Sunday, December 20, 2009

WDI Sponsored Iraq Debate Academy Comes to Successful Close

Mesopotamia Debating Tournament Champions: Sara Mustafa, Mohammed Ali, Sayran Ibrahim, Read Ahmed

Second Place: Bayad Jamal Ali, Safa Fudhl, Arevan Kamaran, Enji Issa

Band of Adventuring Debate Trainers: Jason Jarvis, Megan Harlow, Alfred Snider, Bojana Skrt, Matt Stannard, Jonathan Borock

The World Debate Institute at the University of Vermont has been proud to partner with Za In Proti national debate program of Slovenia and Iraq Debate to make this wonderful program possible.

We did not have dinner with the governor of Duhok last night as it was rescheduled for tonight. Apparently a major political figure passed away, someone who had been a judge and a member of parliament and who had been an activist who had been imprisoned by the previous regime for fifteen years. I also learned that the dancing that was to accompany the dinner would not be appropriate but that it would happen this evening.

Each day it seems as if people arrive more and more on time. I am not sure that is whether they know we will be on time or whether they are more motivated, but it is a good development. We had the posting of the practice debate at 9:00 AM and the debate started at 9:30 and it all went off without a hitch. The debate this morning was about the abolition of the death penalty in Iraq and I saw a most interesting debate. I would say that 95% of speech time was filled and that the students were quite engaged. The arguments seemed to cover the usual gamut, but also had quite an Iraqi flair to them. Should Saddam have been left to live so that he could encourage ex-Baathists to stop their violence or should be have bee executed as a lesson to future dictators? If a murderer is not executed but incarcerated would the family of the victim take revenge on a family member of the perpetrator? I really enjoyed it and they seemed most attentive to my comments after the debate.

We immediately moved to round one of the Mesopotamia Debate Tournament. Each team was supposed to have turned in their new configurations for the tournament, and we had hopes that some would not debate so that we might be able to avoid flighting the rounds, which the schedule would not allow. It turned out, however, that only a few teams dropped. So, we had to drop from three preliminary debates to two so that each of 18 teams of four we had could debate twice, and that would be fair to all. However, when the pairings were posted two teams indicated they were not there but should be, and that was because they had not indicated that they would debate in the tournament. One simply did not understand the announcement about it, and the other tam had been reminded by me before the practice debate but simply forgot to turn in their intention form. It was too bad, but there was nothing I could do. Then, it became clear that two teams had turned in TWO intention forms with different team names, so we were able to put all teams who wanted to debate into the tournament.

The first tournament round took place before lunch but without a critique. We had our usual lunch and then the teams returned to their rooms to near a long critique and then also spend some time with the faculty talking about the motions for the next day.

We went back to the hotel for a short rest and then at 6:30 PM we were met by Muhammad and others to go to the guesthouse of the governor of the Duhok Province. His Excellency Governor Ramadhan. It was a large and modern building overlooking the lake created by the Duhok Dam. As we entered we were greeted by our good friend Mamoud who had helped us so much during the entire event. He was wonderfully dressed in a traditional Kurdish outfit and most of the men wanted one because it seemed so comfortable as well as being smart. We entered and were served drinks and appetizers, which were excellent. Others were also gathering, but it was clear that this event was mostly for us. The appetizers seemed huge and delicious and many of us thought that this was the meal. Then there was lamb and chicken on skewers and that was excellent. Then a huge display of plates of delicious food was set up. Wow.

We carried on some excellent discussions with the Governor, Mr. Ramadhan, who was very curious about the progress of the project. He then asked us for ideas of how we should move forward. We proposed to him a Middle East Debate Academy that had student training but also teacher training as an important component. As a very safe region Kurdistan would be an excellent location. He said that his government would be very interested in seeing such a proposal within two days and that he would formally endorse it so that we could begin seeking funding and support from other groups to go long with his substantial support.

It was a very exciting evening.

The next day was the lone and a busy one. We had three debates, with one of them being the grand final. Students arrived on time and obviously had spent a lot of time preparing for the motions. The debates were serious and showed the real progress that the students have been making.

