What a highlight to this year’s debating season! Debattierklub Wien participated at its very first European Universities Debating Championships (EUDC) in Amsterdam. Together with our participation at Koç Worlds and the German Championships, our people at Amsterdam Euros showed our strong commitment to international debating. Not only were we able to foster new contacts, even friendships with debaters from all over Europe, we also had a lot of fun with these new (plus all old) friends and learned a lot about debating.
Amsterdam Euros were a joint effort by all Dutch debating societies under the leadership of the ever-patient, ever-helpful convener Anne Valkering, whose team made the herculean effort of getting debaters from the diverse European cultures actually appear together in an assembly hall on time – and succeeded! To gain further insight into the work of Anne and her team, we recommend the interviews she gave to the official EUDC blog and to Achte Minute.
Our four speakers – Leonhard Weese and Florian Prischl as Wien A and Agnieszka Bibro and Jakob Reiter as Wien B – together with judge Sabine Rainalter, who needs no further introduction to the international debating circuit (hint: Stroh 80) arrived straight from Cologne, where they took part in the Tilbury House Summer Open. Prepared and armed with feedback from that tournament, they first enjoyed an exciting evening, watching the Football World Cup Final together with hundred thousands of Dutch and tourists. Although the Oranje’s loss led to widespread despair, we could cope with it, and Florian and Jakob actually enjoyed taking photos of the grieving people on Museumsplein.
Monday evening had the first official EUDC event, a speech coupled with a Q&A session and debate on one of the big questions we face as a society and as debaters: the potential trade-off between peace and justice when it comes to armed conflicts. Rod Rastan, an employee of the International Criminal Court Office of the Prosecutor filled in for Luis Moreno-Ocampo, who was originally scheduled to appear but was unfortunately hindered by unexpected and unavoidable circumstances. While Mr. Rastan certainly did a good job of explaining the inner workings of the Court and how the Prosecution strives for peace and justice (as opposed to one or the other), we think that Mr. Moreno-Ocampo would have probably gone a little deeper into the subject. The Q&A with Mr. Rastan was quite intense, as was the show debate that ended the evening. Will Jones with Rob Honig and Isabelle Loewe with Yoni Cohen-Idov debated the motion of what should have precedence: Peace or justice. We heard an excellent and very inspiring debate, that we feel brought some real inspiration.
Tuesday was the first debating day at EUDC, and we were duly excited. Four preliminary rounds awaited us at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, to which we were driven in buses. Once we arrived, everything went smoothly. The organizers clearly knew what they were doing and made sure everyone was always on time. We know that this is not an easy feat with debaters!
Our teams encountered formidable debaters, which showed in their results. While we were not satisfied with our performance, all four of us learned a lot – though sometimes not more than the fact that a bad judge can be a very frustrating thing. Certainly this first participation at Euros was a novelty for us – we still felt frustrated at our final position in the tab. However, this did not keep us from enjoying everything else that the tournament had to offer: Some great adjudication, cool people, parties and beautiful Amsterdam! The tournament also provided us an opportunity to promote our Vienna IV, for which we were able to secure some key personnel (CAs/DCAs).
The knockout rounds took place in several impressive locations, mostly churches. Exemplary for that was the final, which took place in the Westerkerk, a surprisingly richly-adorned building (for a classic protestant church). The two finals (ESL and Open) were great debates! In the ESL final, we heard Athens A (Manos Moschopoulos, Kimon Ioannides), Galatasaray A (Leyla Orak, Engin Arikan from Istanbul), Kalliope A (Steffy Roos du Maine, Floor de Koning from Groningen) and Ljubljana A (Maja Cimerman, Filip Muki Dobranic) debate the motion “THBT even in response to the most serious crimes a just penal system should have no consideration for society’s desire for retribution”, while the Open final saw Cambridge A (Harish Natarajan, Jack Watson), Kings Inn A (Eoghan Casey, Patrick Rooney from Dublin), Oxford A (Ben Woolgar, Thomas Hosking) and Oxford B (Hugh Burns, Neil Dewar) with the motion “THBT after a humanitarian intervention has halted human rights abuses the occupation forces should leave if the population clearly establishes this as their wish.”
The Chief Adjudicating Team with Leela Koenig, Jonathan Leader Maynard, Ross Reid McGuire and Dough Cochran had no easy choice to pick the best team in each final – when they made their choice, Maja Cimerman and Filip Muki Dobranic from Ljubljana A were triumphant in the ESL category, while Eoghan Casey and Patrick Rooney took the grand trophy home to Kings Inn!
Congratulations to all winners and participants of this year’s Euros and many thanks to Anne Valkering and her great team of helpers who made the tournament a lot of fun!
The motions of Amsterdam EUDC 2010:
- THBT the EU should pursue new member states by removing all non-economic membership conditions, including political system and global location.
- THBT schools should prioritise authority of the teacher over enjoyment of the pupil.
- THW offer increased aid to the developing world countries that encourage and accept large influxes of immigrants.
- THBT social disgust is a sufficient justification for censoring art.
- THBT Bradley Manning should be pardoned if he is convicted of “communicating, transmitting and delivering national defence information to an unauthorised source”.
- THW allow all women, and women only, to bear arms.
- THW offer the Taliban power-sharing deals in exchange for acts of disarmament.
- THBT developing nations should distribute as a dividend to citizens all income derived from natural resource extraction.
- ESL Quarterfinals: THW extend the full protections of international law to guerrilla fighters, insurgents and terrorists.
- Open Quarterfinals: THW prohibit gay pride parades in countries or areas where there is a risk of violent backlash against those involved.
- ESL Semifinals: THW grant higher primates rights equivalent to those of human children.
- Open Semifinals: THBT the state should determine the wages to be payed (in both private and public sectors) for jobs deemed of moral value or societal importance.
- ESL Final: THBT even in response to the most serious crimes a just penal system should have no consideration for society’s desire for retribution.
- Open Final: THBT after a humanitarian intervention has halted human rights abuses the occupation forces should leave if the population clearly establishes this as their wish.