Thursday, March 19, 2009

Osipovichi-Open: the first experience

For several years in the small provincial Belarus town of Osipovichi, a debate club has existed. Its members participated in national and international tournaments, took prize-winning places and thought, what a good idea it would be to hold a tournament in Osipovichi! This year the dream came true: March 6th through 8th, in the city of Osipovichi, the international parliamentary debate "Osipovichi Open" took place.

The population of Osipovichi is only 35,000 people; therefore this international tournament really enlivened the town. Bank workers were surprised at the number of people wishing to exchange foreign currency, and taxi drivers at last had a lot of customers. However, for organizers it became a problem; rarely do so many people visit Osipovichi. That’s why only 20 teams participated in the tournament — representatives of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.

The participants arrived on Friday, then took part in the first rounds. The general motion of the tournament was “The Union State of Russia and Belarus;” resolutions on each round appeared 15 minutes prior to a round. The heated arguments have caused discussions on the introduction of united citizenship and united currency for the two Union States. However, the final motion, “TH would leave the Union State of Russia and Belarus,” was especially unexpected. Less unexpected were the first place winners Zakzhevskaya Tatyana and Ruhlevich Olga, a team from Minsk. The team from Moscow (Russia) came in second.

It is necessary to mention social activities, too, an integral part of any international tournament. After all, communication among the participants is a necessary part of carrying out a debate. On Saturday evening, a traditional Belorussian “kapustnik," or talent show, was held. In general, the purpose of “kapustnik” is to amuse, show the abilities of each team and to share cultural traditions. Russian debaters sang songs about debates, Ukrainians held funny competitions, and everyone had fun.

The representatives of the Belarus Republican Union of Youth, the members of the New Communication Club, and the teachers and workers of almost every administrative agency in town took part in tournament organization (at the railway station, the delegation of participants was met by a greeting on loudspeaker!). "Osipovichi Open" became the first international tournament not organized in Minsk. We hope that the tradition will survive, and the tournament will become annual!
Ksenia Tsyganok, Osipovichi, Belarus

Register for the Global Advocacy Institute!

The Global Advocacy Institute, taking place in Turkey on the Aegean Sea, provides training for tomorrow’s leaders in tools that help them to promote discussion of issues that are important to them and their communities, and to advocate for positive change.

This year’s Institute will concentrate on the critical issue of climate change. All students will receive training from and their training partners to:

  • Develop a better understanding of how to use public narrative in advocacy
  • Learn about the most up-to-date climate science
  • Build skills for strategic and effective campaign planning

In addition, students will choose from three tracks of study:

  • British Parliamentary Debate & Argumentation
  • Journalism & New Media for Advocacy
  • Performance & Art Advocacy

Students wishing to improve their English communication skills can choose our English as a Foreign Language track.

Climate Change

  • A unique 3-week intensive program
  • Training in climate change advocacy from and their training partners
  • Last year’s Institute drew participants from 27 countries
  • Students can earn 6 college credits from Bloomfield College (USA)
  • Final performances and debates may be presented at the Ancient Theater at Pergamum
  • Visits to major cultural and historic sites
  • Extensive extra-curricular activities

An international faculty, staff, and student body provide for a unique camp environment and rich intercultural dialogue.

The institute is located at Deçemko, a private resort on the Aegean coast of Turkey, near Izmir, Pergamum, and other sites of cultural and historic interest.

In spare moments, join us in basketball, volleyball, table tennis, running, juggling, chess, movies, dances, and swimming in the Aegean Sea!!

REGISTER TODAY! (Financial aid may be available)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

IDEA – XJTU Four-Team Debate Tournament!

You are cordially invited to attend the IDEA – XJTU Four-Team Debate Tournament on the campus of Xi'an Jiaotung University. Registration begins soon! Visit the event page.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

Kicking Off Debate in the South-East of Korea

IDEA just finished a debate camp on the south-east coast of Korea. In conjunction with the U.S. Embassy in Seoul and the Ulsan Language Academy, 20 middle-school from across Ulsan participated in a three-day intensive debate program.

