Friday, June 17, 2011

WDI Blog Moves to New Site

We have consolidated all WDI information as well as the blog at a new website. Check there for the latest information about our programs around the world.

Monday, May 23, 2011

EDI Adds Faculty, New Website for August Free Debate Workshop

The East Debate Institute is a FREE WUDC debate training workshop that will be held at the University of Vermont 21-26 August 2011. Attendees must arrange their own housing and meals, but there is a nearby youth hostel.

EDI has announced some new faculty members:

  • Monica Ferris, Hart House, University of Toronto, Canada: Canadian National Champ, US Universities Finalist.
  • G. Rhydian Morgan, Stylus Communications, UK: CA at numerous international tournaments, lifetime member of the Oxford Union, has taught at workshops in North America, Europe, Asia, Middle East and more.

These faculty members join existing staff:
  • Dr. Jan Hovden, Bates College, USA: coached team to semis at US Universities, coaches successful APDA team, coached USA policy national champions.
  • Mary Nugent, Cambridge Union, UK: Director of Debating at Cambridge Union Society, judged WUDC finals, won four UK IVs, Vermont coach in 2011-12.
  • Dr. Alfred Snider, University of Vermont, USA: CA at many tournaments in USA and abroad, breaking judge at WUDC, coached NEUDC sweepstakes champions four years in a row. EDI Director. 
There is a new website for the program, complete with registration details, housing links and a tentative schedule.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

WDI European Programs for Fall

View from the town Kranjska Gora in north-west...Image via Wikipedia
The International Debate Academy in Slovenia is jointly sponsored by the World Debate Institute and ZIP SLovenia.

First, here is the link to the new web page that contains the educational elements of the 2010 program. 

 with video lectures from Kranjska Gora and a lot of content and debate training material. Please, feel free to use it and circulate it in your debate circuits. We would also appreciate a lot if you can publisice the link to this debate training web to your ownweb page. Thanks a lot. 

The second info is about IDAS 2011 - it will happen in Hotel Špik again and tournament in Ljubljana, from 19th - 28th of November. You can participate in the whole event or the tournament only.  Here is the web page 
The registration is open. Please, do not wait with registration as the places are limited. 

Some of you know that we did submit a new proposal to Europe for Citizens. We do expect the answer will be in June and I will let you know when we find out. I will also inform everybody if we are able to  give scholarships for those who otherwise can not afford to participat. Right now we do not have any sponsor yet. 

I will appreciate a lot if you can circulate this information in your debate community and globally. 

Best, Bojana 
Bojana Skrt 
Za in proti, zavod za kulturo dialoga 
Svetosavska 24, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenija 
+386 (0)41 423377

Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, January 17, 2011

News from USUDC 16 January 2011

USUDC 2011 is hosted by the Lawrence Debate Union at the University of Vermont in cooperation with the World Debate Institute and the Debate Central websites, of which this is one.

Lots to report...

Entries are now at 142 teams with 24 on the extra teams waiting list. It seems like we will really make our 200 team cap, so please enter now before you get shut out. Check the list to make sure you are there. If you have judges that are not listed let us know.

Many global teams have contacted us and we are negotiating with them on visas and issues like housing and they are arranging funding for transportation. We will add them to the list when we can. We have already added Alberta, British Columbia, ILCS Morocco, Manila,
Marianapolis, National University of Singapore, Queen's, Tshwane University of Technology, and University College Dublin.

We have considered the applications of the many DCAs and we have made decisions. We are contacting them now and will make an announcement later this week. Thank you so much for the impressive array of global talent that applied.

After our DCAs are announced we will be putting out a call for judges to add to our pool. Some subsidy will be available, rego waivers, housing and even limited travel sponsorship. Stand by for this. We will have an announcement about those agreeing to attend to judge in about a month.

There is still time to apply to be part of the America's Cup Debates. This open field is attracting some of the best debaters in the world. Application deadline for one of the 16 spots is the end of January. Send us your top 5 tournament finishes.

We are working on finalizing the budget for this large event. We are still seeking sponsors. Point us at any you know of and we are in discussions now.

More news to come!

Alfred Snider

Convener, US Universities Debating Championship 2011

Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, January 14, 2011

WDI Reports from World Debate Forum in Africa

By Alfred Snider, WDI Director

The World Debate Forum was held for two days after the WUDC Botswana as an opportunity for those interested in promoting debate in their countries. The original idea was to have a good size group swap ideas, make presentations and network. The hopes were not met but the event was nevertheless a useful one.

