Thursday, December 13, 2007

An Article from an IDEA Alum on Love and Debate...

Debates & Love

By Peter Zhdanov, Demosthenes Club, Russia, Novosibirsk-Moscow,

I have known Katrin since first grade: in midschool she liked me, then the feeling has evaporated, and it was my turn to fall for her. Anyway, by the time we entered high school all this love hassle has been sorted out, and we became very good friends.

One day we were quite surprised to see each other at the weekly meeting of the college’s debates club. Katrin became the second speaker of our Carl Popper debates team, while I ended up being the third. Together we have successfully participated in a couple of tournaments and have seen a few APD games presented by students of various Russian universities. Impressed and dazzled by their brilliant manner, we swore to ourselves that we’ll continue playing debates after we graduate from school.

In 2003 we entered Novosibirsk State University, on of the top schools in Russia. Katya’s major was Sociology, while I was into Math. We kept attending trainings on the APD format in the famous Demosthenes Club, tried judging and coaching and have gotten to know many interesting people. However, with the end of George Soros’ sponsorship program most of the Russian debates clubs were left struggling for survival. The “golden era” of debates in our city has passed, and we decided to switch our attention to other occupations and hobbies.

I still wonder who (or what luck) brought us back to the debates world in 2006, when I and Katrin were invited to judge the school Carl Popper championship of our district. I fell in love with a charming little girl with fluffy hair from the same school that I used to attend – Eugenia Stepanzova – who managed to win the tournament. She inspired me to continue my debate activities and lure Katrin into playing together in the upcoming open debates cup of our university. I became the team leader, while Katrin proved to be a great member of the team. Naturally, we won the cup, and that was only the beginning: trainings, tournaments, debate camps, writing a book – “Debates – the Art of Winning”, etc. Btw, in the semifinals of our very first APD tournament we have beaten two rather gifted guys (would-be champions of the city). One of them, Artem Zyatkov, was so impressed by Katrin’s looks and style that they ended up dating each other.

In 2007 Katrin and I graduated from the university and were admitted to MA programs of two prestigious Russian economics schools, located in its capital, Moscow. We are looking forward to participating in the activities of the Russian debates society, making new acquaintances, trying out the BPD format and, eventually, successfully participating in the WDC. No matter what, debates have already helped us to boost our public speaking skills, develop a critical way of thinking, get to know remarkable people and…even find our significant others!
Therefore, I sincerely believe that the pompous slogan of Demosthenes Club – “Debates are a whole world” – is in no way an overexaggeration.

Have a great time playing debates,
Peter Zhdanov

2nd IDEA-BFSU British Parliamentary Debate Tournament

IDEA’s involvement in China continued successfully last weekend with the 2nd IDEA-BFSU British Parliamentary Debate Tournament in Beijing. Hosted by Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) and jointly sponsored by IDEA and the Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press (FLTRP), the event drew over 200 debaters not only from Beijing, but also from as far away as Nanjing (10-hour train ride), Xi’an (10-hour train ride), Dalien (overnight train), and Ulaanbataar, Mongolia (the grand prize for the longest trip – a 2-day train/bus/jeep journey!). Many of the participants from the IDEA training at BFSU from November 2-4 of this year were at the tournament eager to put that session to use. Materials from that training can be found at

This tournament featured impromptu debate topics which fell into one of 8 pre-released categories: Iran’s nuclear program, US troops in Iraq, UN Peacekeeping, private automobile ownership, technology in the classroom, Isreal/Palestine and the 2-state solution, the World Bank, and flaws in Western development models. Thus debaters knew the themes of the tournament but not specific motions. Even though debaters expected to have debates about UN Peacekeeping, for example, they perhaps did not expect the semi-final motion “The UN should have a standing Peacekeeping force.” This format encourages research but maintains the excitement of impromptu debating.

The final debate featured strong performances from all eight debaters on the topic “Reject the Western development model.” Even though all four teams put forth a strong effort, the second opposition team, comprised of Ellen Pang and Ji Zha from Peking University, were ranked 1st on the ballots of all 7 judges. After extolling the virtues of the free-market system and Western legal norms governing contracts and business rights, the Peking students argued that the Western model is not simply wasteful and exploitative, but improves the lives of people in countries where such models are implemented well. The final results from that round, and the top 4 teams in the tournament (out of more than 100 – quite an accomplishment!) were:

First place: Peking University - Ellen Pang and Ji Zha
Second place: Central University of Finance and Economics - Ji Ruonan and He Jingkai
Third place: Beijing Foreign Studies University - Chen Hao and Wu Mian
Fourth place: Beijing Foreign Studies University - Zhou Sheng Ru and Rui Yuan

Even though these four teams got the thrill of debating in front of a large crowd, all teams got at least 6 preliminary rounds and 32 got the chance to debate in octafinals. Simply to break into that top 32, teams needed an average of 2nd place in each preliminary round with high speaker points to advance.

As evidenced by this tough competition, debate seems to be becoming ever more popular in China. This May’s FLTRP Cup promises to be a large event and tournaments around Beijing will be held throughout the Spring. We hope to see you at IDEA-related events in China again in the future!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Another Update from Marcin

Dear All,
We are reaching the end of the wonderful event we have had in Jinja - tomorrow is the last day: featuring one more preliminary round, then semi-finals and the finals.
Yesterday all the participants started working on preparing their cases. They had been divided into teams the evening before and selected names for their teams.
We worked in 5 lab groups with participants, focusing on running policy cases on the topic: this house would strengthen protection of children's rights in Africa.
The teams then prepared their cases and each lab ran practice rounds for their teams.
In the evening we had a judges' briefing when we addressed the questions of logistics of the tournament as well as professional behavior of judges.
In the morning, we had two rounds of debating and all the teams had a chance to debate on both sides of the resolution. The debates I have seen were great and we got very good feedback on other debates from the debaters and judges alike.
In the afternoon we had an excursion to the source of the Nile and the rapids - it was an unforgettable experience and believe me- many pictures were taken today :) (of the most beautiful scenery).

In the evening, we had a cultural night, during which the participants presented their songs and dances- Rwandan and Ugandan.

Tomorrow we will have more debates- one more preliminary round after which 4 teams will be selected to the semi-finals.

After the final round, we will have the closing ceremony- we are expecting the Major of Jinja as well as the Rwandan Ambassador as the guests of honour!

After the ceremony, we will have a bonefire, plenty of Ugandan delicacies and many opportunities to dance to the sound of African drums.

I will send you my last report from Jinja tomorrow and a lot of pictures after I come back from Uganda.

All the best,

Monday, December 03, 2007

Marcin's Report from the African Youth Forum in Jinja

Dear All,
We have completed the second day of DtD Forum in Jinja- hosting students and coaches from Uganda and Rwanda.
Yesterday, following the team building and ice-breaking sessions, we introduced students to the basic elements of public speaking, organization, style and delivery. Students then selected a topic of their choice and prepared a 3 minute speech (under the guidance fromcoaches and trainers). They practiced delivering their speeches in front of the small groups and volunteers presented their speeches in the evening during a Public Speaking night. We had so many volunteers that we had to organize another Public Speaking night today!