During lunch I tallied the results and announced the two finalists – University of Kurdistan Hawler and American University International Sulemaneya. The finals was held in a beautiful chamber in the Social Center of the University of Duhok. The debate was judges by Matt Stannard of Wyoming, Megan Harlow of Bard College & the European Graduate School, along with Jonathan Borock of the NYC Debate Society. Jason Jarvis of Georgia State University was the chair. The motion was:


Then it was time to crown the Mesopotamia Debating Tournament champion. By a 2-1 decision the winner was the University of Kurdistan: Sara Mustafa, Mohammed Ali, Sayran Ibrahim, Read Ahmed. Second place went to American University International: Bayad Jamal Ali, Safa Fudhl, Arevan Kamaran, Enji Issa.

The Top Eight Speakers were:









Each student who completed the program received a signed certificate of accomplishment along with a CD full of resource materials and instructional videos.

There was a surprise speech by the Deputy Governor of the Duhok province who announced publicly that there will me a Middle East Debate Academy held in Kurdistan. We were very surprised since the idea had just been floated the night before, and we took it as a sign of the strong support of the provincial government for what we have done.

There were countless photos, address exchanges, farewells and even a few tears.

And then it was over.

One thing is very clear, debate is here, the people of Iraq are ready for debate as an alternative to violence, and hopefully this will make a positive difference.

I know that I have learned a huge amount, that I have been honored and humbled by these students and the organizers and that I will certainly never be the same.

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Day 1 at WDI Sponsored Iraq Debate Academy

Muhammad Ahmad delivers welcome at opening session

Over 80 students from seven major universities from all around Iraq attended the first day sessions at the Iraq Debate Academy 2009 held in Duhok, Iraq. There were Shia, Sunni, Kurd, Chaldeans and many more as all major ethnic groups were represented. The program is sponsored by iraq Debate, Za In Proti national debate program of Slovenia, and the World Debate Institute of the University of Vermont.

The opening ceremonies featured a welcome speech by Muhammad Ahmad, director and founder of the program, followed by speeches from the President of host Duhok University and also the Mayor of Duhok. Later the governor of the province of Duhok within the Kurdistan Regional Government dropped by to wish his best and send congratulations to the organizers.

Bojana Skrt of Slovenia, who had been delayed in Amman, arrived today.

Alfred Snider of the World Debate Institute at the University of Vermont delivered a short opening speech about the progress of debating throughout the world and discussed empirical evidence about the value of debating in skills in professional and personal life. This was followed by Jason Jarvis, former director of the Asian Debate Institute and now a doctoral students at Georgia State University, who reviewed the format for practice and competition.

Students were divided into groups for activities in public speaking and delivery. After a delicious lunch (it really was delicious!) it was back to small groups for instruction on argument building and refutation. This was followed by extended periods of small group brainstorming on the motion for the first practice debate, THIS HOUSE BELIEVES THAT UNIVERSITY EDUCATION SHOULD NOT BE FREE.

Tomorrow students will form teams and be in their first practice debate, many of them for the first time.

Faculty were impressed by the enthusiasm and interest showed by all of the students. Some were naturally apprehensive about their first debate on Monday, but the vast majority of them had to be held back from debating right away.

More after tomorrow.
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Days 2 & 3 at WDI Sponsored Iraq Debate Academy

Group photo on day 3

Hello from Duhok, Iraq.

With any debate program that is primarily for new debaters and people debating for the first time, there is some attrition. People discover that they will actually have to give speeches and that they will have to debate each other on a variety of subjects, some of them about which they hold strong opinions. I am not sure why they think they will not have to speak at a debate workshop, but there are always a few that are surprised. This is one of the reasons why I think day two of any such program is very important. Because I want to see what will happen.