On the first day, students participated in activities in small groups to develop critical thinking and public thinking skills and prepared speeches in defense of an argument of their choosing. A class discussion on the key components of debate was also held. On March 10th, students participated in a class-wide “chain debate” and another small-group activity on critical thinking and argumentation. Students also discussed tips for presenting a speech, learned the format for a debate competition, and watched segments of a recorded debate from a competition.

On the March 11th, after a warm-up game to encourage students’ language abilities and a review of the components of a good speech, a class-wide debate competition was held. Students split into six groups of three students and one group of two students and took turns debating. For the first round of debates, the topics “Students should be able to choose what they want to study in school,” “Boys and girls should be in separate classes” and “Junk food should be banned in school” were used. For the second round of debates, the topics “Smoking should be banned in restaurants,” “Advertising is harmful to society” and “Beauty contests should be banned” were used.

All students debated or judged in both rounds of debate. At the conclusion, students’ scores were tallied and prizes were awarded to the top two teams-- congratulations to team "POD" and team "Prettism"!

In addition to the middle school program, IDEA led a short workshop at Ulsan Science High School (USHS) during the morning of March 10th. Students participated in a chain debate and crafted speeches in defense of arguments of their choosing. Everyone was eager to share their opinions on topics ranging from junk food in schools (recently banned at USHS!) to human cloning to the obligation of developed countries to help impoverished ones.

Thanks to Sun-Nam from the U.S. Embassy, Ms. Ryu from ULA, Ms. Do from USHS and the great students in Ulsan for two fantastic programs!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The Big IDEA, 3/8/2009

New Orleans tournament winners announced!
Middle and high school students in New Orleans went head-to-head this Saturday on the topic, “Teachers' salaries should be based on students' academic performance.”

And the winners are:

High School:

UNO Upward Bound (Creshon Amos and Chrissy Purcell)
Early College High School (Kiara Kraft and Colby James)

Second Place
Early College High School (Kiara Kraft and Colby James)

First Place
UNO Upward Bound (Keira Garrison and Kristiaan Lewis)

Top High School Debaters
1 Alton Denson (ECHS)
2 Colby James (ECHS)
3 Kristiaan Lewis (UNO Upward Bound)
4 James Warren (John McDonogh)
5 Kendell George (ECHS)
6 Precious Williams (John McDonogh)
7 Chrissy Purcell (UNO Upward Bound)
8 Justine Webster (ECHS)
9 Keira Garrison (UNO Upward Bound)
10 Creshon Amos (UNO Upward Bound)

Middle School:

Second Place
Arthur Ashe (Takayle Smith, Sydney Butler, and Demante Lewis)

First Place
(George Aidoo, Christopher Kerry, and Jordan Character)

Top Middle School Debaters
1 Joshua Montrel (CAPDAU)
2 Jordan Character (Arthur Ashe)
3 Leander Brown (CAPDAU)
4 Brandon Smith (CAPDAU)
5 Christopher Kerry (Arthur Ashe)

Registration for the second New Orleans tournament on March 9 begins soon. Students and teachers are invited to refresh their skills at a workshop on March 8. Stay tuned!