Today, students were introduced to the working of a mock parliament and were given time to work on the resolutions on the themes of the rights of children. In the afternoon we had a session of mock parliament with students presenting and debating their resolutions. We divided debaters into mixed teams today, and tomorrow they will be preparing their cases on the topic: This house would strengthen protection of children's rights in Africa. We have 20 teams and the first ever international Karl Popper Debate Touranament in Africa will start on Wednesday. Everything is going well- we have great debaters, coaches and trainers. I will submit my report from Jinja on Thursday.
All the best from sunny Jinja,

Liz Goes to the National Council of Social Studies Teachers Conference!

Hello! My name is Elizabeth Carson-Garland, and I am the new administrative assistant for IDEA U.S. My office is located at Willamette University. I am very excited about being apart of this wonderful organization. I will be handling the accounting, bookkeeping and event registration here on the West Coast.

I just returned from the NCSS conference in San Diego, California, where I worked along side Martin Greenwald promoting our Idebate press books to Social Studies teachers from across the United States. I thoroughly enjoyed discussing our materials with these teachers and introducing them to IDEA. It was such a rewarding experience, as I knew with each book purchased, our materials would be integrated into their curriculum, teaching students to think critically, and encouraging them to take an active role in society through debate and discussion. I am privileged to have the opportunity to work for IDEA, and I look forward to working with all of you in the future.

Friday, November 30, 2007

IDEA Visits Bangladesh

In mid-November IDEA made its first appearance in Bangladesh for the inaugural Bangladesh Open held at the Islamic University of Technology (IUT) just north of the capital Dhaka. The event was organized by the Bangladesh Debate Council, which invited IDEA to come help adjudicate and train debaters. Students came from Bangladeshi high schools and universities as well as a contingent from the International Islamic University of Malaysia (IIUM) to make this an international tournament.

On my first day in the country, I along with Claudia Newman-Martin from Australia, trained a group of students in the British Parliamentary debate format and in debate/argumentation more generally. We covered a variety of topics in our workshop, from hate speech to globalizations effect on the poor to sanctions on Burma, to demonstrate some of the most effective tactics in debating. Chief among these was an injunction to set up a level playing field and win debates on wit something there is no shortage of in any debate community – as opposed to deception. The students from this training, mostly high school-aged, were extremely enthusiastic and well-informed, demonstrated by the fact that two of the students from the training even placed 3rd in the Bangladesh Open.

The topics at the Bangladesh Open ranged from space exploration to the protection of cultural heritage to Kurdish independence to sex education. The final round was a particularly interesting topic centering on the right of companies to refuse employment to smokers. The sizable audience got to have a few laughs and was entertained by the two Bangladeshi and two IIUM teams in the round although one of the IIUM debaters is a Dhaka native. One of the most rewarding things for me to see at the tournament was that debates continued after the formal round was over, indicating an enthusiasm for critical engagement that exceeds mere competition.

During my last few days in Bangladesh I went to visit a couple high schools to introduce students to debate and to hear what young people in Dhaka had to say. At the Aga Khan School, I fielded lots of questions about debate and IDEA, introduced a few brief concepts of debate, and then facilitated an interesting (and lively!) debate about the merits of arranged marriages. At the Baccalaureate International Tutorial, I got the chance to hear the students views on the influence of American culture on Bangladesh and had a great time listening.

If youre a Bangladeshi reading this thanks to all for showing me a good time in your country; I am now craving paan and spicy curry in the freezing Seoul winter! I hope you enjoy some of the photos posted to this blog and I hope to see you again.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

IDEA Weekly November 27th

November 27, 2007
Dear INN Readers,
I hope this newsletter finds you well. As usual, I will try to figure out how to cram a week’s worth of IDEA News into one page. I’m chatty, so this is no small feat. We at the IDEA office in the U.S. have been busy the last couple of weeks tallying ballots for the TPS Fall Global Debates. You are faithfully sending envelopes and boxes of forms, and we’ll do our best to continue posting results at In the meantime, my office looks like an obstacle course, and I’m mourning the many trees whose lives were lost in the printing of thousands of ballots! A moment of silence… ~Arminda

The UNF Announces Leading Global Debate Point Winners!
Congratulations to the following top six international schools for being TPS 2007 point leaders! Remember, you can submit your items for extra points to the UN Foundation at until January 15th, 2008. Anyone can win one of the six trips to New York at this point. And, don’t forget to send your ballots from your debate to IDEA in order to make your points count! To see ballot results, visit
School Location Rank
1:Mircea Eliade Lyceum Chisinau, Moldova
2:N. Popovich Math and Science HS Shumen, Bulgaria
3:Moscow High School Moscow, Russia
4:Gymnasium #8470-9 Simferopol, Ukraine
5:Lyceum Prometeu-Prim Chisinau, Moldova
6:Theoretical Lyceum V. Alecsandri Calarasi, Moldova

The IDEA TPS Bosnia Open Thanks to the organization and commitment of the Center for Cultivating Dialogue in Sarajevo, the TPS Bosnia Open was a valuable experience for all involved. The Bosnia Open was November 15th-19th in Sarajevo. There were 24 teams in attendance from BiH, Montenegro, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia. The finalists for the Open were Bosnia Mix 1 (Mateja Mikulic, Enio Kapetanovic and Belma Ibrahimovic) and Montenegro 2 (Rastko Pajkovic, Milos Popovic and Jovana Ramovic), with Bosnia Mix 1 emerging as the tournament’s winner. The top three tournament speakers were: Rastko Pajkovic, (1st), Miha Sustarsci (2nd), and Iva Coric (3rd). Congratulations to the hosts, coaches, and participants for a successful event! To see photos of the event, visit The next issue of idebate Magazine will feature photos and articles from the Bosnia Open.

IDEA Will Co-Sponsor The Great Debaters Debate Video Contest
In celebration of the movie, The Great Debaters, IDEA has been asked to co-sponsor The Great Debaters Debate Video Contest. As a co-sponsor, IDEA will help with the judging for the contest. For more information about the contest and eligibility, visit

Visit IDEA’s New EU Youth Speak Website!
On November 9th, IDEA launched a site especially for European Youth. The site launch corresponded with the 18th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. IDEA would like for the new EU Site at to become a place of discussion for European Youth to contribute their ideas and discuss global issues. EU Youth Speak is a work in progress; please visit the site and see how you can contribute.
IDEA’s New and Improved Website:

Monday, November 26, 2007

What's the buzz in the streets of Lira?!

Hear us speak – Children’s parliament in Lira, Uganda
And they were heard indeed!

On November 12-16, 2007 an IDEA trainer, Veronika Vlckova facilitated training that lead to the Children’s parliament Conference in Lira, Uganda. The training was organized by War Child Holland (WCH) as a part of project Go to school, stay in school, go back to school, an activity done in cooperation with UNICEF and Save children. WCH focuses on recreational activities for children in war effected areas. IDEA was invited to participate as an expert organization to facilitate and instruct on how to lead discussions, in this case Model Parliaments.

The training focused on children of 9-14 of age, who live in Lira District in Northern Uganda, a region which suffered from civil war forcing many into Camps for Internally Displaced Persons. The 32 pupils and 8 teachers discussed the issues of education, more specifically the problems of teachers; lack of teaching materials and school equipment; and peace and security in schools.

