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Debate Mate


Dear Peace Ambassadors 2017,

I want to congratulate you on taking the first, bold step towards securing a peaceful prosperous world for us all. Attending PDWC 2017 and taking part in vigorous debates about critical issues with young people from across the world will give you a unique experience that will stay with you for the rest of your lives.

We at Debate Mate know that speaking and, crucially, listening to one another is the only way that positive ideas can be exchanged and disagreements reconciled. Debating is the key to compromise, and compromise breeds harmony. As Winston Churchill famously said at a White House meeting in 1954;

'It is better to jaw-jaw than to war-war'

Being a good debater stands you in excellent stead to lead a successful life. Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, JFK, Martin Luther King and Brad Pitt were all high-school debaters and attribute their success to taking part in the activity. World Champion debaters fill the top positions across all industries, including business, law, media and politics. I am very proud that our own World Champion, Ife Grillo, has joined the delegation to PDWC 2017. I am sure you will agree after hearing him speak and talking to him, that Ife exemplifies the positive impact that debating can have on young people. Ife, along with the other mentors, are not just debate coaches ? they are fountains of knowledge about the world. They are not very much older than you and have all succeeded brilliantly in their lives so far. They are an invaluable resource for you to use ? so make the most of them!

I am honoured that my team and I can be a part of PDWC 2017, and I want to take this opportunity to thank Ms. Nakadai, Ms. Sato, Mr. Swanson and the rest of the WakuPro Foundation team for inviting us.

Margaret Mead once said: 'Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is only thing that ever has'. I couldn't agree more and am confident that you all are those committed citizens.

I am sure you will have an experience that you will never forget, and I wish you all the very best of luck.

Warm Regards,

Margaret McCabe
Founder & CEO, Debate Mate

Margaret McCabe

Margaret is CEO and Founder of Debate Mate, having previously been a commercial
barrister for 25 years.

Prior to Debate Mate, Margaret was an advisor to Human Rights Watch and the NSPCC.

Margaret regularly advises and mentors senior politicians, CEOs and public figures.

Mentor Bios

Lewis Iwu

Lewis is currently the Director of the UK's Fair Education Alliance, having previously
worked as a lawyer at Slaughter and May and as an Account Director at Brunswick Group,
advising FTSE 100 companies and governments across the world.

Lewis studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Oxford, where he was
elected President of the Oxford University Students Union.

As a debater, Lewis won the World University Debating Championships in 2008 ? the highest
debating honour possible. He currently coaches the England debating team, whom he led to
victory in the 2016 World Schools Debating Championship.

Lewis has taught debating in over 20 countries and recently chaired the judging panel of
Debate Mate's competition at Number 10 Downing Street.

Lewis spends his (very limited) free time following his beloved Manchester United, campaigning
for his chosen political party and listening to little-known 1980s funk and soul music.

Ife Grillo

Ife has been a student on the Debate Mate programme since 2011, and now works as an
Assistant Programme Director in the London Headquarters. He is currently Vice Chair of
the British Youth Council and an advisor to the European Youth Forum.

While at school, Ife won the Debate Mate Cup, Urban Debate League and Attorney
General's Cup. More recently, Ife was part of the England Worlds Schools team
(coached by Lewis) that won the World Championships in Stuttgart.

Ife has debated in the House of Commons, judged at 10 Downing Street and represented
Debate Mate across national and international media. Currently, Ife is helping to coach
the next cohort of world-champion debaters.

When Ife isn't busy running the world, he can be found practicing his spoken word poetry,
singing or trying out new dance moves.

Kai Kamei

Kai graduated with a degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) with
a degree in Arabic and Politics. She is currently studying for a Masters in Advanced Arabic
and the University of Edinburgh. Throughout university Kai has mentored for Debate Mate,
including internationally in [X]

Outside of Debate Mate, Kai completed an International Citizens Service project in Kenya,
where she was responsible for establishing a debate club. She recently spent 3 months in
the 'Jungle' in Calais, helping to educate and support refugees.

Beyond the classroom, Kai enjoys mastering new languages (she has Egyptian and Syrian
language buddies) and trying her hand at cooking new cuisines.