We had about 84 students attend the first day, and almost the same number came the second day. Some did fade away, but as many came for the first time on day two as vanished. This was very encouraging. It tells me that we are doing a good job of introducing them to debate in a friendly and non-0threatening way, but it also speaks about their courage and determination. We did have one team who said they were very interested in debating, but not interested in sitting through instruction sessions in how to debate. This seemed strange to me, but they were very firm in this, and walked out when we tried to get them to go to a session on basic proposition strategy. They demanded to be scheduled for the debate the morning of day three, and they were, but they did not appear and I replaced them with another team that was there and anxious to debate. I knew from the beginning that their claims sounded hollow, and that is how it worked out. My organizational partners were sad to see them go because they were members of a key ethnic minority and one of the missions here is to bring the different parts of Iraq together.

Day two began with the formation of teams. People gathered and mixed, and then they had formed four-person teams they came to me with the list of names and I gave them a tem number. As soon as I had a decent amount of teams I began assigning them to sides and rooms. They had all prepared the day before on the motion; This House believes that university education should not be free. We phrased it this way because currently in Iraq it is free. I hate having “not” on the motion but I wanted the proposition team to oppose the Iraqi status quo. We had spent time the first day brainstorming and preparing major arguments for this motion. The bus from the hotel where students not from the area was a bit late, but still we had all debates assigned by the scheduled start time. Many of you know that I really want things to run on time (and with Bojana in the group she demands it) and that some say that in this culture people are just not on time. At lunch we had this conversation with the students, and they got better. Teams that arrived after we had a full slate of debates (the workshop was designed for about 50 students, so 80+ puts a strain on things) were assigned to be judges for the existing debates. I think that the teams who were really anxious and ready to debate who showed up too late to get a debating slot learned a lesson from this. As I often say, those who show up run the world.

The first debates were a mixed bag. Some went well and people spoke for their full time, some others did not speak for their full time, and a few had people terrified to speak but we encouraged them and got them to speak and make at least some arguments, telling them that they will get better as the workshop goes on. The arguments that they used were fairly creative and I was encouraged on that account. The debate was followed by a long critique by the faculty. I want to say here that everyone on the faculty is doing a great job. They are patient, they are considerate and they are effective. We all feel like we need to learn from them as well as teach, and especially the Americans do not want to be too dominating because of the USA-Iraq past. They are, in my mind, a “band of heroes,” people who bought their own plane tickets to come here out of a devotion to debating and faith in the young people of Iraq. Jonathan Borack of NYC Debate, Megan Harlow of Bard College, Jason Jarvis of Georgia State University, Bojana Skrt of ZIP Slovenia, Matt Stannard of the University of Wyoming are all great. I am proud to be among them. The students did not really know about this, so during the lunch announcements I explained to the students that we were volunteers who were not being paid and had covered our own travel. We are volunteers just like they are.

I had made several appeals for funding to former debaters who I know have the wherewithal to spare some funds, and while they were all encouraging none of them came up with any money. I am sure it was my fault for not trying hard enough and not making the right sort of appeal, but it would have been nice to have a couple of more trainers so that everyone could debate every time. We had some awesome people who were willing to come, but they simply did not have the $2000+ to spare that it takes to get here. It is hard to ask people for an event that has never happened before, especially in such a conflict prone region, so maybe we will do better if and when we try again. All of that, of course will depend on the will and determination of the local organizers. It must, first and foremost, be their program and we should just assist.

We have lunch in the Duhok University College of Law cafeteria, a spacious room that unfortunately has lots of echoes. The food is plentiful, healthy and tasty. On days one and two we had chicken prepared indifferent ways, along with vegetables and the characteristic flatbread of the region, always served hot. It is served on a plate, not buffet style. The lunch is a great time because you can see everyone swapping and comparing stories and experiences. As faculty, we just try to swap evaluations of different students and their problems so that we can track them and adapt to them more effectively.

After lunch on day two we had brainstorming on the motion for the next morning, This House would support inter-cultural marriage. This is a very hot topic here, especially in such an ethnically diverse region as Iraq. The students had many interesting ideas, and I dare say that the faculty learned a lot from them about the cultural situation. Many students, for example, believed that there are no people who do not believe in god or a god concept, and of course there are a few of us as trainers who share that belief. We also learned that some families might actually kill their children (especially daughters) before allowing them to inter-marry. Others spoke of the power of love and the need for intercultural understanding. It was a very good session, and many of the trainers were absolutely ecstatic about their sessions.