The week-long training culminated in Children’s Parliament Conference that took place on November 20th in the Lira District Council Chambers. The pupils presented their speeches and answered questions from the local district officials and representatives of NGOs working in that region by simulating the parliamentary procedures of the Local District Council. The pupils were so great that not only the local officials and NGO leaders were impressed but the word of praise went beyond the walls of the Chambers’ walls into the streets if Lira. Children were welcomed home as little heroes and there really was a lot to be proud of!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

IDEA Weekly November 15

Dear INN Readers,
Happy Autumn! I just returned from the IDEA Exchange and General Assembly hosted by our own Jurate Motiejunaite in Kaunas, Lithuania. I went to many interesting panels put on by IDEA Members, and the GA was an enlightening experience as well. It was great to meet so many IDEA members in person. Among our discussions at the GA meeting was a discussion about new tracks at the Youth Forum, which will be held in Bulgaria in 2008. Veronika Vlckova, our Youth Forum Coordinator, will be sending out details about the different options you can choose from for Youth Forum 2008. Stay tuned for detailed descriptions and registration information about our 2008 events on! ~Arminda

TPS Global DebatesIf you participated in the fall Global Debates, remember to send your items for extra points to the UN Foundation at Send your ballots from your public forum debate to IDEA at: IDEA/ Willamette University/ 900 State St./ Salem, OR 97301/ USA. If you have questions about this, please email Arminda:

A Letter from Veronika
Dear debating community,
I am proud to present you the chief staff for the upcoming Youth Forum for 2008 in Bulgaria. The local host is the Bulgarian National Debate Association, represented by Mariana Tcherneva and Trendafil Meretev (Dafo). Robert Trapp, Marcin Zaleski, Ioana Cionea, Kajar Kase, Ronna Liggett, Aaron Fishbone, Katechka Hanzelkova and Anca Pusca are the Curriculum Committee and will be making sure that the curriculum and topics are excellent! Running the tournaments for the second time in row, our Tournament Director is Helina Loor. Kajar Kase and Kenda Cunningham will be working tirelessly to improve the quality of judging as Chief Adjudicator and Deputy Chief Adjudicator, respectively. Veronika Vlckova, our Forum Coordinator will be making sure everyone is working as hard as they can to make the YF 2008 in Bulgaria hard to forget! Have a nice day! ~Veronika Vlckova

IDEA Teaches British Parli in China
From November 2-4, IDEA and FLTRP in Beijing, China cosponsored a British Parliamentary Debate Training hosted by the Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) in Beijing. Five IDEA trainers—Dr. Robert Trapp, James Edenborough, Vishal Nangalia, Alex Dukalskis and Veronika Vlckova—worked with about 350 debaters and 50 judges over three days. Led by Trapp, the training team covered various topics related to argumentation and debate following the British Parliamentary (BP) format. Debating is becoming extremely popular and receives a lot of attention from students, teachers and also university head representatives. Gary Rybold, who is currently conducting his doctoral research at BFSU, is hosting a tournament on the weekend of December 8 in Beijing, and by the end of the training, he had already 130 signed up!

IDEA Calendar: Annual Events 2008
Mark your calendars for the following 2008 Annual IDEA Events!
●European Youth Speak: March 15-17, 2008 ~ Amsterdam, NL
●IDEA International Tournament of Champions: May 16-18, 2008 ~ Oregon, U.S.
●IDEA NJFL International Tournament (Middle School): June 26-29, 2008~Western Kentucky University, U.S.
●IDEA International Debate and Citizen Journalism Institute: June 29-July 19, 2008
●IDEA International Youth Forum: July 23-August 5, 2008 ~Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria

Contribute to IDEA’s New Debatepedia, the Encyclopedia of Debate!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Update from an IDEA Governing Board member

Hello everyone!

This is Joe Zompetti, IDEA-NL Governing Board member and associate professor in the School of Communication from Illinois State University. I just wanted to let everyone know a few updates from me:
1. I recently published an article on Advocacy and Civil Society in the journal Argumentation: An International Journal on Reasoning.
2. Last week, in conjunction with the GA, the Board met and discussed new ideas on how to make IDEA an even better organization. Your ideas are welcomed and appreciated!!!
3. During IDEA Exchange, I presented a workshop on International Civic Engagement. Anyone interested in this subject area should fee free to contact me at
4. On 10 November, my debate team at Illinois State participated in a public debate with the University of Illinois regarding the motion: That the U.S. should withdrawal from Iraq immediately. It was well attended and promoted lively discussion amongst those in the audience. Later in the month, our debate team will work in conjunction with our Student Government Association to host a public debate concerning the U.S. presidential frontrunners.
5. I am currently at the National Communication Association conference in Chicago, Illinois. In addition to activities relating to my university, I hope to promote IDEA as well.

Please let me know if you have questions or if there are things I can do to represent you better on the Board!

Joe Zompetti

Friday, November 09, 2007

IDEA Exchange and General Assembly

Greetings from Lithuania!
I am at the IDEA General Assembly Meeting in Kaunas. It's great to see familiar faces! The IDEA Exchange ended yesterday; it was great to see the presentations and hear about debate in our our member countries. The Exchange was organized and hosted by Jurate--perhaps the most ambitious woman in the world!--and Professor Robert Trapp was the keynote speaker. This year's Exchange topic was "Debate in the Neighborhood." It was interesting to hear members' ideas about the concept of a neighborhood and discussion in different "spheres."

Monday, November 05, 2007

IDEA-FLTRP Training a Success!

From November 2-4, 5 IDEA trainers worked with about 350 debaters and 50 judges at the Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU). Led by Dr. Robert Trapp, the training crew covered various topics relating to British Parliamentary Debate and argumentation more generally.

The training started off with a lecture by Robert entitled Arguing Constructively, where he advanced a vision of debate that emphasizes not victory or unilateral achievement, but self-discovery, teamwork, analysis of pressing world issues and building skills that can be used for advocacy. Eight Chinese debaters then put those ideas into practice with a Friday night debate on “This House Would Abolish Capital Punishment.” These brave volunteers put their wit and intelligence on display for hundreds of their colleagues and judging by the audience response, nobody was disappointed. On Saturday and Sunday, Veronika Vlckova and James Edenborough worked with judges on the fundamentals of adjudicating BP style debate, while Robert, Vishal Nangalia and I addressed argument and case construction, refutation, fallacies and several Q&A and interactive sessions. Most of the training materials are available on the Debatepedia at

The enthusiasm for debate in Beijing is contagious! Dozens of participants stayed after the training and wanted to talk more about the ideas covered over the weekend. There are already more than 100 teams signed up to debate on the weekend of December 8 in Beijing – in fact interest is so widespread that Gary Rybold, the tournament director, has had to limit the number of teams!


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

IDEA Weekly October 23

October 23, 2007
Dear INN Readers,
It sounds like the Global Debates went well! I’ve heard from many of you, who have reported successful debates at your schools! Some of you even had local community leaders or reporters as guests! Nice job. For a list of participating schools, visit IDEA’s TPS website. I guess it’s time to finish up Fall and start prepping for spring…J The spring topic for the Global Debates is “Resolved: Water should be considered national property.” You will be able to find helpful resources on that topic on the new Debatepedia. In the meantime, don’t forget to send your ballots to the address listed in your toolkit (IDEA at Willamette). You will want to send items you completed for extra points directly to the U.N. Foundation: I’ll also be here to answer questions. ~Arminda

**TPS Global Debates Participants are eligible to register for the IDEA TPS Bosnia Open, hosted by the Centre for Cultivating Dialogue in Sarajevo November 15th-19th.

