Advancing quality of debate organisations during Debate exchange
European debaters unanimously support the establishment of a European Schools Debating Championships (EuroDSDC). The proposed tournament would combine a showcase of debate excellence with strong aims to support inclusion for debate in Europe. This event, the first to award the title of European champion on a secondary school level, would be held annually in February or March, with hosts for the first three editions already expressing an interest to host.
EuroSDC was the focal point of many discussions, but not the only example of collaboration at the Exchange. This annual event excels at bringing together youth workers involved in debate and helping them find a platform for collaboration. Debaters with strong knowledge of IT banded together to form a community looking at sharing and advancing digital tools for learning and project management. Organizers from different parts of the continent developed innovative new ideas, with burgeoning consortia from Spain and Italy to Slovenia and The Netherlands looking at setting up projects to strengthen feedback processes in debate and bring debate education to incarcerated citizens. This latest initiative is in line with a celebrated programme in the United States which grabbed headlines when inmates in a New York high security prison beat a team from Harvard University in 2015.
Beyond collaboration, the Exchange emphasised the importance of skills-building in its participants. With workshops combining insights from three tracks, 65 participants built their own week-long curriculum, combining insight from project management, pedagogy and training, and fundraising. These 65 individuals follow in a near-decade long tradition: this was the sixth exchange, only punctuated by the global pandemic. Alumni of this event have been involved in hosting some of the largest volunteer-run events in Europe, including European and Worlds Universities Debating Championships.
The Exchange was hosted in Bratislava, Slovakia from August 27th to September 1st. The event was organized in cooperation with our IDEA member Slovenska Debatna Asociacia (SDA), which runs one of the largest informal youth programmes in the country, with a strong focus on rural-urban outreach. This project was made possible through a co-financing grant under the Youth Accreditation of Erasmus+.
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