Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Roma debate event encourages dialogue among local youth

On November 19, 2009, participants of a debate at Red House in Sofia, Bulgaria will be discussing the motion, "Hate speech transforms Roma into 'tenants' in their own home." These young Roma debaters are between the ages of 17 and 30, and were trained in debating this past summer by the Bulgarian National Debate Association (member of IDEA). The purpose of this training was to help Bulgarian Roma youth become effective advocates for the Roma cause, and to enable them to launch a series of public debates as well as establish debating societies in Roma communities.

The goal of the debate program in Bulgaria is to bring minority and majority youth together, and through debate, provide an opportunity to discuss important and often controversial issues. Three of the orgnaizers of the upcoming debate at Red House took part in the IDEA Youth Forum in Sarajevo, where one of them took fourth place in the Mixed Teams track. The upcoming event is being organized by the Roma Initiatives of the Open Society Institute in cooperation with Red House, Roma newspaper "Drom Dromendar," the Bulgarian National Debate Association, and IDEA.

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