The original idea was to have four different sessions, and in each of then have 3-4 presentations followed by questions, and also allow for break-out groups and other discussions. I worked hard to get presentations for my section (education and training) and did succeed in getting four presentations: Bojana Skrt of Slovenia on teacher training, Nur Asia of Malaysia on using debate to develop soft skills, Gavin Ilsley on debate training as a preparation for business consulting, and myself about training debaters (exercises and workshops). These were the only four presentations that took place.

There were 28 people but they represented 18 countries: Botswana, China, Ghana, Korea, Macedonia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Poland, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Slovenia, Tanzania, Uganda, United Kingdom, USA, Zambia and Zimbabwe. People from Macedonia, Poland, United Kingdom and USA had come as part of an Open Society Foundation/IDEA contingent. Logan and Ahyoung Kim were the organizers.

It did not start well as we were told we would leave WUDC at 1 PM, then it was delayed until 5 PM, and then they put us on the wrong bus, and then we took off for a location we did not even know of and that had been not announced. It was the Sedibeng Lodge at the end of a dirt road, and it was fine but without real internet and the restaurant was very understocked and often out of what you wanted. They did have a small pool but it looked a little too green for me.

On the first day Logan changed the start time again (something he seems to do a lot) and the first session was renamed to talk about competitive debate and he led the discussion. It ended up being about lots and lots of things. A spin off discussion about using the Internet was led by David Crane of Debatewise to promote OSI activities that are online. That was an interesting discussion and we heard that 2011 will be the year of the Internet video, but also from the African countries that they simply did not have the bandwidth for videos. I vowed to take a group of 50 videos that would be good for beginner training (we have 1785 debate videos online) and strip the picture out of them and make them available as simple sound files.

The afternoon discussion was led by Alex Dukalkis of IDEA/OSI and dealt with using debate for advocacy. I had to miss part of it to complete some vital emails about my courses starting when I get back, but did join in and shared our programs for public debates and our television advocacy program, Flashpoint.

That was the end of day 1. Bojana and I had been approached the day before by the cook who wanted to prepare us some local cuisine, and we had agreed on a dish. When I went to order it I was informed that she had not come to work that day. When we tried to order other things from the menu we were told they were all out. Frustrated, we got a cab and went to the famous Bull and Bush restaurant, which was a fantastic African barbecue place down at the end of a dirt road, and it was reasonable and very tasty. We came back and went to bed, still tired from WUDC I think.

Day 2 began with our session on debate education and training. Bojana did an excellent presentation about teacher training, which prompted a lot of questions from African debate organizers. I followed with a presentation of basic training exercises and drills along with a description of the "academy" (as in International Debate Academy Slovenia, and Iraq Debate Acaemy, Qatar Debate Academy, and many more). Nur Asia from Malaysia gave a very interesting presentation on the approach at Malaysia's International Islamic University and their program to build "soft skills" in students through debate. Gavin Ilsley of the UK then gave a presentation about using debate skills to engage in business consulting and training after university, and that led to a very interesting discussion about whether we were training ethical communicators or win at any cost competitors. Lunch came next, and after that a "catch all" session led by Logan where we tried to discuss other issues, but the event ended about an hour early as people did not seem to have much more to say. Some Africans expressed mild frustrations, as did I because so few people had organized presentations.

It certainly could have been better, but for my part I learned a lot from African debate organizers about their situation and the challnges they face, I shared my ideas about how to conduct debate training, and I made a lot of good network connections that might lead to some interesting African training opportunities later.

There was some talk about trying to organize another such event linked to WUDC Manila, but I am not sure about that. We shall see. As for me, I am all about doing what I can to promote debate in places were it is new or non-existant.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Monday, December 20, 2010

WDI Holds Debate Training Sessions in Ljubljana in December

While staying in Ljubljana in preparation for heading down south to WUDC Botswana I was called on by those here in Slovenia to do some training. I was glad to do it as a representative of the World Debate Institute ( because Slovenian debaters are very serious and very anxious to learn and I love to teach debating.

On Tuesday evening 14 December 2010 I met with the debate club at the Law Faculty of the University of Ljubljana. Urska Derganc (sorry, I lack the right characters) and Gregor Janzek lead the club, and invited me to do a presentation on "Build Better Arguments." There were about 30 people there, and some of them were not debaters, but who wanted to learn more so they will write better essays as well as write better legal arguments. I reviewed the problems most often found in inductive, deductive and causal arguments. Then I talked about how to build "thicker" arguments that are deeper and more substantive, using my new models for mechanical, organic and stakeholder arguments. Then, I talked about 12 different forms of support you can use for an argument. We ended by asking volunteers to give 3 minute speeches on an assigned motion to illustrate their use of these "thicker" techniques. 17 of the 32 or so volunteered and spoke. After that we adjourned to a nearby pub for discussion and the telling of tall tales.

