Our People

The team behind IDEA


Aaron Fishbone
President of the Board

Aaron Fishbone (Slovakia/ USA) debated for the University of Vermont (USA) from 1998-2002. He spent five years actively involved with the IDEA network, including 4 times as a trainer at IDEA Youth Forums and 3 times as a curriculum committee member. During this time he also served 3 years as a member of the board of the District of Columbia Urban Debate League.

Despite doing other things like getting a masters degree in public administration, running political campaigns, serving four years in the Mayor's Office of the City of Seattle (WA, USA), and being a Robert Bosch Foundation Fellow in Germany, Aaron has kept returning to debate projects, serving as the founding director of the Silicon Valley Urban Debate League summer institute in the summer of 2015 and on the curriculum committee of the Debating Threats to Democracy Program in Bratislava in March 2017.

For the last several years Aaron has been the communications director of two electric mobility companies based in Bratislava - GreenWay and Voltia.

Gedmine Marija Rackiene
Vice president of the Board

Gedminė Marija Račkienė (Lithuania) has been a significant contributor to Lithuanian Debating Community in the capacity of a debater, coach and organizer for more than 13 years. Currently she serves as a board member for Educational Debate Center Lithuania. She debated as part of Team Lithuania in World Schools Debating Championship (WSDC) ’06 Wales and ’07 South Korea. Later on, she moved on to coaching: WSDC in ’12, South Africa; ’10 Qatar, IDEA forum in ’09 Bosnia, ’11 Turkey and ’12 Mexico.

She was a trainer and a coordinator of debate projects in Lithuania, Finland, Thailand and China.

Gedmine has a degree in political science and work experience in management consulting and account management.

Raminta Dereskeviciute
Board member

Raminta Dereskeviciute (England/ Lithuania) has transferred her successful experiences as a debater, coach, and adjudicator in Lithuanian into an international legal career.

As a debater, she was the founder and president of the Lithuanian University Debate Society, participated in numerous moot court competitions, and volunteered as an adjudicator and coach at countless debate events.

She is active in the community and has been involved as a board member and president of the Lithuanian City of London Club (LCLC) and is actively involved in Global Lithuanian Leaders and Invest Lithuania. She contributes to the law firm's Pro Bono program and participates in various initiatives for university students, including LT Big Brother, where she mentors aspiring law students.

As a board member of IDEA, she is very passionate about the role of education in support of emerging economies

Dr. Sharmila Parmanand
Board member

Dr. Parmanand (England/ Philippines) is an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Gender Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She has a PhD from the University of Cambridge on a Gates Scholarship and a master's in Development Studies from the University of Melbourne on an Australian Awards scholarship.

She was previously a lecturer in speech and rhetoric at the University of Vermont (USA) and Ateneo de Manila University. She has also served as an invited trainer or chief judge in debating events in over 45 countries, including the world championships at both the universities and schools levels, and major tournaments in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and North America.

Radka Pudilova
Board member

Radka Pudilova (Germany/Czechia) was a debater and coach in the Czech Debate Association during her high school studies and subsequently founded Debate and MUN clubs at her university. She has worked mainly in international development, concentrating on issues related to tech for
good, innovation and youth empowerment.

Radka's regions of interest are primarily Western Balkans and MENA and as a Media for Peace fellow she is currently working on finding a digital product to support work of journalists in (post-)conflict areas.

Blerina Guga-Kurrizo
Board member

Mrs. Blerina Guga-Kurrizo (Albania) has been involved with debating since 1996, first as a debater, then as a coach and later national team trainer, IDEA certified trainer, and coach at two IDEA Youth Forums. “Once a debater, forever a debater” is her motto.

With 20 years of experience in the civil sector, Mrs. Guga counts extensive work in research, training and developing advocacy campaigns in Albania. She is an experienced trainer in strategic planning, organizational development, leadership and individual learning, critical thinking, public speaking and debate, grants making and partnerships, organizational behavior and the communication in the administrative structures, project monitoring and evaluation tools and practices.

