University of Pittsburgh
October 13, 2005

Pitt to Hold Debate on U.S. Detention Policy Oct. 17

William Pitt Debating Union to debate British National Debating Team
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-The University of Pittsburgh Department of Communication will host an international public debate between the William Pitt Debating Union (WPDU) and the British National Debating Team on U.S. detention policy in Guantanamo, Cuba, from

3 to 4 p.m. Oct. 17 in Pitt's English Nationality Room, 144 Cathedral of Learning, 4200 Fifth Ave., Oakland.

Biographical information on the debaters follows.

Stephen Llano, a member of WPDU, attended Texas A&M University where he helped found the National Parliamentary Debate Association's parliamentary debate team in 1998. He has coached high school policy debate in College Station, Tex., and college level Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) debates for the University of Rochester. CEDA is the primary national association promoting policy topic intercollegiate academic debate. Llano earned the Master of Arts degree in communications at Syracuse University. Currently he is a doctoral student in Pitt's Department of Communication.

Damien Pfister, a member of WPDU, was considered a standout competitor for the University of Alabama, reaching the semifinals at CEDA nationals and recognized among the top 20 speakers at the tournament. From 2000 to 2002, Pfister played an essential role in running the New York Urban Debate League, coordinating debate activities for more than 20 high schools and 300 debaters. Last year, Pfister served as acting director of debate for Pitt, where he is now a doctoral student in the Department of Communication.

Siôn Owen, a member of the British National Debate Team, is from Carmarthenshire, South Wales. Educated at a local Welsh-language comprehensive school, Owen then studied law at Lincoln College at Oxford University, where he was president of a human rights law society. Owen has debated for both Wales and Oxford teams in such diverse locations as Singapore and Johannesburg. He has visited the Unites States and is a New York Yankees fan.

Kenneth Fleming, a member of the British National Debate Team, is a graduate of Glasgow University. Although he thought he would be known as "Scottish debating's most underachieving speaker," he never was able to claim that title because of several final-year victories, including the Scottish National Championship. Fleming also served as convenor of debates at the Glasgow University Union.

The WPDU is a Pitt student organization involved in a wide range of debating activities, including two-person intercollegiate policy debate, international parliamentary debate, and various forms of public debate. One of the oldest organizations of its kind in the nation, WPDU is housed in Pitt's Department of Communication.

Pitt is one of the stops the British National Debate Team is making while on tour in the United States. The American Forensic Association is sponsoring the British tour.

The Pitt debate is free and open to the public; audience questions are encouraged. For more information, call 412-624-8531.