Idebate Deadline November 1st
If you would like to submit an article to idebate about debate in your country or club, please send all articles and inquiries to by November 1st. If you have already agreed to write an article for idebate, don’t forget the deadline!

Meet Winnie: IDEA’s Newest Staff Member in the NL!
Winnie Terra (34) studied art and culture policy and social science with a focus on city and culture sociology. The past ten years Winnie worked for various cultural non-profit organizations such as Marres, Kunsten '92, De Balie, Shadow Festival, Fort Asperen, Catalogue Magazine as a project leader, researcher or managing director and worked as a cultural policy advisor. She recently received a grant to write an essay on cultural diversity in the arts in international perspective. Along with these activities Winnie has a special interest in debates and politics and writes about social issues and debates, and organizes political dinners (LuxVoor) and debates with Spreeksteen. She advises and helps the De Levante Foundation, a organization about cultural diversity, to become sustainable. Winnie's has a special interest in inequality in the broadest sense of the word, democratic processes and- participation, culture, East Europe.
~Welcome aboard, Winnie!

IDEA Announces Final Call for Youth Forum 2008 Staff
The application deadline for Chief Adjudicator, Curriculum Committee Member, and Tournament Director is October 29th. If you are interested in one of these positions, get an application here and submit it soon!

IDEA Calendar: Annual Events 2008
Mark your calendars for the following 2008 Annual IDEA Events!
●European Youth Speak: March 15-17, 2008 ~ Amsterdam, NL
●IDEA International Tournament of Champions: May 16-18, 2008 ~ Oregon, U.S.
●IDEA NJFL International Tournament (Middle School): June 26-29, 2008~Western Kentucky University, U.S.
●IDEA International Debate and Citizen Journalism Institute: June 29-July 19, 2008 ~ Duino, Italy
●IDEA International Youth Forum: July 23-August 5, 2008 ~Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria

Contribute to IDEA’s New Debatepedia, the Encyclopedia of Debate!

Debate in Argentina: Some Positive Feedback


02/09/2007 Rio Negro: Comienza un nuevo ciclo del programa Crecer en demócracia
El vicegobernador de Río Negro Mario De Rege anunció que 20 escuelas de diferentes localidades provinciales inscriptas para el presente ciclo del proyecto ‘Crecer en Democracia’, comenzaron a remitir a la Legislatura sus iniciativas parlamentarias con la intención de sesionar próximamente en el recinto legislativo.De Rege explicó que «los trabajos entrarán ahora en una etapa de selección y sorteo cuyo resultado determinará la realización de hasta ocho sesiones a las que los alumnos serán convocados a partir de la última semana de setiembre y durante todo octubre».Con ese fin, las áreas de Comunicación Social y de Capacitación y Desarrollo, encargadas de implementar y organizar el programa institucional, distribuyeron en el mes de julio pasado más de doscientos sobres con material instructivo y videos a todas las escuelas públicas y privadas de Río Negro.Remitieron sus solicitudes varias escuelas del Alto Valle, Valle Medio, y de las regiones Andina y Atlántica, que involucran establecimientos de General Roca, Villa Regina, Allen, Cipolletti, El Bolsón, Bariloche, Sierra Grande, Ingeniero Jacobacci, Comallo, Choele Choel y Río Colorado.[Diario de El Bolson BW]

Thursday, October 25, 2007

IDEA Visit to Mongolia

Flying from Seoul to Ulaanbataar, the first thing I noticed was this:

People per square kilometer in Mongolia: 1.7

People per square kilometer in Seoul: 17,108

From the IDEA base in Seoul, I hopped on the 3-hour flight to Ulaanbaatar to work with the debate network of the Mongolian Education Alliance (MEA) for a week. Fortunately for my interest in traveling, these opportunities are fairly common since Seoul is so close to other Asian destinations. On this particular trip I got to work with the MEA to think about some grant proposals, start a blog ( if you can read Mongolian), train some students and teachers, and help keep Mongolian debaters abreast of happenings elsewhere in the IDEA network. Overall it was an interesting trip and I got to catch a glimpse of a fascinating place. Debaters and educators have several challenges to face: getting quality debate research materials in the Mongolian language, connecting a network of debate clubs over vast distances, and attending international events when the country is so far from most others. The MEA is doing some interesting things to try to alleviate some of these difficulties by, for example, translating relevant parts of the Debatabase into Mongolian or using the new blog to reach those schools in Mongolia with internet access.

One of the main things I did in Mongolia was training students and teachers. Many of them wanted to know some methods for debating about policies or plans, some wanted to know about judging, while still others wanted to talk about the program side of things and how to get their students or classmates more involved. On the last topic, one student from the 2007 Youth Forum returned to her school in Ulaanbaatar and started an English debate club. Ive included a picture of all of us after we talked along with some pictures from a few other teacher/student trainings.

Of course, no IDEA trip would be complete without a little bit of sightseeing and local activities. On my last afternoon in the country, Davaku, a former IDEA debater, 2007 Youth Forum coach, and current MEA employee, took me and a few others out to her grandmothers house in the countryside. The beautiful scenery was a nice change of pace from my usual city surroundings. We got to hike up some mountains, eat some delicious food, and, of course, ride horses and yaks


Monday, October 22, 2007

Ozone Hole:Join Global Debates!

As part of the Global Debates effort within The People Speak 2007/2008, we would like to show you this Public Service Announcement, produced by Mite Kuzevski-Jumbo, on behalf of the International Debate Education Association.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

IDEA Weekly October 17th: Global Debates News

The IDEA Weekly, Volume 145
October 17, 2007
Dear INN Readers,
The weeks of Global Debates are on; schools across the world have begun competing for one of sixteen team trips to the U.N. Youth Summit in New York next summer. The Global Debates last until October 23rd, so if you haven’t signed up, it’s still not too late! IDEA and the UNF have many great resources for your debate, including the new Debatepedia at The Debatepedia offers debate arguments that relate to this fall’s Global Debates resolution and contains additional information about TPS 2007-2008 as well. Last week marked the launch of the Global Debates, Debatepedia, and the new IDEA website. If you haven’t visited the website yet, please go and look around. I welcome your feedback and suggestions about the new site; we are continuing to make improvements. Also, the latest issue of idebate is available on the website and will be distributed in print soon. The latest issue features articles on Youth Forum 2007, the Institute in Duino, Dialogue through Debate and Critical Thinking across Cultures. You can find it at: .
Best wishes for a happy, healthy fall~ Arminda

