Wednesday, December 30, 2009

DebatingNews on Twitter brings together news from around the globe

Looking for the most recent debate news all in one place? Look no further! IDEA has launched a new twitter account, called DebatingNews, that pulls together new information from several debate websites. It not only sends updates about IDEA events, but also from other global debate events. It's your one-stop shop for keeping updated on what's happening in the debate world! Check it out now!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Application deadline for IDEA Youth Forum trainers was postponed to December 22nd.

Trainers’ Profile – requirements:
To perform this job successfully, the YF trainer must be able to perform satisfactorily in each of the below mentioned categories:
  • relevant experience in debate education (debate coach, debate trainer or debate teacher)
  • necessary skills and experience relevant to designing debate curriculum, preparation of educational materials (lesson plans, debate exercises and handouts) and researching materials
  • adequate computer skills (comfortable with navigating through www, operating with newsgroups, search engines, chats, blogs, etc)
  • reliable access to a computer with good internet connection
  • self-disciplined and motivated individuals, who are willing to learn
  • fluent in English, and able to conduct content sessions in English for an international student and adult audience
  • ability to devote at least 1 hr a week for preparation for the Forum during the period of February – July
Selection Procedure:
All prospective trainers are requested to submit their application form via email, which can be downloaded from the Youth Forum website ( Trainers that have already applied in previous years and would not like to add any new information are encouraged to use the short application form. If you have any questions please contact Veronika, the Forum Director (

Application forms:
Standard Application Form
Short Application Form (for returning trainers)
The deadline for applications is December 22, 2009!

The Curriculum Committee will be selecting 21 trainers that will be given the opportunity to become IDEA YF 2008 trainer. The trainers will also be selected specifically for the given track at the time of selection. The Committee will be also selecting up to 5 trainers that will be placed on the waiting list. These trainers will be not called to duty unless a selected trainer would fall out or additional trainers would be needed due to unexpected increase in the number of participants.

All candidates will be notified of their status by February 15th, 2009. Please make sure to follow the Youth Forum Website ( or sign up for the Youth Forum E-newsletter, to be informed about more details and updates on the Forum. To make sure you receive all the relevant information and also if you have additional questions, please contact the Forum Director.

Hope to hear from you soon!
Veronika Vlckova
Forum Director
For more information please visit Global Call for Trainers page.

Large turn-out for the 2009 IDEA-BFSU tournament

This past weekend, on December 11th-13th, IDEA and the Beijing Foreign Studies University held their annual tournament at the university in the heart of China's capital city. The official format of the tournament was a four-team worlds-style parliamentary debate. This tournament featured divisions in both English and Mandarin, in which 150 English teams and 32 Mandarin teams entered. Twenty teams participated in the Moot Court division, which was a new addition to this year's tournament.

Before the tournament began, IDEA international accredited trainers offered training sessions for both judges and debaters. This was not only a great opportunity for participants to prepare for the tournament, but was also an event where qualified adjudicators could obtain IDEA training accreditation. Other great opportunities at the tournament included site-seeing of historic and modern landmarks of Beijing, including the Forbidden Palace, the Great Wall of China, and Tiananmen Square.

For more information on the IDEA-BFSU-Tournament, click here.

And the winners of the Global Debates IDEA Challenge are...

Congratulations to team Kolej Tuanku Ja’afar of Malaysia, winner of the Fall 2009 IDEA Challenge! The team has won fee waivers for the 2010 International Tournament of Champions in Salem, Oregon, USA (or a $1,000 scholarship to attend a tournament in their area) and 500 Global Debates points. And for their exceptional submissions, the following finalists have earned 500 points toward The People Speak Global Debates competition:

Alief Kerr High School, Texas, U.S.
Prometeu-Prim Lyceum, Moldova
Brother Rice High School, Illinois, U.S.
Santee, California, U.S.
North Allegheny Senior High School, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Baba Tonka, Bulgaria

The Fall 2009 Global Debates took place throughout October and November, where students held local debates and organized other activities to earn points. For information about how you might participate in the Spring 2010 People Speak Global Debates, visit

Global Youth Panel creates buzz during last week of the Copenhagen Conference

Since December 7th, young debaters from all over the world have gathered on to discuss the issues being raised at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Such an effort has not gone unnoticed to the world. Thom Yorke of Radiohead commented on, "Some debating will be done in Copenhagen by those who, whether they admit it or not, hope not to see the full consequences. The youth are the ones who will inherit what happens now. [This] is a site where a 1000 kids from 100 different countries are debating the issues. Some fresh minds with fresh ideas and no baggage would be nice no?"

