“Keep a good proportion of tradition“ – Hannes Budelmann about DDG beacons and debating

Datum: Oct 3rd, 2010
Category: DDG, Menschen

Since late September, Hannes Budelmann does not hold any honorary office – for the first time in years. For the past three years, he had been member of the executive board of Deutsche Debattiergesellschaft (DDG), the German alumni association for debaters. Hannes talked to Achte Minute about his work for debating, his personal future, and perspectives of the alumni association.

Achte Minute: Hannes, you had been on the DDG executive board for the past three years, 2009/2010 as their president – what did you like most?

Hannes Budelmann: Let me think about that… Actually, it was organizing that was the most fun: having a goal in mind and realizing it I found very satisfying. I discovered that there is more than just professional aspects. Planning, realizing plans and staging a tournament or working on the executive board of DDG really was fun to me. The three DDG beacons – the Masters’ Cup, the vacation weekend and boosting the up-and-coming debaters of VDCH – plus this year’s remodeling of DDG’s homepage and the yearbook need steady optimizing while not neglecting tradition.

Achte Minute: After so many years of devoted work – how easy is it for you to let go?

Hannes: As one gets older, the distance between you and student debaters gets wider. So, before commitment and enthusiasm diminish I wanted to pass the torch to others who are closer than I am to the German speaking debating circuit. And I am very confident that the new executive board under the aegis of Gudrun Lux will do very good work.

Achte Minute: Do you already have plans for new commitments?

Hannes: Actually, I left that open for the time being. I want to be open for what live brings around the corner to invest my commitment. But as I said: That is completely open.

Achte Minute: What would you like to recommend to the new executive board?

Hannes: We transferred everything officially after the general assembly. It was then, that we already agreed, that a good proportion of tradition should be kept. That comprises the afore mentioned beacons. However, there should be room for new ideas, too. Above all, it is essential to not lose team spirit.

Achte Minute: You have in touch with student and alumni debating for years and years – where do you see DDG in ten years from now?

Hannes: First of all, the average age will be higher than it is now. To my mind, the Masters’ Cup and the vacation weekend shall be maintained. That will keep people connected. I believe that delivering speeches at a tournament will be less and less important to the older alumni, they will appreciate getting together more and more. Maybe, besides the tournament there should be a kind of wider social program for guests who want to follow single debates and then get together for common activities such as the dinner party or the grand final at Wartburg castle.

Achte Minute: What does DDG mean to you, in just three words…

Hannes: Promoting student debating, providing for an alumni network and to remain true to debating.

Achte Minute: While working on the executive board as committedly as you did lots of work must have been done – your commitment in numbers…

Hannes: Oh, I have a few figures for you: At the beginning, when I took office, I was handed over a file with 1635 data sets distributed over 104 files. Now these have become four files containing 4845 data sets distributed over 343 files, finance files not even taken into consideration. In addition, I received 4260 DDG-related mails and sent 3202 mails.

Achte Minute: After all that work, we hope you are not lost for the debating circuit – when will we see you again?

Hannes: Let me think… Well, I’ll be there for the vacation weekend, that is for sure. On top of that, you will meet me at more regional events such as the Berlin Debating Union’s invitational competition. I really want to listen to some of the debates there since you may always hear good speeches delivered there.

Achte Minute: Already, we are curious where we may encounter your future commitment. Good luck for that and thank you for the interview!

Hannes Budelmann has been a member of the executive board of the alumni association DDG for the past three years, from 2007/2007 as vice president, in the past season 2009/2010 as president. The 2010 German debating championship in Münster saw the holder of a law doctorate as a qualified judge. Hannes, a ministry official now living in Berlin, was born in Bremerhaven where he together with his father guided a dozen of DDG members through the alumni association’s traditional vacation weekend. Already in 2001, he had been a member of the executive board of Berlin Debating Union and was co-organizer of the European Universities Debating Championships that were staged in the German capital in 2006.

Deutsche Debattiergesellschaft (DDG) – the German association of alumni debaters – provides a network for alumni debaters as well as it promotes student debating in German speaking regions. Moreover, DDG is co-editor of our debating magazine Achte Minute. DDG’s general assembly of 2010 elected a new executive board: Gudrun Lux is now president of the alumni association supported by Isabelle Loewe, Stefan Hübner and Oliver Hörtensteiner.

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