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Outnumbered, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem team still wowed the judges and captured the title
It takes a lot more than sheer manpower to overcome diplomatic prowess.
This was proved by the University of Jerusalem team Friday night by winning the second annual Copenhagen Competition. With the announcement of the winners, the tension in the Ceremonial Hall was instantly transformed into static electricity. Most shocked were the winners themselves.
»We can’t believe we won,« said Noa Alster, who describes her team as coming in with no expectations of winning. »We hope no one is angry with us.«
The sole two members of the victorious team were confident with their performance, but nonetheless surprised with the outcome. The whole week, they took a different, more relaxed, approach to the competition, even spending the crucial day Friday sightseeing instead of working their arguments.
»We weren’t stressed. We’re the laid back team,« said Lital Casper.
Being the smallest team in the competition wasn’t the only obstacle for the Israeli team. Alster is observant of Shabbat, and could not therefore use technology of any kind or even take handwritten notes.
»I had to listen to Alster whispering notes in my ear while I’m trying to take my notes and listen to the others,« explained Casper.
While Alster did use the microphone, she relied on her teammate to operate it for her.
The final round concluded with closing remarks where teams highlighted their diplomatic achievements and downplayed their shortcomings. The rest remained in the judges hands.
»And now we make the most difficult negotiation of all,« said chairman of the judging team Antony Taubman before retiring to decide a winner. »It will be a tough time working through four remarkable teams.«
The other finalists were from Singapore, Australia and India.
The vote was very close, as exemplified by the judges taking twice the allotted time to arrive at their decision. After returning tardy, they almost teasingly kept the audience waiting with seemingly endless rhetoric on diplomacy. But in the end, the Israelis stood alone amongst a talented group.
»We concentrated on what we thought was relevant,« said Casper. »The judges cared what we cared about.«
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