news 2023

2023 BC Lower Mainland Ethics Bowl Report

March 09, 2023

by Cem Erkli

On February 25th, 150 high school students from all across the Lower Mainland met on top of Burnaby Mountain to discuss complex moral conundrums at the Ethics Bowl. The topics this year included the role of territorial acknowledgements in reconciliation, rules in professional communities, corporate sponsorship of charities, and many more thorny ethical issues facing Canadians today. The students showed philosophical mettle and impeccable dialogue skills while discussing each issue carefully and engagingly.

The Department of Philosophy at Simon Fraser University hosted the BC Lower Mainland Regional Ethics Bowl for the 5th time this year, and the event was the biggest yet, with 22 teams from 16 schools (including new and old friends) and 50 volunteers coming together.

After a full day of ethical dialogue Sutherland A and Prince of Wales B emerged on top, winning most of their matches and receiving the most votes from the judges. We wish both teams success at the National Ethics Bowl Finals!

The Ethics Bowl Project’s other activities this year included hosting the annual BC Social Studies Teachers’ Association Professional Development Conference in October on Burnaby Mountain, connecting 200 in-person and 300 online attendees to teacher training workshops. The Project also collaborated with the Wosk Centre for Dialogue to host a friendly Ethics Bowl earlier this year, titled “Ethics of Climate Adaptation”. 11 teams participated in the friendly competition to gear up for the Ethics Bowl season.

L.A. Matheson’s House of Mustangs A team is preparing for their presentation.

What is an Ethics Bowl?

An Ethics Bowl is both a collaborative and competitive team event, in which grade 9-12 students are given room to discuss expertly-written ethical cases within an educationally-enhanced debate structure. Teams are rewarded for constructive engagement, critical thinking, listening and dialogue skills. The result is an event where students articulate and engage with each others’ well-reasoned and well-researched opinions, growing through their interactions with fellow students and judges. In the Ethics Bowl, awareness of the stakeholders and nuances of an issue is rewarded, which prepares students for real-life discussions. You can read the cases discussed by the students by clicking here.

Dr. Charles Best team is making their presentation.

With Thanks

The Ethics Bowl Project is hosted and supported by the generous contributions of the Department of Philosophy and the Faculty of Arts and Socials Sciences. We are also grateful for the contributions of BC Social Studies Teachers’ Association, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, and Canadian Heritage.

Ethics Bowl’s mission of promoting critical dialogue aligns with the UNESCO School Network’s aim of cultivating global citizenship skills among students, and promoting reflection on current issues such as human rights, cultural diversity, climate action and sustainable development. We hope that schools participating in the Ethics Bowl will join the UNESCO School Network to take advantage of many wonderful opportunities for growth and education!

Our wonderful volunteer judges and moderators bring their expertise to this event, and the wonderful teams and their coaches elevate the event and exceed expectations every year. You can find out more about or judges, moderators and participating teams as well as their coaches by clicking here.

Vancouver Technical Secondary team is respnoding to a judge’s question.