We had found some extra classrooms and invited students to stay after hours for additional instruction if they wished. Many had night classes to go to and others had transportation arrangements they had to meet, but about 12 people remained. The faculty staged a mixed student-faculty debate on the motion; This House believes that Barack Obama should not have received the Peace Prize. It was apparently a very entertaining debate and everyone seemed to love the experience.

In the evening I was fairly tired after a day of organizing, forming debates, begging for extra classrooms, etc. It was a difficult day for me because I did not really do much teaching, but mainly organizing and guiding. While the other trainers got to have good experiences with students, most of mine were less than good. Some people do not want to go to their assigned room, a very few others are obviously here because they have been told to be here not because they want to be here, others decided immediately they do not like their debate partners, others have no confidence in their English (it is interesting to hear someone explain to you in perfect diction why their English is inadequate), etc. I had to cope with these issues, but then somebody has to do it and I guess that is me.

Some of the faculty went out for pizza (I don’t like pizza) and then went to a hookah bar (no alcohol) and smoked some amazing citrus tobacco out of a cold carved pineapple. They said the establishment was almost psychedelic in its d├ęcor. Megan was the only female in the place.

Thus ended day two.

Day three dawned as clearer and brighter, as we had nothing but rain since the start of the program. The trainers met in the restaurant of our hotel for breakfast. It is a very nice hotel (Hotel Jiyan) and we are thankful to the governor of Duhok province for his sponsorship. Iraqi breakfast involves soft warm bred rolls, a delicious yellow lentil soup, hard boiled eggs, olives, jams, cheeses, yogurts and a selection of fresh vegetables. The coffee is good, especially when you special order the Kurdish coffee.

A van picks us up and drives us each day to the campus of Duhok University. It is a large and rapidly growing campus. Construction seems to be the main activity all over Iraq. It seems like a good 30% of all buildings are in the process of being constructed. One day we had a small traffic jam and the other two days all was fine.

Things went smoother the third day. The debates started in a more timely fashion, people spoke for longer and had far better arguments. They really are getting the hang of it. I finally got to do some instruction and judged a debate where students poke the whole time, though two of them needed more encouragement to keep on speaking, but they did. They began to use research they had gathered, personal and historical examples, and found other ways to support their arguments, Some students are already accomplished public speakers, while others are getting better. I found my debaters to be delightful and engaging. Some of them lack confidence in their ability, and when encouraged and when others show confidence in them they find that they can, indeed, speak for their full time and making solid arguments. It was a learning moment for all of us. I learned more about Islamic family customs and practices, while they learned that the appeal to divine law is not appropriate in an intercultural context such as international debating. I told them that they must prepare to debate other nations, because the voice of young Iraq must be heard. They liked this idea, and understood that we need to find common group in logic and reasoning while remaining tolerant and considerate of cultural differences. As many of our students are Kurds, they have already experienced prejudice and intolerance so this is a lesson that they can easily relate to.

After the debate and a short break they adjourned to small groups to learn about opposition strategy. Teams receive motions, work on arguments, and then share them with the group. This sort of activity seems to work well in almost every context where we have tried it. They learn from other students about their motions as well as about their own, and the trainers can guide them in their explorations.

Lunch was, as usual, chicken, rice, vegetables and bread. It finishes with a cup of sweet tea. I got evaluations of the debate performances of teams from all of the trainers and then worked a bit on the next day’s practice debate schedule.

Muhammad Ahmad had been on Kurdish television this morning and he was excited that his supposed 20-minute spot had swelled to an hour. Of course, they will edit it down, but it is a good indication of their interest. They seemed very interested in the motions that we were debating. Muhammad was, at lunch, concerned about the certificates, especially about getting the names correct as well as making sure that only those who complete the program receive them. It is also time to start thinking of the tournament, the Mesopotamian Debating Championship, that will begin tomorrow afternoon. In an announcement before the afternoon session he talked to them about how they need to register to represent their universities and what will be expected of them. We assume that there will be some attrition but one never knows given the determination of these students. My hope is that there will be some attrition because of a shortage of judges and because it would not be possible to flight the rounds. There will be three rounds and then a final round. After Muhammad’s announcements the group gathered for a photo. It is historic. It is the beginning of the Iraq Debate experience!

