Thursday, December 03, 2009

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.

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