Global Debates Statistics—as of Today’s Date
Number of Participating Countries: 63
Number of Participants Who Registered for Their School: 525
Number of Participants Outside of the U.S. Who Registered for Their School: 293
Number of Participating School Organizers per Country/Province:
Arab Emirates: 1; Albania: 10; American Samoa: 1; Australia: 1; Azerbaijan: 1; Bosnia/Herzegovina: 44; Bangladesh: 3; Bulgaria: 5; Belarus: 2; Canada: 6; Chile: 2; Cameroon: 2; China: 5; Kosovo: 1; Czech Republic: 1; Germany: 2; Egypt: 1; Great Britain: 4; Georgia: 1; Ghana: 1; Hong Kong: 1; Haiti: 2; Indonesia: 3; Israel: 1; India: 48; Italy: 1; Kenya: 6; Kyrgyzstan: 1; Korea: 5; Kazakhstan: 2; Lithuania: 2; Lebanon: 1; Moldova: 25; Montenegro: 1; Macedonia: 11; Mongolia: 2; Myanmar: 1; Mexico: 1; Malaysia: 3; Nigeria: 4; Netherlands: 1; Nepal: 3; New Zealand: 1; Philippines: 5; Pakistan: 10; Romania: 1; Russia: 11; Rwanda: 3; Sudan: 1; Sweden: 1; Singapore: 2; Slovakia: 2; Sierra Leone: 3; Syrian Arab Republic: 1; Thailand: 1; Taiwan: 1; Tanzania: 1; Ukraine: 17; Uganda: 2; United States: 232; Uzbekistan: 1; Serbia: 1; South Africa: 8; Zambia: 1 .
**For a complete list of schools outside of the U.S. that have signed up as well as detailed instructions for participation, visit

**TPS Global Debates Participants are eligible to register for the IDEA TPS Bosnia Open, hosted by the Centre for Cultivating Dialogue in Sarajevo November 15th-19th.

IDEA Announces Final Call for Youth Forum 2008 Staff
The application deadline for Chief Adjudicator, Curriculum Committee Member, and Tournament Director is October 20th. If you are interested in one of these positions, get an application here and submit it soon!

IDEA Calendar: Annual Events 2008
Mark your calendars for the following 2008 Annual IDEA Events!
●European Youth Speak: March 15-17, 2008 ~ Amsterdam, NL
●IDEA International Tournament of Champions: May 16-18, 2008 ~ Oregon, U.S.
●IDEA NJFL International Tournament (Middle School): June 26-29, 2008~Western Kentucky University, U.S.
●IDEA International Debate and Citizen Journalism Institute: June 29-July 19, 2008 ~ Duino, Italy
●IDEA International Youth Forum: July 23-August 5, 2008 ~Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria

Contribute to IDEA’s New Debatepedia, the Encyclopedia of Debate!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Silent Movie:Join Global Debates!

As part of the Global Debates effort within The People Speak 2007/2008, we would like to show you this Public Service Announcement, produced by Mite Kuzevski-Jumbo, on behalf of the International Debate Education Association.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Win a Trip: Join Global Debates!

As part of the Global Debates effort within The People Speak 2007/2008, we would like to show you this Public Service Announcement, produced by Mite Kuzevski-Jumbo, on behalf of the International Debate Education Association.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Global Debates Start This Week!

It's hard to believe that October 12th is so close. IDEA has many exciting happenings on that day, including the release of IDEA's Debatepedia, a launch of our new homepage, and the start of the Global Debates. Right now, there are approximately 200 schools from outside of the U.S. signed up. Six lucky and/or hardworking schools will win a trip to the U.N. Youth Summit in New York next July! It's easy to participate in the Global Debates. You can sign up at and find out how you can get extra bonuses from IDEA at A free trip to New York for having a debate? It's not so difficult.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The latest issue of Idebate is online!

The October issue of idebate Magazine, full of photos and articles about Summer 2007 IDEA events and upcoming IDEA events is online. Go check it out and take a little walk down memory lane!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Repeat: Join Global Debates!

As part of the Global Debates effort within The People Speak 2007/2008, we would like to show you this Public Service Announcement, produced by Mite Kuzevski-Jumbo, on behalf of the International Debate Education Association.

CTAC Project in the News

To see a news article on the Critical Thinking Across Cultures Project and learn more about our CTAC participants from Uganda, check out this news article!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

More CTAC Activities

The Critical Thinking Across Cultures participants from Uganda have had a busy last week! Between journalism, debate, and argument classes, visiting the State Capitol and Supreme Court, and of course, their many social engagements, these students and teachers are having quite a visit! Here are some photos of them dancing in my backyard at a bbq this weekend--and a couple of more formal photos of the students visiting with local newspaper editors as part of a journalism panel. This week: more classes, debates, barbecues, and an open house.

Friday, September 07, 2007

IDEA Announces Dates for 2008 Events

IDEA Save-the-Date 2008 Calendar of Events
March 14-24: The TPS Spring Global Debate
March 15-17: European Youth Speak—Amsterdam, NL
May 16-18: IDEA International Tournament of Champions—Oregon, US
June 29-July 19: IDEA Debate and Citizen Journalism Institute—Duino, IT
July 17-20: TPS Global Youth Leadership Summit—New York, US
July 23-August 5: IDEA International Youth Forum—Bulgaria

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

IDEA Welcomes Ugandan Teachers and Students

This past weekend, I had an amazing time showing twelve Ugandan guests around the beautiful Oregon Coast. With the help of Critical Thinking Across Cultures teacher, Lisa Iverson and her family, we visited an aquarium, went crabbing and swimming, and saw a lot of Pacific Ocean sea life! Rob, Robert, Allie, and Dani (who participated in the exchange to Uganda) were also able to come and show a little Oregon hospitality!

This upcoming week, the CTAC students and teachers who are visiting from Uganda will be learning debate and citizen journalism, traveling to the Oregon State Capitol and Court of Appeals, and watching a few soccer games along the way. We're so excited to have them here!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Take Control: Join Global Debates!

As part of the Global Debates effort within The People Speak 2007/2008, we would like to show you this Public Service Announcement, produced by Mite Kuzevski-Jumbo, on behalf of the International Debate Education Association.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Critical Thinking Across Cultures: Uganda 2007

The video of the US trip to Uganda in July 2007. Features interviews with students from Northern Uganda. The transcript of one interview is posted below as "The Kids of Northern Uganda." A transcript of the second interview will be coming shortly.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The IDEA Weekly, Volume 142 August 23, 2007
Dear INN Readers,
At this point, I hope you’ve finished recovering from lingering post-forum blues and begun looking ahead at plans and activities for the upcoming year. I’m beginning to recover, but I miss those little packages of cookies the fairies brought out at coffee breaks. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of snack accompanies the coffee breaks next year in Bulgaria. Moving on from cookies: though you can’t easily access Dobra Voda or Dobra Rano (unless you’re still in Trest), you can visit to relive memories and see the latest blog postings. And, don’t forget our beloved the IDEA Alums Facebook group, where you can see photos from other IDEA Alums…and even visit some memories you don’t want to remember. J IDEA has been hard at work coordinating fall projects and activities, and we are beginning planning for next spring and summer already, so remember to visit the IDEA website often for up-to-date news! ~Arminda

TPS Global Debates 2007-2008
The weeks of Global Debate are quickly approaching. If you haven’t signed up for the TPS Global Debates, now is a good time to do so! This year, TPS looks different from years past, so be sure to read carefully and ask questions. For the TPS Global Debates this fall, you can get involved by organizing a debate at your school on the topic: “Resolved: Market mechanisms are preferable to regulatory approaches in reducing carbon emissions.” The coolest part? You and five other people from your school could with a trip to the U.N. Youth Summit in New York July 2008! There are also lots of other prizes and special benefits for IDEA members! For more information, go to The People Speak’s website and register. There is additional information on IDEA’s website at Download the Global Debates Toolkit and learn how you can become involved in the Global Debates today! Please don’t hesitate to contact Arminda with questions. You can also email . Take advantage of this opportunity!