As I write this day three is coming to an end, even though there will be some additional instruction today after hours. I am now taking the practice debate schedule for tomorrow to the groups for them to examine and then it will be time to go back to the hotel. Tonight Bojana and I have been invited to have dinner with the governor of Duhok and we have accepted.

More on that and other matters later.

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WDI a Big Part of Iraq Debate Academy

Posing at Erbil Citadel (oldest constantly settle place on earth, 7000 years) Jonathan Borock, Jason Jarvis, unknown Iraqi, Alfred Snider, Megan Harlow, Matt Stannard.

With over 100 students signed up for this event (and the Mesopotamian Debating Championship) the faculty held a meeting tonight in the Hotel Jiyan in Erbil, Iraq. The World Debate Institute is proud to be part of this effort as a founding and organizing partner.

The faculty consists of:
  • Muhammad Ahmad, Iraq Debate organizer and originator.
  • Megan Harlow, Bard College, former USA national novice debate champion.
  • Jason Jarvis, former director of many Asian Debate Institutes, now a graduate student at Georgiua State University.
  • Jonathan Borock, NYC, coasch at St. John's Unioversity, formerly of Sophia University in Japan.
  • Matt Stannard, coach at University of Wyoming.
  • Bojana Skrt, ZIP Slovenia, but still stranded in Amman, coming to Iraq tomorrow morning.
  • Alfred Snider, World Debate Institute, University of Vermont.

Here are the motions we will be working with:











More information and a complete report coming tomorrow night Iraq time.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

UVM Team Debates the World


All the World's a (Debate) Stage

Release Date: 12-08-2009

Author: Warren Cornwall

Snider and Natale

Under the guidance of debate coach and forensics professor Alfred "Tuna" Snider, UVM junior Sam Natale and others on the team have traveled to debate competitions worldwide. Recent stamps in Natale's passport: Slovenia, Malaysia, Ireland and Thailand. (Photo: Sally McCay)

Sam Natale didn't have a typical Thanksgiving break.

While many college students encountered turkey leftovers and rarely seen relatives, the University of Vermont junior was six time zones away, facing off against people from 29 countries in heated debates over topics like whether a military should overthrow a corrupt government.

The trip to the tiny southeastern European country of Slovenia was the latest foray for a UVM debate program that has taken a strong international direction.

Over the past two years globe-trotting UVM debaters have crisscrossed the world. In one nine-month period, the debate team racked up enough miles to go to the moon and back. They've taught the finer points of disagreement in countries where open debate until recently was barely tolerated. At the same time, the experience has made them question their own assumptions about the world.

"When you're talking about Kosovo with Serbians," Natale said, "that's a different experience."

Follow the Tuna

The guiding force behind these world travels is a 59-year-old, high-energy iconoclast and debate evangelist, Alfred "Tuna" Snider, the Edwin W. Lawrence Professor of Forensics at UVM.

"It's because the world is smaller and we're bigger," Snider said, to explain his recent emphasis on international debate.

Snider first traveled overseas to promote debating in 1995, when he visited Serbia. The country was ruled by the authoritarian regime of Slobodan Milosevic. Snider recalled Serbian students surrounding thugs sent to disrupt the debate, and chasing them away with chants of "No violence!"

"It was a fabulous moment," he said.

He has since taught debate in more than two dozen countries, and hosts the World Debate Institute, an annual debate camp at UVM. His office is a crowded testament to his international work. A Turkish flag hangs on one wall. A stack of boxes hold gifts from officials in various countries. The latest one is a decorative metal plate from the sultanate of Oman's ministry of education.

His motivation, Snider said, is partly to give people the tools to think for themselves, and partly to promote peaceful dialogue and create a culture of "constructive disagreement."