With pros and cons to each, some of the topics discussed focus on carbon taxes, country representatives, protesters, the Kyoto agreement, and limiting temperature increases. After the conference ends on December 18th, the panel will be divided into their respective countries, and will discuss how the decisions made by our leaders will impact their own lives. The Global Youth Panel is sponsored by Debatewise, IDEA, and the British Council. For more information, click here.

The UYNGO Debate Academy wins "All-Ukrainian Youth NGO 2009" award

At the Ukraine "Youth Rating of the Year 2009" grand awards ceremony on December 2nd held at the Disco Radio Hall Club, the winners were announced among youth leaders from around Ukraine. After a month of voting for over 200 candidates, the results turned out five nominations for the following members and divisions of the Ukrainian Youth Non-Government Organization Debate Academy:

Lesya Orobets (Debate Academy Board of Trustees member)- "The Young People's Deputy 2009"

Anton Shtefan (member of Presidium of Debate Academy's Kharkiv Department)- "The Young Deputy of Country Council 2009"

Rhetoric Club "Maister Slova" (project of Debate Academy's Kyiv Department)- "Local Training Youth Project 2009"

Newsletter "Debaty po-Kyivsky" (project of Debate Academy's Kyiv Department)- "Youth Journal 2009"

And most of all- UYNGO Debate Academy- "All-Ukrainian Youth NGO 2009"

The president of the UYNGO Debate Academy, Olexandra Matviichuk, stated that this award is "the advance that we will have to prove by active civil work. Meanwhile, it is really important that debaters of Ukraine voted for UYNGO Debate Academy. This is our main victory-support and unity. This is the conclusive proof of the development of the debate movement in Ukraine."

Debate returns to Kosovo high schools with help from the Speak Up movement

Recently, the Speak Up movement in Kosovo has been actively working to return Karl Popper debate to high schools of the region. On December 15th, a debate was organized between the American School of Kosovo (affirmative) and the debate team from the Ferizaj municipality (opposition). High school students from both teams debated on the topic of compulsory voting, and many expressed enthusiasm for the opportunity to join a debate club. In addition to organizing high school debates, the organization will begin training debate judges and coaches in January 2010, and is also planning a National Debate Tournament set for May 2010.

To promote debate in the region, the Speak Up movement is working together with the Balkan Investigatory Reporting Network (BIRN), the local NGO's Initiative for Progress from the Ferizaj municipality, and Eye of the Vision from the Peja municipality. In addition, the organization has received a grant from the Kosovo Foundation for Open Society to work on the debate program. The Speak Up movement and its partners appreciate the support of IDEA in this process.

~Ramadan Ilazi, Prishtina, Republic of Kosovo

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Exchange presenters share social media successes and ideas

At the 4th annual IDEA Exchange, held this weekend in London, young people from more than 20 countries gathered to learn from each other’s successes in the use of social media and new technologies. Young people from Myanmar explained how social media helped them rebuild villages after a cyclone devastated part of their country. Belarusians are creating groundbreaking interactive magazines that give local youth a big voice. Debate experts shared how they hope new online tools will aid discussion.

In May 2008, a cyclone ripped through the Irrawaddy Delta in Myanmar, killing more than 100,000 people. The survivors of the storm were left homeless. An Exchange presenter from Myanmar quit his job after the storm to visit the delta and begin rebuilding.

A "Budget Hut," built by funds raised through a blog.

In a country where the Internet is heavily censored and bloggers can be jailed for reporting news from Myanmar, he bravely began a blog. He used the blog to tell survivors’ stories, chronicle his volunteers’ rebuilding efforts, and to fundraise. His group collected $50,000, with which he and his volunteers built 200 “Budget Huts.”

Presenter Christina Karchevskaya works for, an innovative, interactive magazine with an underground-style distribution model. The magazine is written for and by the youth of Belarus, and designed to encourage young people to think, then make a choice.

