New applicant to the European circuit – the UAE team interviewed

Datum: Aug 17th, 2017
Category: International, Menschen, Turniere

This year, a new country applied to join the European circuit at Tallinn EUDC 2017: The United Arab Emirates. Jan-Gunther Gosselke interviewed Nicolaj Thor from their team for the Achte Minute.

Nicolaj Thor and David Kim from NYU Abu Dhabi - © Jan-Gunther Gosselke

Nicolaj Thor and David Kim from NYU Abu Dhabi – © Jan-Gunther Gosselke

Achte Minute (AM): Tell us a bit about yourself!

Nicolaj Thor (NT): David (Nicolaj’s team mate) and I started debating last year at NYU Abu Dhabi in the UAE. The university is just a couple of years old, but has quite an active debate association. It is also a diverse place: Right now, only a bit more than 1,000 students attend it, representing more than 80 nationalities.

AM: How does debating look like in your circuit?

NT: Debating is not yet strongly developed in the region, there aren’t that many tournaments. In the society, we have two meetings per week. We also host a local university tournament as well as a high school competition every year.

AM: How did international debating come to the UAE?

NT: It started with the previous president of our university, who was a former debate coach himself. For him, it was important to have a debate program and he invited our coach, also a professor at NYU Abu Dhabi, to establish the union. Our coach then introduced us to international debate competitions.

AM: Why did you want to join the EUDC circuit? Why did you choose it over Australs / Asians?

NT: We had already debated at quite some tournaments in Europe. There aren’t that many tournaments in the region and thus we have been going to the tournaments in Budapest, Oxford and Moscow, to name a few, though we have also competed at some Asian tournaments. Also, a couple of students from our society went to EUDC as Independent Adjudicators last year.

AM: What are your expectations for Euros?

NT: We hope to meet a lot of other teams from different countries and backgrounds and learn how they debate and how their perspectives differ from the one we have.

AM: How do you think Euros will differ from debating at home?

NT: Similar to our general expectations: More diverse, a greater range of teams both geographically and the level of skills. The motions so far seem rather similar to the ones we debate at home.

AM: When will you host the first tournament in the UAE?

NT: We are slowly growing the currently still regional tournament. We want to grow slowly over time to gain experience before hosting a bigger tournament. But we would be very happy to see European teams attending our tournament in the future.

AM: Anything else you want to tell us about?

NT: What has really impressed me today is how a lot of teams come up with examples, experiences and arguments so different from what I would have thought of, just because of the great diversity of teams.

AM: Thank you for the interview.


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