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.

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