“I am really looking forward to it” – Selene Gnadenteich in her interview about convening the EUDC 2017 in Tallinn

Datum: Jul 13th, 2017
Category: international, Menschen, Mittwochs-Feature, Turniere

With the EUDC 2017 in Tallinn coming closer, people might want to prepare their trip – but what to prepare for? We’ve asked convenor Selene Gnadenteich about the tournament, including the questions we got from the community.

Convenor Selene Gnadenteich in her free time - © private

Convenor Selene Gnadenteich in her free time – © private

Achte Minute: Hey Selene! Could you introduce yourself for our readers – who are you, what’s your connection to university debating?

Selene Gnadenteich: My name is Selene, I am studying at the Tallinn University of Technology. My specialty is product development and production engineering. I’ve been debating since I started my studies, back in 2011. I’m debating at the TTU Debating club, but I’m also part of the Estonian debating society. If I’m not studying or working I’m bouldering or going to some mountains to climb outside.


AM: How did you end up being where you are now, convening the EUDC?

Selene: Estonia has done one EUDC before, in 2008, and we wanted to make it bigger. In 2014 me and my friend were talking that we could host a WUDC in Estonia. In the end it didn’t happen for practical reasons, most important of them that Tallinn is a very expensive place to accommodate people over New Year’s eve. So for that reason we quitted planning a WUDC and moved towards an EUDC. We were 8 people in the beginning and in 2015 we won the bid – and now we are here, 38 people organizing EUDC in Tallinn.


AM: What is it like to be an EUDC convenor and why you out of those 8?

Selene: Why me? I’m not sure. I was asked to be and I said yes. What it’s like? It’s quite hard work. There are so many small details we need to think through, but at the same time it’s also not me doing this event, it’s teamwork. I’m just the leader of those people and together we can do so much. It’s also a great experience and we picked together a great team to make this work.


The Tallinn EUDC team - © Tallinn EUDC

The Tallinn EUDC team – © Tallinn EUDC

AM: What’s the best part, what’s the worst part?

Selene: Oh! Let me think… Let’s start with the worst part: Since everyone is in this voluntarily, it’s sometimes hard to motivate everyone. 7 out of the 8 original people are still in the project and they’ve been doing a lot of work for 3 years now, which basically means not being able to do much else. The best part are the partners – Estonia has a great community and lots of people ask whether and how they can help us. This community feeling is quite great!


AM: Is there some part of the organization that you especially worry about? For example, at the Dutch WUDC the opening ceremony left some people without food for hours after others had already finished? Will there be water for 10€/bottle?

Selene: I don’t think there is one special thing. We have a good crisis management team and we have gone through quite many things that can happen. We have had 4 training sessions for things that could go wrong – of course, there can happen unforeseen things, like the Dutch probably didn’t expect that to happen there, but we are trying to be prepared as good as possible. Maybe just one thing: Last year in Warsaw, especially during the last night, some people got too drunk, so drink responsible!


AM: Ok, as announced, we’d like to give the community the opportunity to ask questions they sent in. Are you ready?

Selene: Sure!


Lauluväljak is a famous Estonian sound festival location and will be part of the social location. - © Tallinn EUDC

Lauluväljak is a famous Estonian sound festival location and will be part of the social location. – © Lauluväljak

AM: Can you please give details of the socials?

Selene: Let’s start with Monday, the arrival day. That social will take place at the hotel. There will be a DJ and some social games – the focus will be on relaxing and having a good time with your friends or people you don’t know yet. I’ll now jump from Monday to Thursday. On Thursday we’ll gather at Lauluväljak, a famous Estonian song festival ground. We’ll do a 20s style party with different dancing performances and, of course, music! On Friday we’ll have a party at the center of Tallinn. It will be a theme party and everyone should wear tank tops. There will be two different rooms, so two parties going on at once. Saturday will be held in the Nordea concert hall – there will also be the finals and the award ceremony. There will be guys jumping on a slackline, there will be a dance camp, also an opportunity to buy very cool Estonian stuff from some small companies coming by, we will have a lot of interesting stuff – but I don’t want to tell everything, because it will be even more amazing that way. Oh, and we have a really cool host, Louis Zezeran, he’s part of Comedy Estonia.


The Tallinn EUDC app will give you all the information you need, including a newsfeed - © Tallinn EUDC

The Tallinn EUDC app will give you all the information you need, including a newsfeed – © Tallinn EUDC

AM: With Estonia sometimes known as the “Silicon Valley of Europe”, will this be the most technologically advanced EUDC so far?

Selene: In terms of tab technology it will be the same as used in Warsaw 2016. But we do have our own mobile app, it will give you all the info you need – a calendar, all the contact information, we can send you push messages. Of course, not all people have smartphones, so we also have the classical stuff, but if you have one, you can already get it. It’s called “EUDC2017” and you can find it in the android store. The one for iPhones isn’t uploaded yet, that’s why we didn’t announce it so far, but with android you can already check it out.

Also, some general things: Estonia has very good WiFi, there is free WiFi at the university and WiFi almost everywhere – I’m signing most of the contracts in the middle of a forest. And the new roaming law is quite cool, since you only pay domestic roaming fees.


AM: Will there be partial quarters?

Selene: Yes, there will be open partial quarters.


AM: How many teams are coming?

Selene: It’s around 220 teams.


AM: How many teams have an IONA background?

Selene: I don’t know how many teams, but it’s 131 IONA citizens. There are 38 Irish and 93 Non-Irish in that number.


AM: Could you publish a list of the Independent Adjudicators?

Selene: That’s not my decision, this is up to the CA team.


AM: Will there be a livestream of all the rounds, especially in the Top rooms?

Selene: This is also something I don’t have a clear answer to, we haven’t decided yet which rooms we are going to livestream. But yes, there will be livestreams.


The Tallinn University of Technology library - © Tallinn EUDC

The Tallinn University of Technology library – © TTU

AM: Someone writes: “Many WUDC had some forms of funds for underprivileged societies.” To be honest, we didn’t check this statement. Regardless, the follow-up question sent in is: Do you think EUDC organizers should consider similar measures to ensure higher participation from nascent societies?

Selene: As a person, I’d say yes, that would make it easier for all those societies to participate, especially since not everyone can afford it. However, for me as an organizer it would be very difficult to come up with reasons why we’re doing it to our funders, since this is not directly related to organizing an EUDC and most our funders have very strict regulations what to spend money on. So in theory it’s a nice idea, but practically very hard to do, at least based on our experiences.


AM: Now, coming back from the community questions, one last question from us: What do you think will be the best part of this year’s EUDC?

Selene: The final nights. And I mean the whole day – everything that will happen in Nordea will be brilliant and I am really looking forward to it.

AM: Thank you very much!

The interview was conducted by Lennart Lokstein.



Mittwochs-Feature: Every Wednesday at 10.00 a.m. the Mittwochs-Feature features an idea, interview or book regarding debate – usually in German, sometimes in English, sometimes both. If you would like to start a debate please mail us your idea to team@ achteminute.de .

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