Young people are debating the Future of the Ukraine nearby the frontline

Julia Bezborodko is the winner of the tournament

Young people are debating the future of the Ukraine, nearby the frontline

Report by Ton Sonneveldt

New Vision, a member of IDEA, held from Friday 23 till Sunday 25 February for the 10th time the Dnipro Open Debate Tournament in the city of Dnipro.

Friday was reserved for a visit to the Remembrance center of the Jewish population in the Ukraine and for trainings and workshops, where teams, trainers and judges learned new tools and exchanged experience and knowledge. Saturday and Sunday were crowed days where the many teams debated.

The Dnipro Open Debate Tournament is for secondary school students, who debate in Ukrainian or in English. In total there were 18 teams using the Karl Popper format and 17 teams using the World School Debate format in the Ukrainian track and 10 teams using the World School Debate format in the English track. With all the coaches, trainers, judges and organizing staff some 300 people took part in the well-organized tournament.

Participants came from all parts of the Ukraine - from 19 different cities, towns and villages - so the Dnipro Open is now really a national tournament. In earlier years also teams from Belarus and Russia took part in the Dnipro Open, but since the hostilities in the Eastern Ukraine started that is no longer the case.

That hybrid war that is fought not so far from the city of Dnipro and that still takes casualties, was also a main theme in the debated subjects. It was impressive to see that so many young secondary school students understand the rhetoric and the dilemmas of this war and are able to debate them.

As a representative of IDEA I was able to address the participants and talk with many people over the weekend. They try to live a normal life, but the pressure of the ongoing war and of the dangers of a new offensive from the Russian site are never far away. That makes the work of New Vision even more important as debate – listening to one another and weighing different arguments – is not the first way of argumentation in a war-torn country. For the small organization that New Vision is, it is impressive what they do. With a minimum of funds...

New Vision uses an original IDEA medal as a challenge trophy for the best speaker of the tournament, which the winner keeps for one year. The winner of last year was Valeriya Malashenko, from the specialized English school N 9, now a student majoring in Interpreting at the National Mining University. This year the medal went to Julia Bezborodko from school N 136.

Looking back it was a successful tournament, excellently organized, with a large group of young debaters, debating important issues and having the time of their life.