The TPS Global Debates Festival in Haiti
As part of this year's the People Speak Global Debates, IDEA and its partner, Fokal, are pleased to invite high school debaters to the first international debate event it is hosting in Haiti. The event will take place in the beautiful city of Jacmel October 31st—November 4th, 2007. The festival will feature a five round debate tournament, as well as training, discussions, and cultural activities. All high schools who register for the TPS Global Debates 2007 will be eligible for participation in the Global Debates Festival. You can see more information about this event on IDEA’s website.

IDEA and CCD Announce Dates for the Bosnia Open
The Centre of Cultivating Dialogue in Sarajevo, IDEA, and The People Speak announce The 2007 TPS Bosnia Open, an invitational tournament for Southeastern European countries, will be held November 17th-20th, 2007. To be eligible, debaters must participate in the Global Debates this October. We will announce this event and necessary details, including how to register, on the IDEA website soon.

The IDEA Wiki: An Important Source of Information
The IDEA Wiki is quickly becoming one of IDEA’s most popular website pages. On the Wiki, you can find information about a variety of topics that are debate-related and IDEA-related, and you can add topics and articles as well. The most recently added topics include: Karl Popper Debate Judging Handbook, The People Speak: Global Debates, The People Speak: Cartoons, Debate in the Neighborhood, the IDEA Debate Hall of Fame, and The September-October NFL LD Topic.

It’s Not Too Late to Sign up for the IDEA Exchange
The IDEA Exchange is an academic conference that will take place in Kaunas, Lithuania November 7-8, 2007. IDEA invites university professors, university students, debate activists, youth workers, and debate educators to attend the conference and capacity building workshops. This year’s academic conference topic is “Debate in the Neighborhood.” To submit workshop proposals or register to attend, contact Jurate Motiejunaite.

IDEA Multimedia
IDEA is continuing to develop multimedia resources, including the IDEA Encyclomedia, IDEA Citizen Journalism Pages, and of course, IDEA Radio. You can even upload your own materials to many of these resources! Go and check ‘em out!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

What is Climate Change?:Join Global Debates!

As part of the Global Debates effort within The People Speak 2007/2008, we would like to show you this Public Service Announcement, produced by Jumbo, on behalf of the International Debate Education Association.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Kids of Northern Uganda

When it comes to the Critical Thinking Across Cultures project, there are a lot of things I could write about -- the trip to Mabira rainforest, Jinja Community Day, the peace theater and mock parliament sessions... but I’m not going to. Instead, I’m going to wite about something that wasn’t on the planned schedule of events, something that happened when I sat down one afternoon to talk with a few of the Ugandan students about the situation in the northern regions of their country.

First, some background: underlying all the natural beauty of Uganda is a tragic reality, especially for kids who grow up in places like Gulu, Lira, Teso, Soroti -- in the northern and eastern regions of the country, some two to three-hundred kilometers away from the capital. Many of these districts remain in disarray, still ravaged by war with the Lord’s Resistance Army, a strange and ragged collection of child soldiers and militiamen led by Joseph Kony. Kony, a self-declared prophet of God, justifies his mass slaughter and rape of civilians, his abduction of children into his army, and his twenty-year campaign of torture and terror as divinely inspired. As a result of the war, much of the population of northern Uganda has been herded into Internally Displaced Persons or IDP camps, where educational opportunities are limited, and the threat of war hangs like an omnipresent cloud.

Several of the Ugandan CTAC students come from areas like Gulu and Lira. When I sat down to discuss their experiences I was shocked -- not only by the stories they had to tell, but also by the way in which they seemed to have emerged, in spite of it all, resilient and hopeful about their future as well as the future of their country. A brief word of warning: James, Genavive and Godfrey don’t hold anything back when describing the situation in the North, and some of their accounts of LRA tactics are a bit disturbing and graphic... Having said that, I believe their stories are also necessary -- in their unvarnished form -- if one is to understand not only the tragic situation in the North, but also just how special these kids are.

RB: James, we were talking earlier about the LRA and the northern regions of Uganda, and you were telling us some stories. Could you tell the stories some more?

James: What happened in 2003, the LRA came to Lira in June. At first, they started and collected all the people, and they picked some elders, slaughtered them, and gave people to eat.

RB: What does that mean, "they gave people to eat?"

Godfrey: They slaughtered people --

Genavive: They slaughter people. Then, sometimes, they boil them and then, when they are in a group, they make the live ones eat the dead ones.

RB: They do this to frighten and intimidate people?

Genavive: Yes.

James: Then, (the LRA) continued their journey up to Teso region.... They continued up to someplace called Obalanga. What they did from there, they threatened the people seriously, the people took off, and they burned everything that was there.... and they entered into some shops where they poured acid into the salt, and the people who ate that salt died.

Genavive: They used to write letters to drop in villages... "Tomorrow, we are visiting --" And it is true, when they say, "tomorrow, we will visit the YMCA," truly they will come.

RB: And when you are in a place where the LRA says, "we will come," what do you do?

Genavive: You take off. You try to run ahead where there is some security.... By then [2003], I was also in [the Northeast District of] Soroti. It so happened that they wrote a letter to the college -- the Arapai Agricultual College -- and they wrote a letter that they dropped there. But the people [at the college] didn't bother so much, because Obalanga was still far from them, so they thought "Oh, those people can't reach us." But it so happened that [the LRA] arrived in the night, and they started shooting the boys. There was a boy whose leg was shot, and they had to cut it off. People took off....They were abducting boys from Teso college -- there's a school in Teso there called Teso College -- and those boys had to run. You even leave your property, you leave your books -- actually the intention was to disorganize education....

RB: Where do you go? Where do you go if you have to run?

James: Where you think there is security.

RB: But where is security, I guess? Do you go to a camp?

Genavive: Yes, you go to a camp. Of course, the army men guard the camp.... You know, these army men also fear the LRA rebels. When they see them coming, they also take off, because they know it's dangerous.... Sometimes we suffer out of the negligence of the military force, because they're supposed to provide security, but they also take off.

RB: So the rebels are very strong, in other words?

James: Yes, very strong. But I want to state everything that happened, step by step. These people came in four steps. The first step when they came, they were very simple, and they came and joined the community.... and they were asking for food, and if they joined a family, they were asking for cows they wanted to slaughter; they were asking for goats, hens.... They eat and then they go; they eat and then they go.... I think they were studying how the region is.... The second step, they followed up... They started abducting the youth. Abducting every youth. And if they get a girl, they rape her. If you don't want to be raped, they will shoot you dead.... And if your parent or dad or mom starts crying "Leave my child, leave my daughter," they will shoot you together with your dad or your mom, because you want to be together.... And then the third step is they start to kill everyone they get. Every one. Each and every one. They get, they kill. They get, they kill. If they get a baby, a young baby, they just throw it into a tree (gestures toward tree). That one dies there....

RB: They just kill everything.

James: They just kill everything they get. Everything.

RB: Godfrey, you were abducted. Is that correct?

Godfrey: Yes.

RB: Can you explain what it was like to be abducted? What happened?

