From April 7th-8th, the Schuman Challenge, the annual debating contest hosted by the European Union Delegation to the USA, took place in Washington, D.C. This year four Badgers traveled to D.C. to compete in the challenge. Representing UW-Madison this year were Pranav Krishnan, a freshman majoring in Economics and Political Science; Ali Beneker, a freshman majoring in Economics and Journalism; Aleksander Cwalina, a senior majoring in Journalism and Political Science; and Danielle Lennon, a junior majoring in History and Psychology. The team was led by A.J. Carver, the UW-Madison Speech and Debate team coach. This year’s challenge question was “How should the EU and US cooperate in Afghanistan following the US military withdrawal?”
UW-Madison debater Pranav Krishnan spoke positively about his experiences.
“Competing in the Schuman Challenge gave me an incredible opportunity to improve my ability to research, write, present, and apply what I have learned academically to policy-making for a relevant and important real-world issue. I learned a great deal about international relations and foreign policy on various topics, from transatlantic cooperation to economic sanctions and foreign aid. Working with my team over the course of this semester and getting the chance to travel to Washington, D.C., together and meet diplomats, journalists, and fellow competitors from around the nation, made the experience engaging and rewarding.”
Ali Beneker also offered some insight about her experiences. “The Schuman Challenge was a great way to learn how to take action on issues that matter on a global scale. It was exciting to visit the European Union Delegation in D.C. to present solutions to real problems to those who work to solve them!”
The students were accompanied in Washington, D.C. by Ambassador Thomas Hushek, a UW-Madison alumnus, and former US Ambassador to South Sudan. The team was able to connect with Ambassador Hushek thanks to Cynthia P. Williams, International Policy Advisor, and Interim Director for the Wisconsin in Washington Program. The team was not selected as one of the three finalists, but Ambassador Hushek wrote, “Their presentation yesterday received some well-deserved praise from the judges. Although they weren’t selected as finalists, I thought the content of their presentation was on the same level as those other teams.”