New debate-mentors in Amsterdam, from 20 to 28 years old, recently took part in their first training session, and are excited to rejuvenate the debate scene in their city. "Wow, this is great,” said one of the volunteers, “Can we bring some friends next week?" Most participants are volunteers from MOSA, an organization that arranges public debates and provides an opportunity for local youth to gain experience in radio, television, and other media. These new, young trainers will now be coaching a group of 12 to 20 year-old disadvantaged students in debate.
Training disadvantaged youths in the Netherlands presents a major challenge. One youth worker said, "kids who visit the youth centers think that debate is boring and something for nerds. What is more, the youth from lower level secondary schools have often heard they are not intelligent. So, they assume this is true, which makes debate more difficult for them." Be sure to check back for more updates on how these new debate mentors are working to engage youth in public debates.