“Never miss the Budapest Open again”, advises Teresa Widlok

Datum: Mar 14th, 2013
Category: international, Turniere

Teresa Widlok participated for the second time in the Budapest Open and would like to see more German Teams there the next time. Read her report, that will hopefully create a desire to go there.

Whoever said that sequels are always worse than the original was obviously wrong! The second edition of the BP Open, held in Budapest from 1st to 4th March 2013, was an outstandingly well organized tournament which in many ways even superseded its predecessor.

BP Open 2

You can spot a very comfortable feature about the BP Open right when you look at the timetable: the tournament starts at a Friday with only some leisurely opening ceremony and show debate in the evening, which basically allows everyone to arrive anytime they like throughout the day.  But the BP Open even makes the departures most comfortable for all participants by including one more night (Sunday) in the package.

So much about the familiar features every participant knew from last year’s edition. But this year was somewhat different mainly in two regards: the more international participation and adjudication pool and the additional support for hosting the event by another debating society.

To the participation and adjudication pool: Starting with the Chief Adjudicators, everything was a bit more international this year. In addition to Leela Koenig and Filip Dobranic the CA team was completed by Alfred “Tuna” Snider (Vermont) and Steve Llano (New York). While last year most participants came from the Eastern European region, this year institutions from more than 30 countries participated, amongst them the USA, China, Qatar and the UK. Drawing so many teams from abroad was of course partly because of the CAs’ influence, but in my view it is still quite remarkable for a tournament in Eastern Europe which is only running its second edition! Especially because of the half-American CA team, motions were also very international this time. The quality of this year’s participation field lead to the fact that the break to semifinals was set at 9 points out of 4 rounds, with one team on 9 points not breaking!

BP Open 1

To the hosting societies: This year, two debating societies were the hosts for the tournament, the CEU Debating Society (Central European University) and the Vitaclub (Corvinus University).  The final took place in the grand hall of Corvinus University, overseen by a Karl Marx statue dominating the room from the background. The key note speech before the final was given by the very charismatic Markos Kounalakis (print and network broadcast journalist and author, President and Publisher Emeritus of the Washington Monthly, husband to the ambassador of the USA to Hungary). With his experience in reporting for US based news stations from all over the world he put debating in the Eastern European countries and especially in Budapest/Hungary back into perspective and showed everyone that debate and free speech can actually really make a difference, even nowadays! The final afterwards was won by team Vermont SW (Sarina Selleck and Becca White) out of the Opening Proposition. This win turned out to be only the first cornerstone in their Austro-Hungarian Double.

Before finishing the recap of yet another successful tournament in Budapest one last paragraph about the socials is in order. After the show debate and opening ceremony on Friday, the Budapest people had organized a first highlight of the tournament for all participants: a tour with the Legenda sight-seeing boat on the Danube. Everyone who had their loved ones with them was well advised to grab a hidden seat and hold them tight, because what was to follow was a fantastic view on Budapest by night, with all the shining beauty of historical buildings and new architecture.

Sadly enough though, only 4 German speaking societies (Tilbury House, Munich, Vienna and BiTS Münster) found their way to the BP Open this year. This article should also be taken as my heart-felt advice for all of you who enjoy international debating to put Budapest on your debate calendar for next year! If nothing else, you’ll have seen a stunningly beautiful city and you’ll have witnessed an enthusiastically growing and very welcoming debating community in Budapest, Hungary.

Motion overview:

Show debate: TH regrets the turn away from socialism.

Round 1: THW create separate state schools for those who are LGBTQI

Round 2: THB that former colonial powers should never militarily intervene in their former colonies

Round 3: THB that, in order to continue to eat meat, individuals should be required to slaughter a major meat animal

Round 4: THW abolish all term limitations for elected officials in high offices

Semifinals: THBT isolated religious groups should have 18 year old members take a “Rumspringa”

Final: THBT the EU should censor racist websites


Text: Teresa Widlok/ ak

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