Thursday, June 25, 2009

UNICEF hosts video contest in honor of CRC’s 20th anniversary

If you’re 25 years of age or younger, you’re invited to participate in UNICEF’S video contest to celebrate 20 years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Participants are asked to create a short video showing what child rights mean to them, whether it is in the world at large, their country or their community.
Each video must:

  • Be related to children’s rights, either by illustrating one of the rights or referencing children’s rights as a whole.
  • Capture the mission of Voices of Youth to promote and protect every child’s right to know more, say more, and do more about the world they live in.
  • Be exactly one minute long.
  • Be free of any copyright materials.

Only one submission can be made by either a group or an individual, and it may also be sponsored by an organization or corporation. To submit to the contest, applicants must upload their videos to one of the following video sharing sites:

In addition, applicants must send an email to indicating their name, age, link to movie upload, title of movie, postal address, email address and telephone number. The submitted videos will be reviewed by a global panel of media professionals and displayed on the main UNICEF website. The winning video will be shown at the CRC’s 20th anniversary celebration and will be made available for broadcast around the world for the 2010 International Children’s Day of Broadcasting. Shortlisted entries will be notified by September 10, 2009.

The deadline is August 1, 2009.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

First Ever Debate Tournament in Jordan!

The first ever debate tournament in Jordan just ended with quite a lot of excitiment. After the team from Amman-Hashmi found out they won the final debate over the team from Irbid, they burst into cheers and received a flurry of hugs and cheers from their friends and teammates.

The tournament, held at the Princess Basma Youth Resource Center, was conducted all in Arabic in the Karl Popper Debate format and featured teams from throughout Jordan. In addition to Hashmi and Irbid, debaters came from Aqaba, Zarqa'a, Amman-Khalda, Taibeh, Karak, and Sahab. In the morning the debaters considered whether Jordan's reservations to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) should be lifted. The afternoon topic centered on the relationship between tribal law and public law in Jordan. Each team debated each topic twice for a total of four debates.

The final round motion was (translated into English) was "The minimum age to run for the Parliament in Jordan should be 18". In the final debate, the team from Amman-Hahsmi, which went 3-1 in the preliminary rounds, narrowly beat the team from Irbid, which was 4-0 in the previous four debates, including a victory over Hashmi. More importantly, these 6 excellent debaters put forward their ideas to the honored guest for the final round, Jordan's Minister for Political Development. If the affrimative team convinced him enough, maybe we will soon see young people eligible to run for Parliament in Jordan! The top 5 individual speakers from the final round were also from the teams from Hashmi and Irbid.

With the group of smart and committed debaters and coaches in Jordan, we certainly expect to see more great things from the Debate Kingdom! Many thanks to Sireen, Enas, Murad Q., Murad K., Mahmood and Suha from the Princess Basma Youth Resource Center, Charlie and Kinda from the British Council Jordan, and of course all the debaters and judges.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The next Big IDEA

You can find great stories like these in the next issue of the Big IDEA!

YDLU takes its first step with training its future leaders

IDEA has partnered with the Open Society Initiative for East Africa (OSIEA) and OSI Youth Action Fund to develop the Youth Debate League in Uganda. The main mission of the YDLU is to promote debate and discussion among young people in Uganda. It will build upon existing debate structures, as well as develop new debate chapters across the country. YDLU will also serve as an umbrella for various debate initiatives in Uganda and will facilitate the organization of a number of activities such as debate tournaments, competitions, public debates, youth campaigns, trainings, and curriculum development. Because debate is considered to be part of Uganda’s rich tradition, the YDLU is working to quickly develop its capacity in the country.

On June 16th – 19th, YDLU facilitated a seminar near Kampala for twenty-three teachers and youth leaders who were interested in becoming certified trainers so that they could help promote the program in their districts. These participants completed their first stage of training through IDEA’S certification process. The program focused on an introduction to the Karl Popper debate format, which will now be the uniform debate format for competitions in Uganda. It also included sessions on argumentation, judging, debate out-reach, and public debates. Future stages of the certification process will include prospective trainers' engagement in on-line instruction and exchange of experiences, follow-up face-to-face sessions and observation of classes/trainings conducted by trainers. IDEA is looking forward to continuing its work in Uganda and building on the success of its previous Ugandan programs (CTAC and DTD).

