Update, Monday: At the international debate contest that businessman Harlan Crow sponsored over the weekend at his refurbished Old Parkland Hospital, team England won. Team Australia came in second.
Original story: Some of the best high school debaters from not just the nation, but the world, were in Dallas this weekend. They flew in courtesy of Dallas’ own real estate and business magnate, Harlan Crow, of Crow Holdings.
Harlan Crow loves thoughtful, civil discussions about the most world’s most important topics, like what to do with nuclear waste, or whether governments should fund healthcare for all.
“I have the attitude that here we are in 2014 and we’re more interested in some superficial things than some thoughtfully considered argument,” Crow says.
He first brought in high school debaters last year, and he's doing it again this year, with 12 three-person teams and their coaches for an unofficial competition at Crow’s headquarters, the refurbished old Parkland Hospital.
Some debaters are from Dallas’ own Townview Law Magnet and Greenhill School. But teens are also here from Iowa, California, Australia, England, Mexico and elsewhere.
“It’s great stimulating recreation,” Crow says. “It’s a heckuva lot better than alternative forms of participatory recreation. I’m 65 and to see a bright young 21-year-old or 18-year-old kid making better arguments than I can make is really fun. You know, it’s hopeful.”
Crow imagines packing a large auditorium full of people eager to hear these debates. In fact, he’s currently building what he hopes will amount to a public debate theater to conduct these contests in the future.