"I see it as a way for global understanding and social change," he said.

International style

It wasn't until the last three years that the debate team regularly followed Snider overseas.

First, he had to teach people a different way to debate.

Much as Americans still measure things in inches rather then centimeters, so U.S. debaters follow different rules than most other countries.

Here, most debaters exhaustively study a single issue — such as health care policy — and then debate that topic for a year.

Elsewhere, the events are run much like parliamentary debates. Two pairs of opposing teams are given a statement on nearly any topic. They have 15 minutes to prepare, before each debater gets seven minutes to persuade the judges to either support or oppose the statement. After a series of preliminary debates, the top-scoring teams advance to the "playoffs."

So in 2002, Snider started teaching the international style to UVM debaters.

He has been a pioneer in the Northeast for pushing adoption of the international format, said Sam Nelson, coach of the Cornell University debate team and a friend of Snider's. He predicted its popularity would spread from more than a dozen Northeast schools today to as many as a hundred in 10 years.

"It wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Tuna," Nelson said.

Hitting the road

Natale's first taste of international debate came in late 2008. That fall, as classes were starting, he walked into Snider's office and was greeted with an invitation to go on a debate world tour.

"If you're willing to work hard and practice, you can do this," he recalled Snider saying.

While the full tour didn't materialize, Natale and a handful of other UVM students wound up debating in Slovenia, Malaysia, Ireland and Thailand. At an event in Malaysia, he competed in front of the country's crown prince.

Funding for the travel came from overseas hosts, alumni, and from an endowment that produces roughly $70,000 a year for the UVM debate program. Natale bought his own plane ticket to China, so he could teach at a debate program in Beijing and study Chinese.

Along the way, Natale was confronted with the realization that his assumptions about the world weren't always shared.

At a debate about whether pharmaceutical companies should be allowed to advertise their drugs, he was startled to realize drug ads weren't allowed in parts of Europe. His European counterparts were shocked to learn that American doctors could be sued by patients, and that many patients here question their physicians, he said.

"I didn't realize that it wasn't normal to sue your doctors at every turn, walk in and ask for drugs, and not trust your doctor," he said.

The UVM debate team has steadily climbed the world rankings among university debate teams. Currently they are 118th with three years of results, while many schools are ranked based on points earned for five years. Snider predicts the team will reach around 60th within two years.

On the latest trip to Slovenia — five days of workshops followed by a three-day tournament — Natale and his debate partner won second place. The two also tied for first place in a competition for the best individual speaker.

"People know that in any individual debate, we can go toe to toe with the best people out there," Natale said.

Turkey for the next holiday

Snider is already preparing for his next trip into a part of the world where debate is a far more perilous activity. In mid-December he heads to Iraq.

His itinerary for next year includes Japan, Finland, Serbia, Qatar, and possibly Italy and Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, Natale and five other UVM students are getting ready for their winter break. They won't be spending it carving turns on the slopes. They'll be at the debate world championships in Turkey.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

International Debate Academy Tournament results

The 7th International Debate Academy Slovenia was surely an international event.

Twenty-eight countries were represented: Singapore, Afghanistan, USA, Ireland, Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Italy, Finland, Serbia, France, Croatia, Germany, Thailand, Ukraine, Romania, Hungary, Venezuela, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Scotland, Hong Kong, Moldova, Montenegro, England, Bolivia, Spain, Austria and Greece.

The event is sponsored by ZIP Slovenia and the World Debate Institute at the University of Vermont.

For more information see:

120 people including 40 teams from 28 countries gathered for the tournament at the Faculty of Public Administration at the
University of Ljubljana. With fabulous hosting and hospitality skills Helena Felc made it all happen smoothly with the help of other dedicated volunteers.

