This House believes that everybody should go to debating tournaments!
Randomly scrolling through the depths of Facebook on a Thursday night, a wild BPO post appeared! A twist of fate! We decided to throw away our boring weekend plans and head to the Budapest Open the next day!
On the road with DKWien
The next thing we remembered was sitting in Roman’s “PapaMobile” on the highway, listening to some good Kraftwerk tunes with our mentoring DKW mates, Elli, Regina, Andi and Roman! After merely two and a half hours on the road, we arrived at our destination at Matyas Hotel, which was located near the Budapest Danube. Only a short while later we were heading to Central European University (CEU) to catch Michael Shapira’s public speaking lecture, which was markedly brilliant and informative. In addition to this, we got some further information about the tournament by the organizers of BPO. After realising how hungry we were, we were happy to hear that dinner was served not too far away in the canteen. Obviously the organisers knew there is nothing worse than hungry debaters, since the delicious Hungarian food was served very quickly! After dinner, the organisers led us to a nice bar – which made us even happier – as it could only mean one thing – two ominous yet wonderful words: Free. Drinks. We also had a chance to have a chat with our potential opponents who turned out to be really nice folks from Hungary, Croatia, the USA, Portugal, Germany, Serbia, Turkey, Israel, Kazakhstan, Poland, Ireland, France, Kosovo, Romania, the Czech Republic, the UAE and even more places!
Because of these overwhelming impressions of a long day and our tired feet, we were craving relaxation. Luckily we had a room on the fifth floor with a stunning view of Buda Castle and the Danube at its foot, where we kept the party spirit up. Around midnight, we thought a ghost might join us, but instead, Ingo showed up and completed the last team of our wonderful delegation!
Waking up to fierce competition
Then came Saturday – the first competition day – rise and shine! After a vitalizing breakfast, we started our first actual debating round. Especially for us novices, this particular moment was very exciting. Having only debated in our own society so far, we had no idea how it would be out there in the wildness of Debate Land, but with the help of our experienced team partners – Ingo and Andreas – we got over our nerves with great results.
And so it went from round to round and we felt our growing experience carrying us through a great variety of debates. (Motions below!) It was very interesting to see all the different perspectives of those many other international debating societies and to get an idea of how diverse and smartly structured techniques and argumentation lines can be. You were able to feel the improvement of your own speeches, the structure for example.
After four rounds of brain-wrecking intellectual competition, it was clear to us all that we needed refreshments and a reward for our first accomplished tournament day. Fortunately BPO delivered yet again – by bringing us to one of the well-known ruin pubs, ANKER-T – another great evening with inciting discussions and good music.
A final effort and a thrilling final
On the final morning we gathered all our remaining debating energy and headed into the last round! Though we unfortunately didn’t make it to the semis, we had the pleasure of watching very inspiring and motivating debates in the final rounds. Especially the final, at which the motion read “This house believes that the theory of communism is immoral” lead to very heated discussions about the value of morality or immorality and the very difficult question of whether theory can ever be seen without practical references. With these thoughts in mind, and after the closing ceremony had ended, we sadly already had to leave Budapest. But it was noticeable – mainly in our melancholic stares out of the car windows with a smile on our face – that we left Budapest with heartfelt gratitude and the irresistible wish both to come to Budapest again one day and to attend more tournaments as soon as possible!
Round 1: THW decrease the power of an individual’s vote as the voter ages.
Round 2: THW ban all advertising of consumer goods and services.
Round 3: TH opposes political correctness
Round 4: THW approve drilling of oil and gas only based on a referendum.
Round 5: THW place a disincentivizing tax on businesses that use freelance labour.
Semi-final: THW ban religions and ideologies from promising any form of rewards or punishments in the afterlife for any behaviour in this life.
Final Motion: This House Believes That the theory of communism is immoral.
Winners: Nika Jelaska & Peer Klüssendorf (Team Chairman Meow) in Closing Government. Congratulations and thanks to three Budapest Debating Society who organised the event!
The DKWien contingent at the Budapest Open 2015.
Ania Gleich and Daniel Koch are freshers in Debattierklub Wien and study at the University of Vienna and at the Technical University of Vienna. Thanks for contributing this article! Photo: Veronika Horváth