This past October the International Debate Education Association held an event in the capital of Greece. The three-day conference was held with the purposes of debate education for the European youth. Participation was open to all European national debate teams and a delegation was sent from sixteen countries.
The Hungarian national team was made up of eight participants, of which four were Milestone students and active members of the Milestone Debating Society. The try-outs for the national team took place in late September and were quite competitive. We applied for the positions individually and had two rounds of speeches: around where we had a week of preparation time and an impromptu one with thirty minutes to prepare.
On the 24th of October, our delegation traveled to Athens for the conference. On our first day all participants, debaters, adjudicators and judges alike visited the Acropolis and its museum, which we all enjoyed greatly. Following the sightseeing, we went to our venue where two workshops were held.
Workshops of the conference revolved around the fundamental topics of migration, the refugee crisis, and xenophobia surrounding it, youth employment and finally democratization. This was immensely interesting, as people from different cultures, religions, and ethnicities had diverse opinions on each topic, which lead to enjoyable sophisticated debates and discussions.
Our second day consisted of workshops and debates. We were proud of our delegation, as both our teams won the debates of the day. After an intellectually challenging, yet enjoyable day, we had a cultural expo, where we could represent the Hungarian cuisine, with some kolbász and túrórudi.
On our last day of the conference, we had the most engaging and relevant workshop, about the newly implemented homeless law in our country. This workshop was held by our delegation leaders the wonderful Tóth László and Ana Gurau. We shared our perspectives with the international community and had engaging conversations on the topic. It was amusing the alternatives an international community can come up with, and what smart solutions the youth can think of.
Overall, in my opinion, the conference definitely broadened our horizons and gave us great opportunities to share and form opinions. I enjoyed my time in Athens greatly. I would like to thank IDEA for having us, Balázs Dezsényi for organising this opportunity for us and Tóth László for being a wonderful adjudicator and taking care of us in Athens.
I have asked my fellow delegation members to share their opinions of the visit. Please see below László Dolgos’s, Márk Mészárik’s and Samu Marosi’s short responses:
IDEA Athens was a great and memorable experience. We got to know debaters from all around Europe and learned a lot from them. I sincerely hope we will get the chance to travel and work with IDEA in the future. – László
CCMVE International Exchange Athens was a very unique opportunity to network within the European debate community and enhance our debating skills. The professional part of the event mainly consisted of workshops several of which I found immensely interesting and beneficial. For example, I got to learn how to argue when fundamental human rights clash and I got to utilize this skill at the practice debates. Although the city of Athens left a lot to be desired I left with an overwhelmingly positive impression of the event. – Márk
Participating in the IDEA debate weekend was such an experience. We didn’t only debate, but we also had the opportunity to discuss issues such as immigration, with other people, who sometimes had different perspectives on these topics. It truly opened up my eyes, on how people feel and think about these problems if they are from a different region of Europe. I truly believe, that everyone should participate at an event like this because these conferences can truly change your opinion and open up your eyes in ways, that you wouldn’t even think about. – Samu