They are about 350 kilometers apart and share litte direct connections, but the cities of Aachen and Groningen were home to two simultaneous debating tournaments on the weekend of May 10 to 12. While Groningen was hosting its fourth consecutive tournament and just celebrated its fifth anniversary, the Zeit Debatte in Aachen was the first of its kind by a young student debating society. Both tournaments were very well-run and produced many happy comments by participants though. In addition, both were part of the IDEA Debate changing Europe project in which students debate about European topics.
The Zeit Debatte Aachen was the first ever German language tournament that tried to specifically attract non-native German speakers. With its location close to the Dutch, Belgian and French borders, it is ideally suited for such a pursuit. It was certainly the most international tournament ever held in German, and will hopefully be followed by more such initiatives. The tournament had 48 teams in total, of which 8 broke to the semi finals, which was very diverse with teams from Tübingen, Heidelberg, Mainz, Bremen, Potsdamm, Magdeburg and Berlin (twice). The team from Mainz, Andrea Gau and Daniil Pakhomenko, beat Heidelberg, Berlin and Tübingen in the final. Hauke Blume from Berlin was crowned the best speaker. The full results and motions can be found here. A fuller report can be found on the website of the Verband der Debattierclubs an Hochschulen (German League of University Debate Clubs). Check out the video of the final and the pictures as well.
The Kallope Debattoernooi Groningen was the follow up for the Dutch national championships held in Groningen last year. Groningen is the only Dutch-language tournament in the Netherlands that lasts more than one day, as it is too far away from most other student cities to travel back and forth in one day. This also makes it one of the most fun and interactive tournaments of the year, and this year proved no exception. A total of 28 teams competed, with the semi-finals consisting of four teams from Bonaparte Amsterdam, one mixed team from Utrecht and Leiden carrying the same name, one team from UDS Utrecht, one mixed team from Leiden and Middelburg and one team from Leiden. The Utrecht-Leiden team of Alex Klein and Rogier Baart won the final against two Amsterdam teams and the mixed Leiden-Middelburg team. Menno Schellekens (Leiden) was best speaker. The team tab and speaker tab can be found online. A fuller report can be found on the website of the Nederlandse Debatbond (Dutch Debate Association).
Both tournaments were part of the series Debate changing Europe. Part of the motions were dedicated to themes of European-wide importance, such as the UK's position in the EU, the Euro, the functioning of our political system and gender equality. The winners of the tournament have been offered a chance to participate in a common European event in June at which they will learn how European policy is made and how they can influence it.
The motions for Aachen were:
Round 1: This House Would make organ donations after death mandatory
Round 2: This House Would not export any weapons out of the EU
Round 3: This House Would replace the three-tiered education system with one common high school (with infoslide)
Round 4: This House Would check all Doctorate theses of living persons for plagiarism
Round 5: This House Would welcome a UK exit out of the EU
Semi: This House Would ban alternative medicine
Final: This House Would not have introduced a common European currency
The motions for Groningen were:
Round 1: This House Would make membership of a political party mandatory
Round 2: This House celebrates the existence of religion
Round 3: This House Would pay male teachers in primary school more than female teachers
Round 4: This House regrets the founding of the state of Israel
Round 5: This House Would ban media from publishing graphic depictions of terrorist attacks
Semi: This House Would ban private companies from choosing political positions and promoting them
Final: This House Would make fathers responsible for children, in financial and other terms, only if they have given explicit permission for their birth
Debate changing Europe
The debate series Debate changing Europe aims to let students debate about themes of European-wide importance. It is a cooperation project between IDEA NL and university debating organisations in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and Sweden. The winners of the local tournaments have been offered a chance to participate in a common European event from June 2-6 at which they will learn how European policy is made and how they can influence it. Debate changing Europe is made possible with funding from Youth in Action.