On Thursday afternoon 16 December 2010 I went to Gymnasia Bezigrad to meet with high school debaters. EUDC ESL champion Maja Cimerman directs this club, and once again about 30 people showed up for a session on "How to Be a Dynamic Speaker." I did my usual talk about the three laws of dynamism and how to apply them to all facets of speech delivery, and then I added some new material I had developed for IDAS about what empirical research in persuasion shows are things to do and not to do while giving a speech. There was not time for an exercise, but the reception I received seemed warm and genuine. After that I had a farewell meeting with Maja and then trundled into a taxi.

On Saturday and Sunday December 18 and 19 December 2011 I met with the Slovenia world schools team that is preparing for a tournament in Istanbul as well as the upcoming World Schools Debating Championship that will be held in 2011 in Dundee, Scotland. On Saturday morning I did a "Principle" exercise with them where I would give each pair a motion and have them immediatekly tell me what the principle would be behind prop and opp. We did about 30 or more motions in a brief time. Then, we did a speaking exercise like the one at where they get a motion and have to start talking immeditely while a panel of students evaluates their speaking on various features: language choices and crutch words, hands and body, voice and face and finally a general style rating and evaluation. This went really well and we decided to do it again the next day. Then we ended with a debate on "in some cases violence is justified to protect the environment." I was first opp speaker. It was a very spirited debate and afterwards Bojana delivered a long critique (in Slovenian). The next day we met again in the morning and I did a follow up series of speaking drills, this time capturing them on video. Each student would list the things they had done wrong the previous day, then I would give them a motion that they had to start speaking on immediately, and then a panel of students evaluiated them, all captured on video. Then we had a debate (in which I weas second opp speaker) on the motion, "China should adopt EU environmental standards." This was a difficult motion to debate, and they did a fine job. I was better than the day before. Again, Bojana delivered a long critique in Slovenian. This team is a very talented group but does have some rough spots. I know that with Bojana Skrt's relentless preparation they will make Slovenia proud.

Today, Monday, I prepare to leave for Botswana tomorrow. I hope they clear the snow in Frankfurt so flying south is possible!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Reporting from WUDC in Africa

I leave early this afternoon. I am beginning one of the longer debate journeys of my life. Global Debate will be there with me, because it is me. Follow here and on Twitter (asnider) and Facebook (Alfred Snider).  Thanks to WDI for symbolic sponsorship.

In Slovenia: debate workshops, events, pubic debates and more. 

In Botswana: arriving at WUDC early to help in planning for the logistics of this event. Thanks to OrgComm for inviting me. Watch for reports as you wing towards Africa.

At WUDC Botswana: motions, events, gossip, breaks, bid news, results. Lots of videos that will end up on Debate Video ( We will see how my digital service holds up in south central Africa.

At World Debate Forum in Botswana: people, topics, speculations, and also videos from this exciting post-WUDC event.

Post WUDC Tourism: Not so much news, but you never know what may happen when I get to the Kalahari Desert.

Back to Europe for a brief breather, then back to Vermont to start the next semester of debate competition in the Northeast USA.

Thanks for paying attention!
Enhanced by Zemanta

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Vermont Wins IDAS 2010 Tournament

Stephen Boyle with his team from Vermont, John Sadek and Jessica Bullock

John Sadek and Jessica Bullock have won the 60 team 24 country International Debate Academy Slovenia 2010 tournament held at the Faculty of Administration, University of Ljubljana in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Filip Dobranic and Maja Cimernan of Ljubljana, the reigning EUDC ESL champs, came second, other teams in the final Were Anna England Kerr and Crt Podlogar from Ljublljana along with the Serbian team of Goran Jankuloski and Pedrag Pevicevic from BelgradeJUDGES:

Anne Valkering, Netherlands (chair), John Hampson, British Council, Loke Wing Fatt, Singapore, TJ Senamngern, Thailand and Maja Nenadovic, Netherlands.

