Wednesday, December 5, 2007

WDI Sponsors International Debate Academy in Europe

The 5th International Debate Academy Slovenia has been completed. It was sponsored by ZIP-Slovenia and the World Debate Institute of the University of Vermont.

Representatives of 19 nations attended: Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, UK, Germany, Romania, Mongolia, Taiwan, India, USA, Serbia, Ukraine, Estonia, Canada, Singapore, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Russia, Slovenia, and Venezuela.

The faculty included:

* Loke Wing Fatt, SAID Singapore and WUDC breaking judge.
* Jens Fischer, Germany, Chief Adjudicator at Euros.
* Neill Harvey-Smith, WUDC finalist and Chief Adjudicator for Euros
2008, now with Debate Chambers, United Kingdom.
* Steve Llano, USA national champion coach, St. Johns University, USA.
* Branka Marusic, President of European Universities Debating
Council, Croatia.
* Rhydian Morgan, Chief Adjudicator at numerous UK tournaments, now
with GRM Communications, United Kingdom.
* Sam Nelson, USA national champion coach, Cornell University, USA.
* Uve Poom, Europeans EFL Champion and Euros 2008 organizer.
* Bojana Skrt, World Schools EFL Champion coach twice, Slovenia.
* Alfred Snider, Director of World Debate Institute, University of
Vermont, USA.

There were 5 instruction days, all with the same schedule:
8 AM Breakfast
8:45 AM Morning meeting
9 AM Lecture in three experience groups
10 AM Exercises and drills in six experience groups
11:30 AM Release of motion for practice debate, practice debate, critique
1 PM Lunch
3 PM Elective session (3 or 4 options, attend what you want)
4 PM Elective session (same, different topics)
5 PM Release of motion for practice debate, practice debate, critique
7 PM Dinner
Evenings Social activities and free time.

The faculty put on a very entertaining show debate, and you can see the video below.

A number of electives were designed to help people train others when they went back home.

We bused to Ljubljana for the tournament, six rounds and then semifinals. The President-elect of Slovenia welcomed us and gave us some handy debate advice. Before the finals the major of Ljubljana dropped in to wish us well. The break night party in a Ljubljana night club was, I am told, quite good.

You can read more at our blog, which is at
Our website for this year was at

The event received very positive evaluations from the students. Comments included:
- They definitely should attend because it expands both your debate ablilities and your perspective on the world as a whole. A very enjoyable and educational experience.
- If you want to learn how to debate and improve your debating skills, this programme is perfect for you.
- Academy is a great place to know yourself and people around you.
- It's great. Culturally I learned so much.
- Definitly attend. Lectures are excellent and diversity of people who attend is great and adds different perspectives.
- IDAS – changes your life.
- Want to learn to think faster? Attend!
- GO, GO, GO. Geat experience, lots of new things, see you next year.
- Fun time! Meet lots of great people! Work hard! Party hard!
- Brain training.
- Best decision I have made for a long long time.
- I believe this event is worth it.
- I can't wait for next year!
- If you want to learn something good about a culture of dialog this is the right place for you!
- It will change you, you'll learn a lot, listen to the best lecturers, you have to come!

The entire cost for tuition, room and all food, was 200 Euros, with many students receiving scholarships when they needed them.

Next year's 2008 dates are: arrive 23 November, 24-28 Instruction, 29-30 tournament.

Make plans to join us.

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