British School of Amsterdam hosts another wonderful workshop and debate

On June 19th, the British School of Amsterdam held its second annual workshop and public debate. The British parliamentary debate workshop was hosted by Arielle Dundess, and was co-hosted by Deborah Scroggins- coach of the British School of Amsterdam debate club, and Veronika Vlckova- IDEA representative. This year’s debate focused on a very hot topic in the Netherlands- “state funding should be banned from religious schools.” The winners were Casper and Tyjmen from Christelijk Lyceum Zeist, which is a school very active in public speaking activities and would be very excited to attend the national and international debate tournaments.

Oxfam-Novib employees taught new skills at IDEA workshop

On June 18th, IDEA was invited to hold a workshop for the employees of Oxfam-Novib about debate and how it could be used in the development of employee work and aid. IDEA representatives, Doutsen Langhout and Veronika Vlckova, organized different workshops that focused on counseling, dealing with emergency situations, and using a rights-based approach. The group of thirteen employees wanted to improve their debating skills, and learn how to make convincing arguments and presentations. At first, the participants thought debate and argumentation was easy. After trying it out themselves, they discovered that becoming a good debater requires much practice and preparation. IDEA and Oxfam-Novib will explore possibilities to work together on future projects as well.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

First idebate festival in Zeeland enjoyed by all

On June 11th, the first Debate Festival in Zeeland, Netherlands, was organized by IDEA along with other local partners. There were about 120 participants between the ages of 13 and 20 years old. Local politicians, parents, teachers, school directors, and friends also visited the festival. With only five debate training sessions, the participants were able to express their opinions about several topics such as friendship, the internet, and aesthetic ideals.

The mentors for the debate were trained in September 2008 by the Youth Council, a professional school from Youth Work. The mentors then invited the youth to take part in debate trainings, which became so popular that there were even waiting lists. Unlike other debate programs in the Netherlands, IDEA’s target group is young people who often feel marginalized and have difficulty expressing themselves. Even though this target group found it very difficult to participate in public debate, the Debate Festival demonstrated how these young people successfully overcame their fears.

Visit our website for more information and pictures:

Friday, June 12, 2009

Youth Forum lesson plan competition announced!

Join competition and win international exposure!

This six week campaign aims to gather lesson plans from the coaches and teachers that focus on climate change or one of the other specific motions of the Youth Forum. We will evaluate the lesson plans every week and announce the winners through the Youth Forum Newsletter. The authors of the best lesson plans will be announced at the closing ceremony. Apart from public recognition, the winners will receive a book of their choice from Idebate press and their lesson plans will be published in the next Idebate Magazine!

For more information go to:

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Big IDEA is back!

Youth Leadership Program with Bosnia and Herzegovina concludes, Big IDEA returns

Salem, ORE. USA (IDEA-Willamette office) — During the month of April, 18 high school students and three teachers from Bosnia and Herzegovina journeyed here to experience American democracy and citizenship. Through debate, stays with American families, participation in community service projects, interactions with American high school students and immersion in courses, these students and teachers gained the tools for creating positive change in their home country.

By the time they landed in Oregon they were great friends, after having met at a five-day pre-departure orientation in Sarajevo, and keeping in touch through Facebook.
They began their stay by visiting local museums and landmarks. The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry was a favorite for its Leonardo DaVinci exhibit and experiential OmniMax Theater.

Participants then immersed themselves in American life by staying with local families, who exposed them to Oregon’s abundant beauty, the rewards of having house-pets, spicier foods, even the American shopping experience.

Of course, they were all here to learn; soon they were studying American activism and democracy by pitching in at various service organizations, sitting in on an Oregon Supreme Court hearing, and attending interactive classes.

Debate is essential to change. The students learned to debate, and then competed with local high school students from Willamette University's college access program, Willamette Academy. Finally, the participants’ stay in Salem culminated in a championship debate adjudicated by judges from the Oregon Court of Appeals.

The next morning it was off to Washington, DC, for more museums and national landmarks. Everyone was tired, but reluctant to complain.

Before they knew it, their month-long journey had come to an end. IDEA-Willamette staff have since corresponded with the group, and they report culture shock. But if their Facebook pages are any indication, they'll help each other process the incredible experience!

This U.S. Department of State program was quite an experience for the IDEA-Willamette office as well; we learned a great deal from our 18 young leaders and three teachers. We also learned that it’s nearly impossible to put out an e-newsletter while administering such an intensive program. We miss our participants, and have missed The Big IDEA. Welcome back!

Read more about the Youth Leadership and Professional Development Program with Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Washington Post, Statesman Journal, and Willamette University news.

