funding will be forthcoming, and you feel confident that you will be able to achieve the necessary backing, you can indicate a bid at the next Council meeting (ideally 3 years before the actual event). The WSDC rules require bids to be made no later than 2 Championships prior to the one you wish to host.
- Formalise your bid
If you indicate a bid three years ahead, you then have another year to ensure that your sources of funding will deliver and that you are able to guarantee all the other necessary arrangements. Assuming that you are now in such a position, you will be able to place your formal bid before the Council at the AGM no later than 2 years (or 2 tournaments) before your intended Championships. Your bid at that point must be accompanied by actual details, presented in a bid document. Most convenors will choose to make a special presentation either during the Council meeting or at a brief special event devoted to the purpose. You may choose to prepare kits for every country, show a video, or use other sales tools in your presentation. If there are no other bids, and you have done the preparatory work described, the likelihood is that yours will be accepted. If there are two or more competing bids, a vote will be held at the Council meeting.
The bid document
Future hosts should put together a formal bid document for the Council to consider. This is the sort of thing it should include:
- Name of the Convenor
- Names of the Organising Committee. This should include at least 2 people in the town/city where the Championships will be based, together with a brief description or list of the committee members' respective roles and functions. (Ideally, it should also include brief CVs about administrative and/or debating experience, so that members of the Executive have a sense of the what additional assistance may be required.)
- Name of the proposed Chief Adjudicator(s) and his/her CV
- Name of the proposed entity that will be hosting (e.g. the New Zealand Schools' Debating Council or Auckland School Debating)
- Proposed dates, noting whether the Council has to acquire a two-thirds approval to change the dates from the rules (see rule 23)
- Proposed schedule
- Draft budget
- List of proposed venue(s) and accommodation, including name of hotel/hostel and proximity to shopping centre, public transport etc.
- Name of the main sponsor and a letter from the sponsor pledging support
- Name of at least one school and/or educational organisation which is prepared to support the bid, with a letter from that school/organisation pledging support
- Letter of support from at least one local council, regional or national government, or ministry of education
- Brief synopsis of school debating in the region where the championships will be held, including whether debating is in English, whether students understand English and the nature, type, age and numbers of audience members we might expect
- Information about your nation and the city, town or place that will be hosting the tournament