Friday, April 09, 2010

Member Reports: Tournament and workshop gains momentum for debate in Belarus

On March 26-28, an Open Debate tournament took place in Minsk, Belarus, which was one of the biggest international debating events to ever take place in the country. The debates included two divisions, in which ten teams participated in the Russian division and twelve teams in the English division. Teams came from Lithuania, Germany, and one from the coldest part of the world, the Republic of Sakha. Adjudicators of the debates included both experienced debaters and debate-lovers, as well as debate students from various Minsk universities, including students from the London School of Economics and university students from Slovakia.

The final round ended with heated debates between the first-place team from Minsk, with members Kirill Burko, Vlad Sterzhanov, and Anastasiya Kuznetsova, and the second-place team also from Minsk, with members Nikita Batsenko (author), Ekaterina Oleinik, and Stanislav Kobachevskiy. A team from Heidehoff Gymnasium in Germany took third-place in the tournament, and one of their members, Elisa Walter, was unanimously awarded the best speaker. After the tournament, a new format of debate was introduced through a sample debate round.

Aside from the tournament, a debate seminar was held by the Slovak delegation that gave many Belarusian students and teachers a unique opportunity to participate in workshops and learn from experienced trainers. Beginners and advanced debaters, as well as coaches, were able to improve their debating skills. Everyone enjoyed the friendly atmosphere of the seminar while learning more about debate and how to start their own debate clubs.

Through this tournament, along with other debate events in Belarus this spring, many young people have found a new hobby and made new friends. Thus, another big step has been taken in promoting global understanding through debate.

Nikita Batsenko
Gymnasium #7, Minsk, Belarus

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