In the finals the motion was, THBT armies should overthrow corrupt governments.
First: Jernej Jenko & Jernej Jenko (6-5 vote by panel)
Second: Sam Natale & Sarah Anders
Finalists: Tom Dionesotes & Alli Hamlin, Ana Stritih & Zan Zveplan

The full tab can be found at:

Top Speakers:

PositionNameTeamTotal pointsAverage

1Sarah AndersNatale Anders48180.16

1Sam NataleNatale Anders48180.16

3Tom DionesotesDionesotes Hamlin47178.50

4Paul GrossGross Loeb47078.33

4Alli HamlinDionesotes Hamlin47078.33

4Maja CimermanDobranic Cimerman47078.33

7Isaac LoebGross Loeb46978.16

8Manos ManopoulosVignjevic Manopoulos46878.00

9Filip DobranicDobranic Cimerman46577.50

10Milan VignevicVignjevic Manopoulos46477.33

The motions were:

This house would give foreign residents the right to vote in general elections (1)

THW allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. (2)

TTHW link executives' salaries to those of their employees. (3)

THBT journalists should not be compelled by law to reveal their sources. (4)

THBT rich countries should pay Brazil to re-forest. (5)

THBT hunger strikes are a legitimate form of protest in democracies. (6)

THBT patients cannot refuse life saving medical treatment. (S-F)

THBT armies should overthrow corrupt governments. (F)

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International Debate Academy Instruction Ends in Ormoz

Ljubljana Castle as seen from University BuildingImage via Wikipedia

Wednesday and Thursday were the last two instruction days at the 7th International Debate Academy Slovenia being held in Ormoz, Slovenia. As the days passed the dedication of the students seemed to increase and the improvements in all of the debaters were obvious. The teachers and trainers began judging with faculty members to work on their judging skills for the tournament.

It was good to welcome TJ Semnemgern from Thailand to the faculty. He was chief adjudicator at the Asian BP Championships held in Thailand, and arrived in plenty of time to add his considerable skills to the instruction. It was sad that Rhydian Morgan was not able to attend as he had a family emergency. Everyone supported his choice and wishes he and his family the best. It became apparent that there are actually 27 countries here. Although with Rhydian not in attendance we lost Wales but gained Bolivia one one student finally announced their nationality.

The schedule continued with the same pattern. That seemed to work well because after a couple of days you never have to look, you just go to the same sort of event and the same room as the day before.

Practice debate motions for the last two days included:
  • THBT developing nations should nationalize their natural resources
  • THW eliminate the executive power to pardon
  • THW legalize the sale of human body parts
  • THW forbid all religious symbols in all public schools.

The lectures and exercises for the advanced group covered:
  • Principle and Philosophy, lecture by Stephen Boyle
  • Economics, lecture by Stephen Boyle substituting for Rhydian Morgan
The lectures and exercises for the intermediate and beginner groups covered:
Second Teams, lectures by Loke Wing Fatt and Jens Fischer
Points of Information, lectures by Alfred Snider and Chris Langone

The electives that were offered included:

On Wednesday night there was a faculty demonstration debate on the motion: This House would give the International Criminal Court its own police force. The teams were:
  • First Prop - Loke Wing Fatt & TJ Semnemgern
  • First Opp - Gavin Illsley & Stephen Boyle
  • Second Prop - Jens Fischer & Isa Loewe
  • Second Opp - Maja Nenadovic & Anne Valkering
A vote was taken by the students and teachers in the audience, and on a very tight count it was:
  • First - Second Prop
  • Second - Second Opp
  • Third - First Opp
  • Fourth - First Prop
  • A video of this debate and many other IDAS 09 events will be posted within a week.

    There was another WSDC schools round held in the evening with Romania vs. Slovenia. Romania was the winner again in another close debate.

    Wednesday night there was a party with comedy night, and four brave comics faced the crowd of debaters.

    Thursday night there was a chill-out party for the students and teachers, while all of the faculty members went to a local Inn and enjoyed home grown and produced foods, meats, wines and brandies. It was a truly jolly celebration of the end of the instructional program, and the Americans present said it was much better than "Thanksgiving."

    Friday morniong people slept in and came to a late breakfast. The bus arrived to take everyoine to Ljubljana for the tournament and the next phase of the extended event. It was farewell to Ormoz and especially to the lovely Hotel Ormoz, the finest two star hotel in the world, who had been such a wonderful host.

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