Because many Belarusians don’t have fast Internet connections, 34mag is distributed on compact disc. Each issue is free, and promoted by word of mouth. The magazine’s staff of Flash experts, multilingual writers and web developers load each issue with clever and timely animation, articles, podcasts, slideshows, comics and video. Some issues are available at

Neill Harvey-Smith, WUDC Chief Adjudicator and judge for the 2009 World Online Debate Championships, has a great idea to help debate teams all over the world gain expert opinions and advice. Smith wants to create an online tool that would allow any team to submit a debate video for adjudication by an expert. After submitting your video, an expert judge would review your video and type comments and suggestions, attaching them to various points in the debate. Next, your team would be able to go through the video and read feedback.

Help support Harvey-Smith’s idea. Simply reply to this News Flash with "I like Harvey-Smith's idea."

Debatewise’s David Crane raved about Google Wave, which he hopes will allow for live debates. The application is still in beta, but is expected to become the new mode of live online social interaction. Crane has implemented Wave for the Global Youth Panel, which was organized to give debaters an opportunity to have their say on what happens at the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.

Members will debate online about issues as they arise, and other members will vote on the points that have been made. The results will be released to the press as an indication of what young people around the world think of decisions made at the conference.

For more information on other Exchange presentations, visit the Exchange site. Videos will be posted shortly.

The IDEA Exchange, hosted by IDEA-Netherlands in a different country each year, is a form of educational conference focusing on debate, debate and civic education, youth projects and innovative teaching and participation methodologies. IDEA organized its first Exchange in November 2006 in Prague, November 2007 in Kaunas, December 2008 in Amsterdam.

The Exchange takes the Unconference/Barcamp approach, which in essence means there’s no schedule set beforehand. Instead, attendees arrive and write their name and presentation details on a whiteboard indicating the time and the room they’ll be presenting in. The idea is one of letting the conference be formed by everyone who attends rather than by the organizers themselves.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Lord Norton of Louth formally commences IDEA Exchange at opening ceremony

In a momentous occasion in the history of the IDEA Exchange, Lord Norton of Louth graciously hosted the grand opening ceremony of the 2009 Exchange on the evening of December 10th. The ceremony took place at the House of Lords in the Palace of Westminster, where participants of this year's event were cordially invited to gather in the prestigious River Room of the palace.

After the ceremony, Lord Norton expressed in his blog how the event made an impression on his daily activities, saying, "This week, I have been dashing from meeting to meeting. I will be doing one or two posts about some of the meetings, not least the one I hosted this evening for Debatewise and the International Debate Education Association (IDEA), drawing students from about twenty countries, primarily new democracies and some non-democratic countries, to encourage debate and dialogue. Some of the students are bloggers, including in countries where free exchange is not encouraged." To learn more about Lord Norton of Louth, click here.

The IDEA Exchange will begin December 12th, and will focus on the theme, "The Web and Social Change." To catch frequent updates on the event, be sure to tune into the Exchange channel on or visit the Exchange Twub. For more information on this event, visit the Exchange website.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The People Speak Global Debates nears deadline for fall competition

The clock is ticking for The People Speak Global Debates! The last day to submit debates, as well as all other activity points, is Tuesday December 15th. To submit your team's points and activities, click here.

Remember, the top ten schools (five U.S. and five International) win amazing prizes. The grand prize is a trip to the 2010 IDEA Youth Forum in the Netherlands, and the runner-up teams receive UN Foundation grants of $2,000 each. Not participating yet? Find out more about this event and how your team can take part in the Spring 2010 People Speak Global Debates beginning in March.

Experience the 2009 IDEA Exchange with live video of the event

Couldn't make it to this year's IDEA Exchange? No problem. The whole event will be covered via live broadcast. Simply go to the Exchange website or the Exchange channel on to view events at the conference. The broadcast begins with the conference on December 11th! You can also keep up with the events through the Exchange Twub and Facebook.

Hosted by IDEA, Debatewise, and Goldsmiths University, the Exchange will take place December 11th-13th and will focus on the theme, "The Web and Social Change." Participants will have the opportunity to explore a variety of topics related to the use of the Internet and digital technologies in order to engage others in the process of communication, debate and dialogue. To add to this discussion, many participants have submitted presentations, such as "Using Debate and the Internet for Community Organizing," or "Using YouTube for Discussion to Reveal the Civic Position of Youth." For more information on the IDEA Exchange, and to read about other presentations, click here.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Global Youth Panel members begin debating on Copenhagen Conference

Since the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen began on December 7th, 1,000 young debaters from over 130 different countries have come together to form the Global Youth Panel. The panel is utilizing Google's revolutionary new collaboration software, Google Wave, to debate the issues arising from the conference. These panelists are not only speaking to voice their own opinions, but have also pledged to speak for the concerns of their families, friends, and their generation.

Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the IPPC and Nobel Peace Prize winner, expressed his support saying, “I commend the Global Youth Panel for thinking outside the box to provide a platform for the most important stakeholders in climate change; the youth to make their voices heard... I am particularly impressed with the global outreach of the panel and the large number of participants from across 100 nations. This promises to be an effective forum for spreading awareness and serving as a catalyst for energizing our society.”

The panel contains various voices, from those who have survived solely by picking a living out of mountains of rubbish, to those who live in comfortable homes in lofty suburbs. Panelists come from Israel and Palestine, North Korea and South Korea, USA and Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq. Nevertheless, these young debaters have left their differences aside to come together to discuss one of the major challenges facing all of us.

Until the the end of the conference on December 18th, panelists will go to GYP section of Debatewise to respond to motions posed by the issues being discussed at the conference. After the conference, the panel will be divided into their respective countries, and will discuss how the decisions made by our leaders will impact their own lives. The Global Youth Panel is sponsored by Debatewise, IDEA, and the British Council. For more information, click here.

Debate association in the Czech Republic recognized for their efforts

The Debate Club Association in the Czech Republic (Asociace debatních klubů, ADK) was recently nominated for the Gypsy Spirit 2009 Award in the category of extracurricular education activities that focus on Roma youth. Since it began in 2006, young Roma debaters have met on a regular basis to prepare and engage in weekend debate tournaments where they discuss issues from their everyday lives in a specially tailored debate format, “Parliamentary 2x2.” Although the association only encompasses five clubs right now, the debaters hope that the media attention from the Gypsy Spirit Awards will help improve the clubs’ publicity and attract more members.

The Gypsy Spirit project focuses on supporting active efforts of all those who contribute to improving the situation pertaining to Roma in the Czech Republic. The awards ceremony was held on December 1, 2009 at the Prague Crossroads at St. Anna’s Church in Prague. It was held this year under the auspices of former Czech Republic president, Václav Havel, and the Euro-commissioner for employment, social affairs and equal opportunities, Vladimír Špidla. The ceremony was covered live by the Czech Radio 2 station in Prague, and was also recorded by Czech TV, which is available online viewing here.

Pictured: Debaters prepare for a Parliamentary 2x2 event at one of the weekend tournaments organized by the Debate Club Association.

The Debate Club Association in the Czech Republic is sponsored by the Open Society Institute and the Ministry of Education,Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic.

Story submitted by Katechka Hanzelkova, Picture by Vlastimil Waic

Monday, December 07, 2009

IDEA opens position for Southeast Asia Program Coordinator

The following contains updated information regarding the opening for the Southeast Asia program coordinator previously announced in early November.

The International Debate Education Association (IDEA) announces an open call for applicants for the position of Southeast Asia Program Coordinator. The position begins in March 2010. The contract period is for six months with a possibility of renewal.

IDEA develops, organizes, and promotes debate and debate-related activities in communities throughout the world. IDEA's mission is to promote mutual understanding and democracy globally by supporting discussion and active citizenship locally.

The program coordinator for this office will be based in Chiang Mai, Thailand and will be supervised by Robert Trapp in the in the IDEA offices in Salem, Oregon.

Essential Functions
1. Manage a regional debate program.
2. Manage a Youth Action Fund that gives small grants to youth-driven projects.
3. Makes site visits to establish local infrastructures for programs.
4. Coordinates debate workshops.
5. Supervises the development and translation of debate education materials into local languages.
6. Communicates with other IDEA offices and staff.
7. Networks and establishes relationships with local and regional partners.
8. Assists with additional events when needed.

Qualification Standards
1. Must have the legal right to live and work in Thailand.
2. Must speak and write fluently in Thai.
3. Must speak and write fluently in English.
4. Bachelor's degree or equivalent.
5. Debate training experience or a keen interest to learn about debate.
6. Flexibility and willingness to travel on short notice.
7. Excellent communication skills.
8. Self-motivation and efficiency.
9. Willing to be based in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Application Procedures
Interested parties should send a cover letter, resume and contact information for at least three references to Robert Trapp (, Lin Lu (, and Alisa Keetanitinun ( We will begin considering application on January 1, 2010 and will continue until the position is filled.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

IDEA training in Beijing a success; register for the next training by December 5th!