(Left to right) David Crane, Andrej Schulcz, Virginija Paksiene

IDEA Netherlands board sees changes
IDEA Netherlands would like to welcome new board members Virginija Paksiene, David Crane and Andrej Schulcz, and thank retiring board members Katrin Viru, Rene Brinda and Chris Baron.
Virginija Paksiene is the Executive Director of the Informal Education Debate Center in Lithuania, IDEA's member, and she has been with the debate program from its very inception, contributing her energy and dedication to many Lithuanian and international projects, including projects implemented in cooperation with IDEA. IDEA is very fortunate that she has accepted this invitation and we know she will contribute to the development of the organization with her experience, creativity and hard work.
David Crane is an Internet veteran, having built websites for over 14 years. While having no formal debate training, he is an argumentative sod and loves nothing more than a full and frank exchange of views. He built Debatewise to make this easier, and happily, others benefit too.
Andrej Schulcz started debating in high school, then continued in university, and is now also a judge and trainer. He has been Chief Adjudicator of the Slovak Debate Association for three years, and studies political science and sociology at the Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic.
We welcome Virginija, David and Andrej to the board and wish them a lot of success!
Many thanks go to Katrin Viru, Rene Brinda and Chris Baron for their dedication and service to IDEA and its members over the years, hoping that they will continue supporting the organization and participating in its activities and projects.
Marcin Zaleski, Executive Director, IDEA Netherlands

Youth Forum teachers announced
I am honored to introduce the excellent educators that will teach at the IDEA Youth Forum! Apart from being outstanding teachers, they are also a wonderful mix of personalities and characters. The leader of this group, the Curriculum Director, is Bill Sheffield (USA). The trainers are: Andrei-Iustin Mihailescu (Romania), Annushia Balavijendran (Malaysia), Ashley Miller (USA), Branislav Fecko-Cegin (Slovakia), Claudia Newman-Martin (Australia), Danny Shea (USA), Elisa Frank (Canada), Ge Yang (PR of China), Gina Iberi-Shea (USA), Jingkai He (PR of China), Joost Hellegers (The Netherlands), Justice Motlhabani (Botswana), Lazar Pop Ivanov (Macedonia), Logandran Balavijendran (Malaysia/Korea), Mark Woolsey (USA), Nikki Thommen Bingham (USA), Rob Bingham (USA), Ronna Liggett (USA), Seo Hee Im (USA), Sharmila Parmanand (Phillipines), Sharon Porter (USA) and Shelby Jo Long-Hammond (USA). Our part-time trainers Andrej Schulcz (Slovakia), Joseph Zompetti (USA) and Sergei Naumoff (Russian Federation) will be leading some workshops at the Youth Forum while trying to fulfill their duties as IDEA NL Board members.
“Cap and trade, or carbon tax?” Want to read more about the topics of this year’s Youth Forum and research for them? Click here and read articles assembled by the Curriculum Director and the trainers.
A new one every week!
Veronika Vlckova, Forum Coordinator, IDEA Netherlands

Open call for debate teachers at Korea Poly School
IDEA is recruiting for two debate teacher positions in Seoul, South Korea with the Korea Poly School (KPS). KPS is seeking Canadian or US citizens to teach debate to middle school students for at least one academic year at one of their campuses in Seoul (Ilsan or Mokdong). Learn more here.
Elizabeth Humphrey, IDEA Program Coordinator, Korea

Center for Cultural Dialogue promotes debate in Bosnia and Herzegovina
CCD is big one happy family that affectionately promotes dialogue and debate. Recently we’ve had some interesting debate activities here in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
On February 6, CCD organized a public debate on juvenile delinquency. It was another opportunity to promote a culture of dialogue and to prove that the cooperation between governmental and non-governmental organizations is necessary in every aspect of life, and especially when trying to deal with serious social problems such as juvenile delinquency.
On February 7 and 8, CCD organized a seminar for professors. It was a great opportunity for them to meet again and to learn something new as well. The seminar had many interesting subjects such as the results of the regional debate competition (held on January 24), transitional justice, judging and more. The successful seminar was a great chance for professors to meet, share views on debate and arrange meetings between debating clubs.
Every Saturday at 5:40pm, Sarajevo residents can learn more about our activities on the TV show, Debate News. In this show, CCD informs viewers about the World Debate Championship, the IDEA Youth Forum, and debate programs in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as around the world. Debate News is an excellent opportunity to promote dialogue and debate.
The CCD is organizing student seminars on March 7 in four regions: Prijedor, Tuzla, Mostar and Sarajevo. Students will learn more about researching for debate, finding the best material for debate and how to use it in the best way possible. So far, the CCD has received many positive comments from seminar applicants, and they all appreciate the opportunity to meet colleagues from other clubs and see people they know. And of course they appreciate a wonderful opportunity to learn something new.
The CCD has some great news to share. After long negotiations, Bosnia and Herzegovina finally has a national anthem! We see it as proof that anything is possible through debate and dialogue. It is possible to agree on anything as long as we are ready for dialogue and compromise. You can find the text here.
CCD Team, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Register for YouthCamp Turkey!
YouthCamp Turkey, taking place in Istanbul, connects youth who have goals and ideas for a more open society with youth wishing to contribute to these goals. Through collaborative projects, youth are empowered to become active citizens willing and able to influence public life, and they promote open society ideals. Please join us this April 4th and 5th in Istanbul, Turkey, to guide this new effort by sharing your ideas and experiences! Visit the site to learn more.