New Orleans students stand up and debate

On May 9th, New Orleans students competed in their 2nd debate tournament this spring. After weekly lessons and three workshops, 18 high school and middle school teams debated the topic, “When in conflict, environmental protection should be prioritized over economic growth.”
Congratulations to everyone who competed! We hope to see you next school year!

High school finalists:
Alton Denson, Kiera Craft of Early College High School

High school semi-finalists:
Creshon Amos, Chrissy Purcell of UNO Upward Bound

Top high school speakers:
Jameson Warr1n
Unique Bass
Chrissy Purcell
Creshon Amos

Middle school finalists:
Iman Aslam, Caroline Bland and George Evangelouis of Metairie Academy

Middle school semi-finalists:
Megan Bott, Yelim Jung, Andy Beams of Metairie Academy

Top middle school speakers:
Vincent Soldano
Caroline Bland
Joshua Montrel

International Tournament of Champions a success

The 5th annual International Parliamentary Debate Tournament of Champions, held May 21st-23rd on the campus of Willamette University, was another success. Teams from Oregon, Washington, Texas, Utah, California and the Philippines competed in lively rounds during the two-day event, discussing various topics, including hate speech.

The very accessible parliamentary debate format, based on British parliamentary debate, is intended to help students develop a broad knowledge base, improve argumentative abilities and speak persuasively and extemporaneously. To learn more about the format, click here.

Erica Furer, Annie McKenna and Logan Brog of Bentley School, Lafayette, CA

Joshua Tang and Ayesha Malik of Alief Kerr High School, Houston, TX
Ken Hall III and Amber Bernard of Silverton High School, Silverton, OR

Top speakers:
Annie McKenna, Bentley School, Lafayette, CA
Sam Duzett, Glencoe School
Ken Hall III, Silverton High School, Silverton, OR
Carson States, Silverton High School, Silverton, OR
Erica Furer, Bentley School, Lafayette, CA
Logan Brog, Bentley School, Lafayette, CA
Amber Bernard, Silverton High School, Silverton, OR
Katiemarie Harmon, Maeser Preparatory, Lindon, UT
Fred Nagtalon, Mariano Marcos, Philippines
Joshua Tang, Alief Kerr High School, Houston, TX

Slots still available at the Climate Advocacy Institute

The International Debate Education Association (IDEA), and Bloomfield College are organizing a 3-week in-depth Climate Advocacy Institute that will equip students with the skills and connections needed to fight global climate change. The Institute will be held in Deçemko, a private resort on the Aegean coast of Turkey.

From June 28 to July 18, 2009, an experienced team of organizers will lead workshops on everything from the most recent climate science to campaign strategy to online communications.
IDEA and staff from Lebanon, the United States and Europe will work with participants over the three-week Institute to develop basic organizing skills. In addition, the Climate Advocacy Institute offers the following four tracks to choose from:

• Debate & Argumentation REGISTRATION CLOSED
• Journalism & New Media
• Performance & Art Advocacy
• English as a Foreign Language

This incredible opportunity is jam-packed with exciting extra-curricular trips to major historic sites, sports games and lots of fun after-hours activities.

Meet and hang out with dozens of young climate activists, and become part of the growing network of youth activists worldwide.

Get university credit for taking part! To apply now and learn more, visit the advocacy institute website. Take three weeks and change the world!

NJFL Nationals draws record numbers

Registration for the 2009 IDEA-National Junior Forensic League National Tournament closed June 1st with a record 252 students!

From June 26th through 28th in San Antonio, Texas, these middle school students from around the country — and even South Korea — will compete in varying format sets, from Policy Debate, Lincoln-Douglas and Public Forum formats to Impromptu, Humorous Interpretation, Poetry, and more.

CRY Uganda begins youth empowerment project

CRY Uganda is currently implementing “Creating Peaceable Communities Through Empowering the Youths Project” which is supported by the European Union under the Northern Uganda Rehabilitation Program (NUREP) in the three districts of Lira, Kitgum and Amuru. While in Partnership with War Child Holland and KICWA, CRY-Uganda will implement debates, a peace theatre, and peace camp. The objective of the project is to empower the community through youth, including ex-combatants and former LRA abductees and promote a supportive environment and peaceful co-existence in the Acholi and Lango regions of Northern Uganda.

The debates will focus on the discussion of controversial issues affecting the peacebuilding process in northern Uganda.

From these events, CRY Uganda plans to choose a team of debaters to attend the IDEA Youth Forum.