In November, IDEA conducted a moot court training in Beijing for the first time for students at the Chinese University of Political Science and Law. Based on students' feedback, the training was extremely successful. One moot team from the training went on to win the Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Moot Court Competition later in the month. For the training, IDEA invited a debate trainer from Korea and a lawyer from the Human Rights Institute at the International Bar Association in London. The participants had a great time and the trainers are still receiving emails with further interest and many thanks.

IDEA will also be holding another moot court training at the IDEA-BFSU tournament in Beijing December 11-13, 2009. Hurry, registration closes December 5th. The tournament will also feature English and Mandarin divisions in a four-team worlds-style parliamentary debate format. In addition to providing training to judges and debaters before the tournament, qualified adjudicators can become accredited trainers through these sessions. The tournament also offers sightseeing of historic and modern sites of Beijing.

For more information, contact tournament host Xi Li (, or Robert Trapp ( To register, click here. Come join us for the training or the competition!

IDEA's Debate in the Neighborhood project increases dialogue in communities

This fall, IDEA-Netherlands has organized several debate-centered events in the cities of Zeeland, Rotterdam, and Amsterdam. All part of the Debate in the Neighborhood (DIN) project, these activities seek to promote debate and discussion among youth and their communities.

Doutsen Langhout, the head of Dutch projects in the Netherlands, recently organized a series of meetings with the local youth and police force of Crooswijk, a mixed neighborhood in Rotterdam where relations between the two groups are tense. On November 9th, IDEA organized a second meeting, where six policemen and more than twenty youth were present, as well as some city guards and civil servants. The evening began with both sides expressing their problems and offering solutions. The youth felt discriminated and provoked by police. The police thought the youth caused annoyance in the neighborhood and felt provoked and insulted by the youth. In the end, both parties expressed hope of improving their relationship, and agreed that the dialogue was a very valuable experience. Each side better understood the other perspective, and realized possibilities of avoiding future conflicts.

On Monday, December 7th, debaters in Zeeland will take part in a discussion about parenting issues. Scoop, IDEA's partner in the DIN project as well as the 2010 Youth Forum, helped organize this event to give new debaters their first chance to test their skills in a formal debate setting. The debate will be opened by Professor René Diekstra from the Roosevelt Academy, and Ron Lubbersen will then moderate the discussion between the public and debaters.

Learn more about Debate in the Neighborhood, and visit the websites of IDEA-NL or IDEA-Zeeland for more information.

Pictured: DIN in action! The Youth Council in Tholen, Zeeland sharpen their debate skills at a training session on October 31st.

The My Debate Festival in Rotterdam gives voice to local youth

On Saturday November 28th, ten young debaters from Rotterdam, Netherlands will participate in the My Debate Festival in Rotterdam. Trained by Doutsen Langhout of IDEA-Netherlands, they will debate with other youth, police, adults and representatives from schools and local government. The debate themes will focus on topics like security and role of police, free time of youth, bureaucracy and sexuality in today's youth. This event will attract further hype and attention with performances of local youth and famous artists Winne and the Groove Kings. The festival was organized within the activities of the project Your World-Rotterdam Youth Capital 2009.

Submit your pictures to the Youth Forum Photo contest

As a month long contest throughout December, IDEA will be collecting pictures from past IDEA Youth Forums. The winning photos will be announced in the first YF e-newsletter in 2010. They will also be displayed on our websites, in the next Idebate Magazine and will also be used in the promotional materials of IDEA and the Youth Forum. The photos will also be presented in the venues of the upcoming 2010 Youth Forum in Zeeland, Netherlands!

Here are the award categories:
1. Oldest picture- comes from the oldest Youth Forum 2. Greatest number of the Youth Forum pictures- from the highest number of different IDEA Youth Forums
3. Most original picture- most original in thought, composition
4. Most diverse picture- portrays the diversity as the core characteristic of the event
5. Most funny picture- silly and fun in nature

All photos must come from the IDEA Youth Forum (please check the events' history here). Use of Photoshop and other design altering software is not allowed. Also, please make sure you have the right to use and publicize the picture before submitting it.

So send us your photos by December 31st! Submit your photos in the format of jpeg, gif, or tiff, and email them to Veronika, the Youth Forum Director. The committee that will be considering these pictures is made up of Crystal Jeffers (Communication Director of IDEA) and Veronika Vlckova (Forum Director).