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), 350.org 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 350.org 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 350.org 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 http://komarovo2009.edicypages.com/en.
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

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