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: http://workserver.idebate.org/idebatezeeland.