Godfrey: One year I remember very well. It was 1996, I was six years old, and the rebels came and broke into the camp. They came at night, and they started abducting people, and they also abducted me, along with the other people. And when we were moving back -- the people were many.... For me, I managed to escape, because I found there was a little pit over there (gestures toward a spot) and I tried to get into it, and they passed and left me. And then I went back home. The second time they came, they started abducting people, killing everyone they would get. They came up to the camp, they killed many people along the roadside. Up till now, the Gulu people are still remembering that day they killed a lot of people. Some were slaughterd, some were boiled.... Some were -- If they ask you, "Do you want a padlock?" If you say yes, they will lock your mouth --

RB: They will say what?

Godfrey: They ask you "Do you want a padlock? Do you want a padlock --"

James: They will give you options. "Do you want us to lock your mouth with a padlock?" And they will pierce it here. Or they will say, "Do you want to be silent or do you want to laugh?" If you say you want to laugh, they will cut all around like this (points to his lips).

RB: So they cut your lips off....

James: Yes.

RB: But Godfrey, tell me more about the time you were abducted. How did you get away? How did you escape?

Godfrey: When I was abducted... Because we were many by then -- many of us were just children and some elder people. Me, I was just sleeping with my older brother. My brother escaped, leaving me just asleep. He didn't inform me that the rebels were coming.... But when we were moving -- because when they abduct you they will take you to where they can train you to become their soldiers, and you will become their soldier. By all means you will become their soldier....
For me, I was given some heavy salt to carry. They will give you anything they have, and you have to carry it. Even if you are small, you must carry it.... There were very many people, and some of the children were crying, because some of the mothers were also abducted.... But for me, I got a chance... of finding a pit, a hole, a small hole, and I entered inside. I dropped myself together with that thing I was carrying, the salt. By the time they all went, I got up, left all the salt inside the hole, and went back home. And I was lucky.... Up till now, I'm still studying. I'm still in school, in senior 4. (pauses).
In 2003, there was a fire that dropped onto the houses, and it started burning. In 2003, in December, it started burning around midday, and around 5pm the whole place was burned. You could just see -- you could stand from here and just see what was over there (indicates a long distance). Then, the NGOs came, the Red Cross.... They gave us a blanket, some clothes.... And then a tarpaulin to cover the tops [of the houses].... And some of the people were left without anything, because they couldn't manage to get what was inside, because the fire was so serious... and it was in the dry season. You couldn't get anything.

RB: So do you guys have bad dreams about this? Do you think about these things?

Genavive: Yeah, we do --

James: Sometimes when you are remembering, someone will start crying. If you go back to the history, about how you lost your brother, your sisters, daddies, will start crying.... And even if you dream about it in your bed, you will find that you are in the middle of your house, and you were trying to run --

Godfrey: When I came back, I dreamed one day.... I started crying, and my father just pushed me down.... Because I thought that those people had come... that they were there for the second time, and I started crying.... And my father just cooled me down.... Those dreams are many....

James: [When you are dreaming] someone will say "Where are you running?" And you will say "Leave me,they are coming! Leave me, they are coming!" They will tell you that story in the morning, that you were like this....

RB: So do you have anyone you can talk to? Or... don't people talk about it?

Genavive: You know, in Uganda -- Those village people, the people who suffer.... The high officials, the people who are supposed to help, are based here in the city. So the leaders who are in the village there, you tell them that this and this is happening, but I don't know what they do. I don't know what step they take. They take long to react, and even.... (pauses). Let me say this: if the Northerners and Easterners had not united themselves, those people [the LRA] could have crossed to somewhere over here. The real army of the government was fearing [them].... But the people got strong hearts to fight with the LRA rebels. That's why they were pushed back. Otherwise, we wouldn't be here. But this thing about telling the government to help.... Okay, we do tell, but the action takes so long....

James: Now, what happened, the people -- the boys, the youth -- they formed a group and went to the government to say "give us guns." Because [the government] didn't want to bring security to our region, boys went for a training -- they don't train even! They just get guns and go... These boys -- I don't know how to say it -- gave themselves to secure their own people.... We are tired of running....

RB: James, if you could tell people in the United States one thing, what would it be? What would you tell an American student about your experience?

James: What would I tell? This has been a very sorrowful experience. Very sorrowful experience. I think -- what I could tell them is that people really suffer in the northern regions of Uganda. People suffer really. And I pray that God has tried to solve this, but peace talks have not gone -- [the LRA] have refused peace talks.... They tried to go for peace talks, and [Joseph Kony] says that, until the case is dropped out of the International Criminal Court, he will never come out.

RB: We only have a couple of minutes left, so let me ask you this: what do you want to do with your future, when you become an adult?

Genavive: For me, okay.... It's only the education, which I may not get fully because of fees; but otherwise, if I attend (school)... I want to become a leader, a strong leader... who can see to help those poor people suffering in the villages. When there is a problem I see that is going to affect my people, and I see a solution to it.... I have to see to it that the government sees what the village people are undergoing, and take an action. Do it. Not let people continue suffering....

RB: And you want to go to university?

Genavive: Very much.

RB: In Kampala?

Genavive: Anywhere. As long as I'm in a university.... I believe that when I'm graduated and working, I can be in a position to help my people....

Post script: I later sat down with Genavive and several other of the Ugandan girls of CTAC to discuss the hurdles facing the youth of Northern Uganda -- especially those who want to attend university. That interview, which heightened the sense of awe I had, and continue to have, toward these kids, will be published in a future edition of Idebate.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Facts: Join Global Debates!

As part of the Global Debates effort within The People Speak 2007/2008, we would like to show you this Public Service Announcement, produced by Jumbo, on behalf of the International Debate Education Association.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Trest Idol Show

It past one week from IDEA Forum Talent Show in Trest. From participant to trainers everybody show their talents on Talent Show that suddenly turned into an Idol Show.. I choosed three performance. First one is Rob, then we have some beatbox and at the end we have Macedonian delegation. Don't panic, before Macedonian performance there is a clear sign for Parental Advisory :).

Enjoy it!!!

I apologizes to others participants which are not included in this video. Better luck next year. And if you have any questions about why I choose Macedonians, don't forget that I'm Macedonian too.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Legend of Fishbone and the Lake.... Click to Enlarge.

The Mixed Teams Finals

The two teams who advanced to our mixed teams finals were "Fear Factor" and "Just Because." The resolution was, of course, "Hate speech should be a crime," and, as a result of a strategy employed by the affirmative team, "Fear Factor," the debate centered around violence, children, and censorship in the U.S.--with particular attention to violent video games. An interesting point in the debate was in the first cross-examination, when representatives from each of the teams argued about the violent attributes of the popular children's game, Pokemon. In the end, it was decided that, for now, it's okay to let Pokemon continue to corrupt the minds of young children.

The judges had a tough decision to make in this debate, but, with a 3-2 decision, the team "Just Because," who only had two members of their team present for this debate, came out as the winner of YF 2007's Karl Popper Mixed Teams Debate. Congratulations to both teams for great debating, and congratulations to all participants in this year's Mixed Teams Tournament! This topic was difficult, and many teams approached it with thoughtful strategy.

Monday, August 06, 2007

A Special Thanks from Jurate

The Forum is over and… long live the Forum!
I would like to thank Rene and his Forum Fairies (also know as volunteers) for organizing a superb forum! Thank you for your patience, enthusiasm and hard work not only during the last two weeks, but during the whole year.
The Forum was such an enriching experience thanks to the efforts of the training staff – all the trainers, who were led by tireless Ioana, the Chief Adjudicator Anca and the tournament Director Helina.
Thank you all for working together to make the Czech forum a success!

