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!