November 2020 saw the launch of intensive online training in the art of debate in the partner countries of the Erasmus+ youth debate project Debate Your Issue. Young people in Serbia will soon join their peers in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland. Project partners received applications from more than 300 young Europeans, half of whom have been accorded the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills needed by debaters taking on diverse and socio-political issues. The training is scheduled to run until spring 2021, and will be followed by an international competition and a closing conference*.
For almost two months now, project participants have been participating in virtual training in debating and in discussions on weekday evenings and weekends, on issues such as everyday media literacy, disinformation (including in the context of Covid-19), populism, migration, climate change and European Union policies. The young people have emphasised the benefits of the trainings' content – opportunities to learn public speaking, non-verbal communication, overcoming shyness, upholding one’s opinion and listening to others, as well as the acquiring of new contacts and learning in a multicultural team. Some also appreciate the enrichment of their English vocabulary through learning debating theory and reading information on specific political topics, while others are motivated to take in-depth looks at media research and European institutional data and subsequently express their views.
"During the pandemic, the implementation and transfer of an international project into the digital environment is challenging, but not impossible. Every virtual session and meeting with young people imparts energy and confirms the viability and mission of the idea behind this project – to help young people formulate and argue their position, as well as to accept the views of others, critically evaluate the information available and gain a grasp of Europe’s decision-making and policy-making processes. These are all essential skills and experiences that will be useful in everyday life and in discussions at work, during studies, at conferences or public meetings, as well as in participation in non-government organisations or who knows, even working in Europe’s highest institutions. Generations, ideas and skills change, and it is the young people of today who will shape the Europe of the future," says Zuzana Hubková, leader of the Debate Your Issue project, Goethe-Institut Czech Republic.
For the latest information on the progress of the project, please visit: debateyourissue.eu, you can also subscribe to our newsletter at: https://debateyourissue.eu/about-dyi/ and follow the DYI on Youtube, Instagram and Facebook.
Project partners: Mediawijs (Flemish Digital and Media Literacy Centre, Belgium), Goethe-Institut Czech Republic, National Library of Latvia, Lithuanian International Association of Youth Debate Alumni, Kolegium Europy Wschodniej (Eastern European College, Poland), Novo kulturno naselje (New Cultural Society, Serbia).
The project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.
* Due to Covid-19, changes in the project are possible.
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