Benedict Sarhangian

Benedict has been involved with Debate Mate since 2008 and has mentored all over the
world. He was fortunate enough to be invited as Chief Judge to PDWC 2016 and was so
impressed with the atmosphere and ambition of the project and students that he wanted
to get Debate Mate involved in a much bigger way!

Prior to Debate Mate, Benedict graduated top of his class at the London School of
Economics, before winning a scholarship to study for a Masters in International History,
specialising in the Arab-Israeli Conflict and 20th Century Western Intellectualism.

At Debate Mate, Benedict is responsible for creating new programmes and helping the
team expand the programme in new and exciting ways.

In his spare time, Benedict can be found watching Arsenal FC, eating grilled meats and
watching HBO Box Sets.

Hugo Van Mol

Hugo is a third-year student studying Ancient History at University College London, and is
currently writing his dissertation on the levels of professionalism in Ancient Greek sport.
Hugo has mentored with Debate Mate for three years, teaching in both primary and
secondary schools across London. Hugo has worked with Debate Mate on a number of
high-profile projects, with firms including KPMG, Deloitte, and the English Premier League.
In summer 2016, he spent a very rewarding three weeks in Rwanda with nine other Debate
Mate mentors, working in thirty different schools with around 400 students.

Outside of UCL and Debate Mate, Hugo enjoys both playing and coaching rugby, kayaking,
travelling to different countries and supporting the mighty Arsenal FC.

Jamie Batchelor

Jamie is currently studying to be a barrister at the University of Law, London. Jamie is
a highly successful competitive debater, and is currently ranked in the Top 20 globally.
He has represented his university at the World and European Universities Debating
Championships and has acted as Chief Adjudicator at over a dozen international

Outside of debating, Jamie is a keen sportsperson and can regularly be found donning
a Manchester United shirt, either on the pitch or in front of the TV.

Abbas Hasnain

Abbas grew up in Pakistan and is currently studying Economics at the London School of
Economics. He represented his country at the Model United Nations conference in 2014.
He has mentored for Debate Mate in schools across London and in summer 2016 helped
lead a project teaching over 1000 students to debate in Nepal.

Beyond the classroom, Abbas enjoys tutoring younger students in a broad range of topics
and explaining economic theory to anyone that will listen!

Seun Iyaniwura

Seun is an Executive Programme Director at Debate Mate and oversees our international
educational programmes. She graduated from the University of Nottingham with First-Class
degree in Politics. While she was at Nottingham University she founded a schools outreach
programme and was the first female President of the Nottingham Debating Union. She has
an extensive debating history including reaching the finals at the Oxford Union Women's
Open 2012 and representing her university at both the European and World debating
Championships. Seun is also an internationally recognised judge and has run a number of
large debating tournaments including two of the largest Open University tournaments at
Nottingham and two of the largest school competitions in the world. Her coaching experience
includes coaching the Nepal World Schools team at WSDC Dundee in 2011.

When not at Debate Mate, Seun is a keen boxer and cook.

Jess Rolfe-Dix

Jess is currently the Executive Director at Debate Mate and oversees our programme
in the UK. Jess graduated from the University of Warwick with a degree in Comparative
American Studies. As part of her degree she spent a year studying History at UCLA in
California. Jess is a Teach First '07 Ambassador; she worked as an English and History
teacher, as well as whole-school Literacy Coordinator at a school in East London.

Jess has designed and delivered training workshops for students, teachers and professionals
all over the world, including recently in Istanbul and Hong Kong.

Beyond Debate Mate, Jess is a keen chef, cyclist and swimmer and spends her spare time
supporting the building of libraries and schools in Kenya.

Scarlett McCabe

Scarlett graduated from LSE with a First-Class degree in History. She has debated since
she was at school, representing her university at both a national and international level,
including the 2010 World Debating Championships. She has been involved in Debate Mate
since the beginning and has been an integral part of our work across the world.

In 2013 Scarlett established a permanent Debate Mate programme in Jamaica, and currently
serves as its Executive Director. Scarlett oversees all of our work in the corporate sector,
and supports the CEO with our global strategy.

In her free time, Scarlett enjoys beach holidays, expanding her gluten-free cookery repertoire
and singing in her local choir.