Are there limits to freedom of expression in art?
On the 4th of February 2009, artists, people of culture, politicians and journalists gathered in a place of cultural tradition, the “Carturesti” book store to debate whether or not there are limits when it comes to freedom of expression in art.
The debate was organized by the Policy Center for Roma and Minorities and the Media Monitoring Agency in their project Debate House, financed through the Roma Decade program by the Open Society Institute. The Debate House series is meant to bridge the existing gap between public authorities and civil society.
The main speakers were from vast domains and included: H.R.Patapeivici, president of the Romanian Cultural Institute (RCI), Virgil Nitulescu, State Secretary in the Ministry of Cults and Culture, Raluca Turcan, President of the Committee for Cults and Culture from the Parliament, Razvan Theodorescu, former Minister of Cults and Culture, Dan Grigore, member of the National Council for Audiovisual, Diana Hatneanu, lawyer and Executive Director of APADOR-CH, Kovaci Eckstein, Presidential Counselor for Minorities, Erwin Kessler, art critic from RCI, Dan Popescu, Diana Dochia and Vlad Ionescu, in charge of art exhibitions, Sorin Tara, artist of controversial works of art, and many more.
The discussion, led by Mircea Toma, President of the Media Monitoring Agency, started by remembering the events of November 2008, regarding several exhibitions of Romanian artists, financed by the Romanian Cultural Institute, that sparked public debate because they were considered to have an obscene character. Also in that period, an art gallery was devastated by a right-wing extremist group who did not approve of the work of art exposed, and people involved in culture were caricaturized in salacious situations on the Internet.
The topics reached by the discussion had a vast range: the publicity of art created by the series of scandals, the professionalism of journalists who accused several politicians of either being anti-Semites or favoring Jews because of their religious beliefs, the rights of artists in the eyes of lawmakers, and the maturity of the public: can it respect — if not accept — any kind of artistic expression?
Mr. Razvan Theodorescu said that everybody has the right to express oneself, no matter one’s education. The public’s maturity was discussed as well: is a phallus inappropriate? Ms. Norma Nitescu, from the Dutch Embassy, underlined the importance of educating the public about all kinds of arts, and the importance of freedom of expression.
Vlad Ionescu, responsible of the “Atelier 35” art gallery – vandalized after having exhibited a map of Romania featuring female genitalia, asked why the state is not punishing the vandals. He also asked where artistic expression stops and vandalism starts, referring to the graffiti made on the walls of the gallery.
The topic was addressed also from a legislative point of view, and Diana Hatneanu from APADOR CH ( The Association for Human Rights Protection in Romania – Helsinki Committee) presented the official position of the European Court of Human Rights ECHR) and the Romanian Legislation with regard to the matter of freedom of expression: in Romania, it is considered an offense to distribute materials with an obscene character, exhibitions included, and the ECHR is in agreement.
Ms. Raluca Turcan pointed out that often times political intrigues are present in the world of culture as well. It was said that if one person in the upper hierarchy of a cultural institution has a certain political affiliation – which is not the one in power, it is more likely that he will suffer financial repercussions from the other parties.
Sorin Tara decided to express himself in a different way, by having a broche with a swastika drawn on it.
A very good point was brought by one of the people present in the audience, that raised another issue: are Romanians protesting against art because of its poor quality or because they do not agree with the vision of the artist?
Although a clear conclusion was not reached regarding the limits of true artistic expression, several other questions were raised in the minds of the participants: What can the public decide? How much can the state intervene in matters of artistic expression? Does the Romanian public need an education towards art? If so, who should do it? What can be done to prevent the vandalism of art galleries? Can we say that what is inside the gallery is art, and what is outside is art as well?
Oana Stanciu, Bucharest Debate House Coordinator