Mrs. Guga holds an MSc degree in Political Philosophy and a BA degree in Philosophy - Sociology from the Social Sciences faculty of Tirana University. She is a World of Difference Award Winner of Vodafone Foundation Albania for 2011 and alumna of Albanian Schools of Political Sciences and McCain Leadership Institute. She joined Junior Achievement Albania in April 2019 and has been the CEO since January 2021.

Václav Soukup
Board member

Václav (Czechia) has been involved in debating for more than 14 years. Starting as a high school debater at the age of 16, he quickly became a judge, coach, and trainer. In 2013 Václav was elected President of the Czech Debate Association and has been in charge ever since. During this time, he has held volunteering positions in the organization’s leadership and finally in 2020, he managed to raise enough funds to become its first full-time employee. Now he’s serving as the CDA's Executive Director, coordinating all of its activities and projects.

Apart from debating, Václav has long-term management experience in middle and large-sized IT companies.

Jan Libicek
Board member

Jan Libicek (England/Czech Republic) actively participated in debating at both school and university levels, representing UCL and Oxford, and was a member of the Oxford Squad. He debated twice and judged three times at World Schools Debating Championships (WSDC), and attended multiple IDEA Youth Forums. He won the Czech national debate competition and received top speaker awards at various national and international events.


In addition to his competitive endeavours, Jan played a pivotal role in organising the annual Heart of Europe debating tournament in the Czech Republic. Jan also took part in moot court competitions at Oxford, led public speaking workshops for university students, coached debate teams at various levels, and was involved in model UN conferences in three countries.


Jan holds an MA in Jurisprudence (Law) from the University of Oxford. Throughout his career, spanning four continents, Jan has consistently focused on investments in the energy transition space. Currently, he serves as Investment Director at Triple Point in London, where he continues this focus.


Executive Director

Bojan Marjanović works to support debate-based education, critical thinking, and promote pedagogy of empowerment. He has over 20 years of experience in the education sector, starting with competitive debate and moving on to expand debate methodology to support young people in becoming critical thinkers and active citizens. Bojan has received several national awards for educational excellence from the Croatian Ministry of Education and the Education and Teacher Training Agency for his work with debaters. 


Fundraiser and project manager

Anastazija has been involved in debating since 2007 as a debater, coach, adjudicator, tournament convener, project and program manager, and fundraiser. She has many interests, the foremost of which is ensuring that opportunities for learning how to think critically exist and are accessible.

Anastazija convened the World Schools Debating Championships twice, on behalf of the Croatian Debate Society in 2018 and IDEA in 2022, and was a member of the World Schools Debating Championships Board of Directors. She helped develop Croatian Debate Society's international debate program and convened the international debate tournament Winter Holidays Open from 2014 to 2020. 


Deputy director, Head of office

Daan Welling was a highly succesful debater at university, winning the European Universities Debating Championships (EUDC) for Leiden University.

He moved from competitive success to co-organising large-scale events, giving workshops on three different continents, and developing opportunities for civil engagement for at-risk youth. Daan is in charge of the Utrecht office of IDEA and has been involved with IDEA since 2018.


Head of education

Devin van den Berg is an experienced debater and coach.  Starting in high school, Devin quickly found a passion for the art of debate and went on to become a four-time Dutch National Champion, and reached the semi-finals at the World Championships (ESL).

In addition to competing, Devin has also made contributions to the debate community as an author, writing a chapter for the book ADAPT, which explores the use of the debate methodology in the philosophy classroom. Devin's experience and knowledge has also been valuable as a coach, having served as the Head Coach of the Dutch National High School Debating team for six years and training over 500 teachers from around the globe on how to implement debate methodology in their classrooms.

Devin is dedicated to fostering the development of young debaters and helping them to achieve their full potential.

Project assistant

Toon Vos is a writer and designer with a passion for science, biodiversity and ecology, media literacy, and human rights. He worked for Are We Europe Magazine as an editor and organizer and loves working on editorial and multimedia projects that are accessible, educational, and good-looking.

Toon aims to make information more engaging and exciting, with the goal of empowering young people to stay curious and communicate their own messages.


Office Administration








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