Semifinals: bold go through
Kerr Podlogar 1O
Williams Eng 2O
Cimerman Dobranic 1P
Pitic Moscovici 2P
ROOM: 14
Dicu Gadeke 1O
Jankuloski Petricevic 2P
Sobocan Denkovski 1P
Sadek Bullock 2O

Quarterfinals: bold go through
Cimerman Dobranic, Slovenia/Ljubljana
16 Alexandrescu Sovaiala-Ionescu, Romania/Argo
Pitic Moscovici, Romania/Argo
Durrani Joyce, USA/St. John's
Kerr Podlogar, Slovenia/Ljubljana
13 Vignevic Cirovic, Serbia/Belgrade
Suleic Kolundzic, Serbia/Belgrade
12 Williams Eng, USA/Air Force Academy
Dicu Gadeke, Romania-Germany
15 Jutersek Polsak, Slovenia/Maribor
Jankuloski Petricevic, Serbia/Belgrade
10 Salapic Martinic, Croatia
Sadek Bullock, USA/Vermont
14 Sobocan Denkovski, Slovenia/Maribor-Cambridge
Vrecic Zitek, Slovenia/Ljubljana
11 Velikovski Georgievska, Macedonia

PositionNameTeamTotal pointsAverage

1Maja CimermanCimerman Dobranic48180,16

2Filip Muki DobranicCimerman Dobranic47979,83

3Marietta GadekeDicu Gaeke47579,16

4Eveline DicuDicu Gaeke47378,83

5Goran JankulovskiJankulovski Petricevic47278,66

5Jessica BullockSadek Bullock47278,66

7Anna England KerrKerr Podlogar47078,33

7Serban PiticPitic Moscovici47078,33

9Mlden SuleicSuleic Kolundzic46978,16

10John SadekSadek Bullock46878,00

1. THW require migrants wishing to have European citizenship to pass language and value tests.
2. This House would return national treasures to their country of origin
3. This House believes that adoption agencies that receve state funding should give priority to same sex couples and infertile couples.
4. This House would require large online social networks to be controlled democratically by their users.
5. This House would refuse to negotiate with kidnappers and hijackers.
6. This House believes that Roma should be recognized as the first transnational minority in the European Union.
THBT Arabic nations should stop selling oil to France until it removes restrictions on Islamic dress.

Semis. THBT the ECB should have veto power over member states budgets
Finals. THBT the free market does not make the workers free.

The oprogram is sponsored by ZIP Slovenia, World Debate Institute USA, European Union, Europe for Citizens Program and the law firm of Bickell and Brewer. 
Enhanced by Zemanta

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Breaking Teams at IDAS 2010

60 teams pose before round one

Top 20 teams, top 16 advance to quarterfinals in the morning:

1. Cimerman Dobranic 15-960 Slovenia/Ljubljama
2. Dicu Gadeke 14-948 Romania/Germany
3. Sadek Bullock 14-940 USA/Vermont
4. Kerr Podlogar 14-935 Slovenia/Ljubljana
5. Suleic Kolundzic 13-932 Serbia/Belgrade
6. Vrecic Zitek 13-896 Slovenia/Ljubljana
7. Jankiloski Petricevic 12-939 Serbia/Belgrade
8. Pitic Moscovici 12-930 Romania/Argo
9. Durrani Joyce 12-917 USA/St. John's
10. Salapic Martinic 12-899 Croatia
11. Velkovski Georgievska 12-898 Macedonia
12. Williams Eng, 11-913 USA/US Air Force Academy
13. Vignjevic Cirovic 11-912 Serbia/Belgrade
14. Sobocon Denkovski 11-911 Slovenia/Maribor & Cambridge
15. Juterek Polsak 11-909 Slovenia/Maribor
16. Alexandrescu Sovaiala-Ionescu 11-902 Romania/Argo

17. Brach Krakowski 11-894 Poland
18. Lipovsek Arvaj 11-890 Slovenia
19. Weese Jager 10-911 Austria/Vienna
20. Duque Diaz 10-907 Venezuela/AUDAS
20. Bencik Fink 10-907 Slovenia

IDAS is sponsored by ZIP Slovenia and the World Debate Institute at the University of Vermont, with support from European Union and the law firm of Bickel and Brewer. 
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, November 26, 2010

WDI Sponsored IDAS Moves Into Tournament Phase

This is the view from the room at Hotel Spik where I was staying.

The International Debate Academy Slovenia instructional portion ended on Thursday night.

After a day of three lectures, nine exercise groups, twelve practice debates, ten electives and then twelve more rooms of practice debates, the day ended with the famous "Kitsch Party." Everyone came in their funkiest styles and Gavin Ilsley got his legs waxed (so his short skirt would look better) in an effort to raise money for breast cancer and prostate cancer research. I am sure there will be lots of photos later.

Friday morning buses will take everyone to Ljubljana for the tournament held at the Faculty of Public Administration at the University of Ljubljana. Some teams added, a couple had to go home, but we are looking at a field of 60 teams at roll call. Rounds one and two will be today, three through six on Saturday, and then elimination rounds on Sunday.

Stay tuned for all details. 
Enhanced by Zemanta