Chinese debate team tours southern California
Five Chinese university students celebrated the 2009 Chinese New Year by boarding a plane for Southern California. The debaters from Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) and Xi’an International Studies University (XISU) were part of a 20-day tour of Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego (January 28-February 16). I was extremely proud to serve as the coordinator of this tour since I had played a part in the debate training of this special group. This tour had a strong connection with the International Debate Education Association (IDEA) since all of the debaters were trained in China by IDEA and have attended IDEA international tournaments. Zhang Yuan (Carmen) was trained as a high school senior at the 2004 IDEA International Debate Festival held at XISU. Her partner, Men Hansi (Hans) and she were in the Final Round of the national championships (the Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press Cup) in May 2008.
The three BFSU debaters were trained in British Parliamentary (BP) debate format by Robert Trapp and his staff in November, 2007 and qualified for the elimination rounds at the BFSU/IDEA tournament. Han Xue (Nina) and Zhou Qian (Helen) were semi-finalists at the December, 2007 IDEA tournament, while Ma Yulong (Martin) made it to the quarterfinals with his partner. In the last two IDEA tournaments in Wuhan and Beijing these three debaters served as adjudicators and provided demonstration debates. Recently, they brought their adjudicating skills to Mandarin debate competitions at BFSU. They were also part of an experimental class at BFSU where I taught public speaking, debate, and critical thinking under a Fulbright-Hayes grant.
Since this group had more competitive experience than previous Chinese tour groups, we gave them a broader variety of opportunities. Of course, they got to act as tourists and see the sights, but they may have had as much fun in the demonstration debates and the competitions in which they participated. Their narratives at the end of this article describe the richness of their experiences and document the differences they encountered. [See Helen’s narrative on “The differences between NPDA debate and parliamentary debate in China.”] Read the whole story…
Gary Rybold, Irvine Valley College, USA

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Book Proposals Wanted!

Idebate Press publishes books on communication – public speaking, debate, argumentation and effective writing – critical thinking, and high interest contemporary issues, particularly those relating to the focus of the Open Society Institute. The market extends from middle schools through university.

The Press welcomes book proposals in the fields in which we generally publish.

We recommend that proposals include the following:
• a cover letter of two to four pages outlining the book's argument and its contribution to its field
• a current curriculum vitae
• a prospectus giving a detailed outline of the book (usually three to eight pages)
• a sample chapter (optional)

We will attempt to give you an initial response within six weeks.

Is there a book you have previously used, would like to use again, but is no longer available? Please provide us with the book’s title and author(s). We will investigate bringing the original or a revised edition back into print.

Proposals should be sent to Martin Greenwald – or mail to:

Martin Greenwald, IDEA
400 West 59th Street
New York, NY 10019

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Youth Camp Invitation Video

Don't forget to register for the YouthCamp:

and to announce your YouthCamp session:

Monday, March 02, 2009

Announce Your YouthCamp Session!

As YouthCamp Istanbul draws near, we invite you to announce your sessions before the presentations in Istanbul. We will be hosting a schedule of sessions that get assigned on a first-come/first-serve basis.

Click here to register your session:

Register a Session