Speechless at the heart of an Eastern European Pearl: The Kiev Open 2011

24 teams gathered this year in Ukraine to compete at the Kiev Open on October 1st and 2nd.  Karoline Lutz and Rosie Halmi competed as Team Lutzi Putzi. Sponsored by East European development Institutes the motions were kept close to the issue of peace and non-violence.  The trophy went to our friends from Potsdam: Moritz Kirchner and Mathias Hamann. 

Truth be told: Kiev is a rough patch for foreigners. The language barrier surely accounts for some of it. Even though the city is getting pimped for the UEFA Euros Championships 2012, people do not seem to be impressed by curious visitors and nosiness just isn’t one of the predicates that gets you around in Kiev.  Don’t get this wrong, rough isn’t always bad. It rather spiced up the debating experience at the Kiev Open.

24 teams was the size of an intimate tournament that invited plenty of occasions to gather around some booze and get to know each other. Nevertheless the average stickybeak debater that does not speak Russian or Ukrainian could be discouraged in its enthusiasm to get to know their Ukrainian counterparts. But it turned out that the language barrier was not much of an obstacle when it came to the sobering wake-up call at 7.00 AM sharp.

The motions were kept in the spirit of the tournament’s sponsor which narrowed the scope of the debating topics to the issues of peace and non-violence. Neither the fact that the issues debated were slightly repetitive, nor the fact that tournament lacked some good adjudication can be blamed on the Chief Adjudicator Anne Valkering. She pulled off a very good job in coordinating the tab, the motions, the motion and the sponsor and the adjudication considering her task description had changed as a result of the missing deputy CA’s.

Having said that, I would still recommend anyone to attend the Kiev Open next year and any other year to come. Not just because the rooms and the board were fine, but also because one can tell that the Ukrainian Debate Academy is doing an honest effort to introduce a culture of discourse and debate into a difficult environment. And when scratched a little further, one can’t help but to notice that Ukrainian students are friendly, polite and awfully well educated.

Last, but certainly not least I thank the Ukrainian Debate Academy to have given me a reason to visit a true East European pearl. Kiev opens up as a glittering city comprising the most stunning monasteries, castles and cathedrals. One shall by no means miss out on a walk through the French-style bohemian boroughs or a river walk along the Dnieper.

Congratulations to Moritz Kirchner and Mathias Hamann from Potsdam who won the Kiev Open 2011 defeating Svetlana Kosterina and Nikolay Gryzunov from MGIMO, Myroslava Halushka and Khrystyna Shabo from Barbarossa and Stanislav Kipkeev and Zhanna Britvina from Krasivie & Offigennie debating the motion: This House Believes That even in an oppressive state, citizens should not turn to violence as a means of opposition.

 

Round 1. THBT there should be no limit on self-defense against violent crimes

Round 2. THW ban parades and demonstrations that could incite a violent response

Round 3. THBT the UN should offer large bounties for the capture of pirates and the destruction of

pirate ships

Round 4. THW ban all religions from actively seeking conversions

Round 5. THBT America and the EU should cease all financial, political and military aid to both

Israel and the Palestinian Authority until they reach a peace deal

Semi Final. THW ban political parties that propagate racism and xenophobia

Final. THBT even in an oppressive state, citizens should not turn to violence as a means of

opposition