Thursday, July 09, 2009

News from the Climate Advocacy Institute

Facilitators are posting videos of the Institute as the action happens. Watch them all below!

A debate track update from instructor David Douglass:
The Debate and Argumentation track at the CAI has gotten off to a terrific start. Our group is comprised of a wide range of nationalities and interests, but everyone shares a passion for public advocacy. We began our first week by getting to know each other, and then established a grounding in debate and argument theory.

We discussed the classical roots of democratic societies, and examined the ways that public discourse contributes to social change. We zeroed in on fundamental skills of affirmative and negative argumentation, cross examination, and points of information. After that, we covered various styles of debate, with a focus on British Parliamentary, World Schools, and Karl Popper.

Each session involves a great deal of engagement and varied exercises that bring participants together for discussion and argument, so there's never a dull moment. Yesterday, we held our first full set of debates, with four-person teams and adjudication--it was a blast!

Passionate arguments made in the open air next to the gentle waves of the dark-blue Aegean--what could be better than that? Beachcombers stopped to listen, and even the seagulls seemed impressed by the authority of our rhetoric.

Today we're taking a day off for an excursion to an ancient city, but tomorrow we'll be back at it. We'll be holding a tournament next week, so our work now will culminate in a grand competition involving topics related to the environment. Stay tuned!

David Douglass is Interim Dean to the College of Liberal Arts, as well as a professor of Rhetoric and Media Studies, at Willamette University

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