Serbian Summer Debate Camp 2010: A brief review

Datum: Aug 16th, 2010
Category: Themen, Turniere

A debater’s lifestyle is usually manifested through traveling long distances to see old and meet new friends, arguing on sometimes high and sometimes low levels, lots of references to sex, alcohol and drugs and plenty of debating.

Between August 8 and 14 about sixty debaters from Austria (Melanie Sindelar, Annabell Knoll, Rosie Halmi, Stefan Zweiker and Leonhard Weese from Debattierklub Wien), Germany (Fabian Farkas from Tilbury House Cologne), Greece, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and the United States all enjoyed the above mentioned genuine debater’s lifestyle in the remote alpine area of southern Serbia. Just a few kilometers north of Kosovo, we were accommodated in a nice hotel that not only provided us with usually good and homegrown food (although the shallows of the Serbian cuisine can be quite shocking to the spoiled tongue), but also with great prices on the camp (€ 130) and alcohol.

Adjudication and training were two of the beacons of this camp. Flown in from the United States was Alfred Snider, debate guru and professor at the University of Vermont, Manos Moschopoulos, best ESL speaker at WUDC 2010, Maja Cimerman and Filip Dobranic, both ESL champions at EUDC 2010, and many more award winning debaters. For three days they provided extensive feedback on the plenty debates. Six training rounds and a tournament of six preliminary rounds plus break to semis allowed every debater to not only hear a lot about their mistakes, but also apply the advice consecutively and get feedback on it again. Only the fact that many motions were taken from the recent Worlds and Euros was a little frustrating for those that attended these tournaments. But the trainers provided us with daily exercises that always aimed at one particular issue, case building or giving points of information for example. Sorted into small groups of four people, individual feedback was not scarce. No rounds were closed, so despite having a little less excitement over who would break, the feedback was appreciated. In addition, lectures were given on issues like extensions or positive opposition cases or on more issue related subjects such as international relations, economics or media. It proved to be particularly beneficial to closely listen to those issues simply because debaters are able to lecture on these subjects more efficiently in a way that one is actually able to apply these ideas and concepts to the debates and other sources of information.

The Vienna Team “Franz Ferdinand” (Leonhard Weese and Stefan Zweiker) broke to semis, the Greek-German team “Bailout Basterds” (Petros Papalianos and Fabian Farkas) even made it to the final. Tijana Mijalkovic and Goran Jankuloski won the tournament, congratulations also to Goran for being awarded best speaker!

These camps and workshops are unique in their frequency to the former Yugoslavian countries. These events plus plenty of tournaments held in the region are the reason why teams from the Balkans show such great success in debating competitions. The amount one learns at these workshops and especially the extensive feedback is unbelievable. This is definitely something that is lacking in Germany or Austria.

There is also practical stuff you learn which is not so much debating related. Did you know six people can comfortably fit into a Yugo, a small car of Yugoslavian origin? Or that beer that comes in two-liter  plastic bottles can taste so good?

Leonhard Weese, DKW / apf

The motions:

  • Show Debate: This House would hide the existence of extraterrestrial life.
  • Practice Debate: This House would legalize all drugs.
  • Practice Debate: This House believes that every politician should only have one term.
  • Practice Debate: This House would legalize assisted suicide.
  • Practice Debate: This House would ban private ownership of sport clubs.
  • Show Debate: This House believes that history should be written by the losers.
  • Practice Debate: This House believes that assimilation of minorities is a legitimate state goal.
  • Practice Debate: This House would not give humanitarian aid to non democratic countries.
  • Round 1: This House would ban all pornography.
  • Round 2: This House believes that Serbia should immediately recognize Kosovo.
  • Round 3: This House would out gay public figures.
  • Round 4: This House would withdraw any additional taxes on alcohol and tobacco.
  • Round 5: This House would make economic criteria the only one for joining the EU.
  • Round 6: This House would tax religious organizations like businesses.
  • Semis: This House would give people below the poverty line two votes.
  • Final: This House would ban all advertising that uses sex to sell products.
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1 Kommentare zu “Serbian Summer Debate Camp 2010: A brief review”

  1. Mathias pdm says:

    Danke an Leonhard für den fixen Bericht, ich wär gern dabei gewesen. Ist in der Tat interessant, warum die Balkan-Länder so fit im debattieren sind. Die Serben mit ihren Belgrad Open, die Slowenen mit ihrer Herbstakademie. Echt beeindruckend.

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