Wednesday, November 26, 2008

WDI Europe/International Debate Academy Begins

Sam Greenland speaks in the demo debate

Arrivals can be difficult and this one was no exception. All are now here and safe. Now we are about 80 people from 15 countries here for a week before we move to Maribor for the tournament.

Sunday night most people had arrived and a demo debate was featured. The motion was “This house would punish parents for the crimes of their minor children." It was an all-star cast, with Debbie Newman (world champion WSDC coach for England, England-Wales debate champion, former president of Cambridge Union) debating with Sam Greenland (Sydney WUDC semifinalist in 2007, former Hong Kong WSDC coach) were opening proposition, Sam Natale (top speaker, Northeast Universities 2008, University of Vermont) and Lucas Caress (top speaker, Global Youth Debate Conclave, Bangalore 2008, University of Vermont) were closing proposition; Filip Dobranic (twice top EFL speaker at WSDC, University of Ljubljana) and Maja Cimerman (EFL world WSDC champion, University of Ljubljana) were opening opposition, and last but not least Steve Llano (former national champion coach in USA, St. John's University) and Loke Wing Fatt (Singapore, WUDC breaking judge, father of debate in China) as closing opposition. It was a very spirited debate, chaired by Berlin Debating Union's Jens Fischer, and caused a great deal of discussion among he students. The video is coming soon.

Each day has the same schedule. There is an 8:45 AM organizational meeting at breakfast, followed by a series of lectures divided by experience level. After one hour there is a brief break before we meet again for an hour of drills on the subject of the lectures to help turn theoretical materials into behavior and habit. Then a motion is given and everyone has a debate with a long critique. There is a lunch break followed by a digestion break before the afternoon's activities take place. There are two one-hour period for elective classes. During each of these periods between five and seven different topics are offered, and students can choose which they would like to go to. I will send along a list of enacted electives later. After the second elective of the afternoon another motion is announced and with another debate and a long critique before dinner.

The first practice debate motions were:
1-THW pay a salary to stay-at-home parents
2-TH would create separate units for gays in the military.
3-THBT supporting Georgia's NATO bid is more important than maintaining good relations with Russia.
4-THBT the capitalist experiment has failed.
5-THW criminalize Holocaust denial.

Evenings have had a considerable social component. On Monday night the Country Exhibition took place where students brought items, foods, beverages and other things from their country on display and shared them with everyone. This was a robust affair of international fraternity and lasted well into the night. On Tuesday evening the traditional Slovenian "Kitsch Party" took place. Students swapped clothing and dressed outrageously for the party. It raged for quite a while before the judging took place. Sam(antha) Ricker of the University of Vermont was the winner, looking quite good in ponytails and wearing Helena Felc's pajamas. Second place was Don(na) Bracciodieta of St. John's, who had nice cleavage. Pictures will be coming along soon.

Having been at all six International Debate Academy sessions, I would say that the experience level and excellence of the teams is growing immensely here and all over Europe and the world.

Stay tuned for more from Ormoz.

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