With big thanks,

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Disease Expert Found, Loses It In Local Trest Pub

Dustin Hoffman, the pint-sized American actor and infectious diseases expert called in to investigate a rash of illnesses at the IDEA Youth Forum, was discovered Saturday afternoon in a local Trest pub after what appeared to be a forty-eight hour bender.

His plastic biohazard suit in shreds underneath the table, a visibly agitated Hoffman began shouting nonsense words at the team dispatched to bring him in.

"He can get really violent when he drinks Gambrinus," said one anonymous source. "And he kept repeating the words 'strawberry dumplings... strawberry dumplings.' We're not quite sure what that means, but we think it might be a term of endearment for one of the women he was with. He can also get quite sentimental."

Hoffman's tirade was only stopped after he destroyed several wooden tables and was taken down with a tranquilizer-filled dart. His publicist was unavailable for comment.

KP Mixed Team Quarterfinals

We've just finished the quarterfinals on the Hate Speech topic. This particular debate went the route of using graffiti as their example of freedom of expression. Rob Bingham said of this debate, "This may be the best Karl Popper debate I have ever seen." Debaters will be signing autographs after the round.

Friday, August 03, 2007

From the IDEA Archives: Haydar Lokmanoglu's Universally Recognized Worst Karl Popper Rebuttal of All Time.

We've been digging through the archives at IDEA and we've come up with what has to be the worst rebuttal speech in the history of Karl Popper Debate. It happened in 1983 in Bulgaria, when Haydar Lokmanoglu took the stage as his team's third negative speaker on the topic, coincidentally enough, of hate speech in schools.

We here at IDEA thought that it would be educational to take a look at Haydar's speech as an example of what not to do. Here's a partial transcript:

Good morning ladies and germs if I may make such joke. My name Haydar Lokmanoglu and I third speaker from side negative. I come here with pants and shoes to share my dream, which is having free speeches for these pupils in the schools. My beautiful opponents, ladies and gentlemen, have give you very lovely case which tells all this room that these hate speeches can make large hurting in human brains. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I have big argument with this. Hate speeches do not hurt the brains of children or even old people, ladies and gentlemen, because these speeches are only words from mouth. This is the saying rocks and stones will break the bones but hate speeches do not hurt us, especially the old people, ladies and gentlemen, because they are old and sometimes know better than babies these things.

Ladies and gentlemen, this affirmative teams tell us these hate speeches in schools hurt the reputations and give to the children stigmatas of bad schools. Is stigmatas bad, ladies and gentlemen, or would you rather break your head? What if I smoke cigarette, ladies and gentlemen, but I only blow smoke into some little hole? Should I be jailed? I ask you this, ladies and gentlemen, and not as a funny person. Moreover, ladies and gentlemen, why is these hate speeches? Why do these child think of hate speeches? Because of the failure of some school teachers and some bigshots, ladies and gentlemen. If they do not teach the children correctly with the words from their mouths, it is their fault these hate speeches I think. These children are like the baby birds, ladies and gentlemen, and instead of lovely worm, the teacher who is like a mother give them poison, ladies and gentlemen. Who is to blame for these poisons in these birds? The people who give the poison, ladies and gentlemen!

So, ladies and gentlemen, if I do some hate speeches to you do you not feel bad? Of course! But is it not more funny, ladies and gentlemen, to have free speeches and saying all of these good things in the school with pupils? I think this is better ladies and gentlemen. These schools should be like a tree that gives shiney apples and fruits, ladies and gentelmen, and not to put fire on the children or to beat them in the face with some stones, and it is for this reason that I beg to oppose!

Romanian Bears Imported to Keep Forum Participants In Line

Forum organizers announced a bold new initiative in the effort to keep students and trainers from staying out past curfew, and it comes in the form of some furry Romanian friends. That's right, there's bears in them thar streets!

What at first seemed only a wild rumor now appears to be true: Romanian black bears have been imported specifically for the final days of this Forum in order to, as one forum organizer put it, "Keep those little $#@%s in line. If bears won't do it, I don't know what else will," said the disgruntled fairy between bites of dumpling.

But why bears? According to forum organizers, bears are not only scary and large, but can easily outrun curfew-breaking teenagers. They also, according to Forum honcho Ioana Cionea, "create the necessary atmosphere of terror we're looking for. In fact, it'll only take one of those little buggers to get mauled or eaten and that whole curfew headache will be ancient history."

A cage full of hungry bears is due at the forum hotel sometime this afternoon. "We'll wait until dark to let them out," said one fairy. Then we'll dump raw meat around the entrance to the building....

"Oh yeah," said Ioana, "This is gonna be sweet."

Experts Called in to Deal With Forum Illness

Early Yesterday morning, Youth Forum participants awoke to the strange sight of men in space suits rummaging through the Forum Cantina. Unbeknownst to most of the participants, this was a team of international infectious disease experts led by American actor Dustin Hoffman. According to the Forum Fairies, it was time to call the experts in.

"These kids have been dropping like flies," said one anonymous fairy. "We had to get the big dogs in here to deal with this. Hoffman is like a nuclear holocaust to most viruses and bacteria."

The diminutive Hoffman, completely encased in a plastic biohazard suit, was seen spooning bits of pork liver pasta into a petry dish around noon. After sniffing it, and then taking a small bite, he delcared the food edible, said "time for some o' them Czech brewskies!" and was whisked away in a white van. He was last seen in the fetal position outside one of the local pubs.

"We hate it when he gets like this," said his publicist. More on this story as it develops.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Words, More Words

Good Afternoon, blog enthusiasts. Today was the first day of the Mixed Teams Tournament on the topic, "Hate speech should be a crime." This resolution brought about many arguments centering around questions of: the relationship between words and violence, the criteria for classifying language as hate speech, and the danger of restricting freedom of expression. This topic is both difficult and fascinating in an international context, where there is such a diversity of culture, experience, and national history. Here at Youth Forum, we are in a context where we are taking advantage of our rights to freedom of expression. The photo to the left illustrate an exchange of thoughts and ideas on this particularly complex topic.

Take Action: Join Global Debates!

The next PSA in the Global Debates series is up! As part of the Global Debates effort within The People Speak 2007/2008, we would like to show you this Public Service Announcement, produced by the dynamic duo of Dumbo & Jumbo, on behalf of the International Debate Education Association.

The video has been shot and edited yesterday and today, right here at the Forum. The video features our young star Jesse Towsen, with the music courtesy by Flopsy.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Pirates Speak
The People Speak
Fall/Winter 2007-2008:
Climate Crews
Coordinate Climate Change Activism
On Campus
You could win one of ten
$500 Treasure Chests

Make a Difference, Before the Polar Ice Caps Melt
And the Blue Pearl Floods
MAP a Solution for Climate Change
Only YOU can save Johnny Depp and his Penguin

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Crazy Forum Party-goers

As the sun goes down over Trest, Forum participants put on their dancing shoes and...wait a minute...that was a different night. Tonight: the elective classes from 9:00-10:30 p.m. Just look at these wild participants in the classes of "Nonverbal Communication in Debate" and "Policy Debate Scholarships for Debating in the U.S." I heard that both classes were very helpful and well-attended. Strike one up for IDEA Trainers. The course with the highest attendance for tonight: Manolis's course on Harry Potter.