For more information, please visit the CRY Uganda website.
Kenneth Opolot, CRY UGANDA

Minsk holds fifteenth annual debate tournament

Fresh ideas were reflected in the fifteenth annual spring debate tournament in Minsk. Although this was a national tournament, every year we have participants from all over Russia, including the usual participants from St. Petersburg, and new participants from Yakutsk. Others came from Berdyahnsk, and the cities of Vilnius and Utena in Lithuania. The tournament kicked off with an entertaining presentation of four countries’ cultures. The preliminary rounds of the debate were also very exciting as it focused on the question of whether “The problem of global climate change should take precedence over economic development.” Members of the international ecological forums would have been very impressed by some the debaters’ responses to the problem. Just like this year’s tournament, future debates in Minsk will surely amaze participants with more new and fresh ideas!
Zhvalevskaya Anastasiya, BSU lyceum, Belarus

Bucharest Debate House

On the 8th of April, the debate house and the “Impreuna” Agency organized the National Network of the Young Roma and the Ministry of Education and Research. Two high schools in Bucharest participated in this debate, which featured the topic, “Affirmative measures regarding Roma population are justified in Romania.” The debate was part of a larger project called “The Young Debate,” and was honored by the presence of many important figures of the Romanian educational system. We look forward to the national final event on June 1st.

On the 10th of April, the debate entitled, “Roma social inclusion: a European or national problem?” was moderated by one of the most renowned journalists in Romania, Mr. Mircea Toma. The topic prompted much controversy as it raised issues about the Roma elite, the reluctance of the government, and the misuse of funding for past projects.
Oana Diana Stanciu, Debate House Bucharest

Komarovo 2009
International Debate Forum

The North-Western Open Education Center, in partnership with Herzen University of St. Petersburg, hosted the 11th Komarovo International Debate Forum during April 30 through May 3, 2009. Students, ages 15-20, debated in English and Russian in one of the largest international high school debates in Eastern Europe. More than 150 debaters and coaches came from all over Russia, and more than 50 traveled from abroad. These three days included numerous workshops, much debating, and evening activities full of fun! The preliminary topic was “This house believes that, when in conflict, global climate change concerns should take precedence over economic development in rapidly developing countries.” The elimination round topic was “To combat climate change, nations should use cap and trade regulations rather than impose taxes on carbon emissions.”

For more details about this year’s debate forum, please visit our website at
Sergei Naumoff, St. Petersburg Debate Association

National Oratory Contest:
“The Future Starts Today”

In partnership with Rotaract University Bucharest, the Bucharest Debate House organized the regional stage of the National Oratory Contest on May 7th. High school students created five-minute speeches about why “The Future Starts Today.” After the event, participants also discussed current problems of the Romanian educational system and the need for a youth center. The national final was held on May 16th in Pitesti, where qualifiers were coached by the Debate House in preparation for the event.

United States Universities Debating-
University of Vermont

The US Universities Debating Championship was a success. Over one hundred and twenty teams took the field for an exciting tournament. However, this event did not go without its challenges. This year the tournament took on a new debate format- the WUDC debate form. This is new and different for much of America, but we are taking to it with a surprising level of vigor and skill. And, those familiar with the format put their trust into a new host in a new part of the country. By the end of the three-day competition there was a world-class final round with world-class debaters!
Oana Diana Stanciu, Debate House Bucharest

Round Robin results in

The 2009 HWS/ IDEA Invitational Round Robin went exceedingly well this year. The Round Robin included 16 colleges and universities with 32 participants. The full tab is available here. View the final round here.
Eric Barnes, Hobart & William Smith College

Monday, June 01, 2009

Korean Youth Learn Diplomacy and Debating

Last week, middle school students from across Korea gathered in Seoul for a three-day journey into the life of a diplomat. The Middle School Youth Diplomacy Program offered 25 selected students the chance to sit in on panels by experts in diplomacy and international relations, tour a university campus, learn to debate and put their mediation skills to test in a diplomacy simulation on giving aid to Gaza. The program was jointly organized by the U.S. Embassy in Seoul and a group of Fulbright grantees to South Korea.

IDEA joined in by leading a session in the first evening on the basics of public speaking and argumentation. After some warm-up activities that gave everyone practice speaking in front of a group, we went over the steps for building arguments and had some short debates on topics like banning cell phones in school. At the end of the session, students matched assertions, reasoning and evidence on topics related to Gaza, Israel-Palestine relations and the nature of aid. Based on the speed at which the students picked up argument building, it was easy to tell the diplomacy simulation and all of next few days would be full of good ideas and exchange.