“Debating is not a hobby, it’s a lifestyle” – Tim Richter on challenges, solutions and the future

Datum: Aug 23rd, 2010
Category: Menschen, VDCH

Tim Richter, former president of VDCH (Association of Debating Societies at Universities), had been member of the executive board of the umbrella organization for three years. Of all meetings, it was this year’s general assembly that Tim could not attend – he had to undergo an ad hoc surgery. But of course, Tim kept himself informed while in his sickbed. Monday morning, Achte Minute interviewed him in his hometown Bonn where the ex-president talked about the development of the association, his farewell from VDCH and his debating future.

Achte Minute: Dear Tim, are you leaving your position on the executive board with mixed feelings?

Tim: Yes, of course! Actually, I have nostalgic feelings about leaving since working for VDCH has been great fun for me. I always liked to invest time and energy. On the other hand, I am really happy to have others take the wheel. I am sure, the now president will be a good conductor for VDCH.

Achte Minute: Which will be even more comfortable for him since you have paved an easy road for VDCH. Thanks to you, the association is now on solid ground: DIE ZEIT, Telekom and ZDF are strong partners…

Tim: …which is why I feel fine to hand over the wheel. The past years challenged VDCH: In season 2007/2008, we faced bankruptcy. The following year, our sponsor DIE ZEIT awaited us with the cancellation of contracts while a menacing economic climate was breathing down everybody’s neck. On top of that, the development at German universities which included the introduction of bachelor studies gave us a lot of homework to do. But since every crisis is an opportunity, we took the chance – after wheeling and dealing – to not only get a new contract at first for one year with DIE ZEIT, but we put VDCH back in safe waters at least for the next three years. Additionally, we found new supporters with our partners Deutsche Telekom and the public broadcaster ZDF. By leaving a now sound association behind, I am destined to delve into other things in my life that suffered of lack of attention in the past years.

Achte Minute: Are you really saying you are lost for debating? Or is there a little hope we may count on you?

Tim: As is generally known, debating is not a hobby, it’s a lifestyle! Therefore, I of course have plans: If my physicians allow me, I will be part of Masters’ Cup at Eisenach in late September. I had been chief adjudicator at this alumni competition for the second time as this job traditionally lies in the hands of VDCH’s president. This time is going to be my first time as a speaker at Masters’ Cup. On top of that, I am looking forward to be judging at various tournaments of the ZEIT DEBATTEN series.

Achte Minute: Working on the VDCH executive board means a really big workload. Seriously, how much of your time do you think you invested into the association? And, since many do not know, what exactly was it you worked for?

Tim: That is a difficult answer. Peak periods demanded a lot more commitment than usual, similar to a full time job. The executive board had to elaborate concepts, present them to prospective partners and negotiate them. Negotiating is not sitting together, talking and, voila, that is it. Rather, it is setting the course, preparing criteria, convincing decision makers and lots of lots of telephone calls.  On top of that, a lot of board- and association-internal coordination is necessary. After all, being VDCH president again needs a lot of talking on the telephone: staying in contact with the executive boards of the various societies, answering all kinds of questions and reconciling arguing parties. In the end, even in times more quiet, I worked 15 to 20 hours a week for VDCH and Achte Minute.

Achte Minute: Wow, that is a huge amount of time! But we may assure you: It was worth it! Is there a specific project that is dear to you and that you would like to recommend warmly to your successor?

Tim: Yes, let me call this “generations cooperate“. As mentioned above, the past three years were full of turmoil. Trying to cope with that created quite a lot of expertise that emerged from various debaters’ generations. In the end, we managed those challenges. Making this expertise permanent is a big task. The plan is to be working along the lines of DDG (German Alumni Association for Debaters), but on a more local level. On this local level of the debating societies, I would want to absorb the impact on a club when a whole generation of debaters resign from being active members and thus preserve the expertise instead of having it lost.

Achte Minute: We wish you all the best and hope to see you safe and sound on the speaker’s floor or on the judge’s panel! Thank you very much for talking to us!

Tim Richter had been member of VDCH’s executive board for three years. At first, as vice president, then, from 2008 until 2010, he served the Association of Debating Societies at Universities as president. The now 29 years old regularly participates in finals, be it as adjudicator or as speaker. Among others, he is Western German Champion 2008 and won the open of Streitkultur Tübingen in 2009 and 2010, which is the oldest and most renowned club open in the German speaking debating scene. As chief adjudicator he judged various tournaments such as Masters‘ Cups 2008 and 2010, the Western German Championship 2009 and 2010 and various ZEIT DEBATTEN and other debating competitions. 2006 to 2008, Tim was part of the executive board of the debating society Bonn, 2007 and 2008 he was their president. Tim studies philosophy, history and law at Bonn where he also works as a freelance journalist and media consultant. As one of the two in charge at the editorial board, he promoted and established the debating magazine Achte Minute.

glx / apf

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4 Kommentare zu ““Debating is not a hobby, it’s a lifestyle” – Tim Richter on challenges, solutions and the future”

  1. Anja says:

    gute besserung, tim! und danke für deine arbeit der letzten drei jahre!

  2. Mario (Pdm) says:

    Stellt Euch vor, man fährt mit Schuhen irgendwo hin und kommt barfuß wieder…
    In etwa so habe ich die MV in Kassel erlebt. Eigentlich kann ich es noch gar nicht richtig fassen, dass die Ära Tim (im VDCH) nun zu Ende gegangen ist.
    Vielen Dank für die maßgebliche Fortentwicklung des Verbandes und der mehrfachen erfolgreichen Rettung desselben!

  3. W_C_C_W says:

    Danke, Tim!

  4. Herzlichen Dank Tim!

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