The Slovak Debate Association (SDA) organised two regional tournaments in October as part of the idebateEU project. A total of 71 three-member teams participated in the events held in Bratislava (Western Slovakia) on October 18-19 and Michalovce (Eastern Slovakia) on October 25-26. Both tournaments had four rounds of preliminary debates - two on a prepared motion that the EU should have granted asylum to Edward Snowden and two on impromptu motions. One pair of impromptu motions dealt with voting rights with Westerners debating about introducing a citizenship test requirement and Easterners about the ability to sell one's vote. The second pair of motions dealt with freedom of speech online with a motion to ban websites promoting eating disorders in the West and a motion to ban suicide sites in the East .
The tournaments provided an exciting start of the 2013/2014 debate season: a high turnout of teams and judges, with lots of new debaters and debate clubs represented. The organisers in charge of both events concurred that while there were some expected and unexpected glitches, the tournaments ran pretty smoothly.
Events like these attract young people to debating and motivate them to stay involved. As such, while outsiders may belittle them as mere competitions, debate organizations stick to them, recognizing them as building blocks of our educational ventures. They help us promote not only to help young people develop their skills, but also to foster values of open societies, which are also core values of the European Union. "These competitions help us explain, systematize and spread our work. We are therefore proud to present them as part of the IDEA structural project." concludes Andrej Schulcz, director of the Slovak Debate Association.
The tournaments were organised as part of the project idebateEU. This is a cooperation project of IDEA Amsterdam, IDEA London and ten IDEA members from all across Europe. The project aims to improve cooperation between IDEA and its members and between members, sharing debate methodologies and organisational knowledge in the framework of common activities on European topics. The project is made possible with support of the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Commission.