The expectations I had for my very first international debating tournament were low. I just hoped I would have a nice time and that I would win at least one debate. I wasn’t expecting to see much of the town or to find new friends. I went to Prague Debate Spring with 14 other students from team Netherlands Young and I had an amazing time.
I never flew before, so when I met up with my team at Schiphol airport, I was very nervous about the flight. For some reason, I’m not nervous about the debates anymore. I immediately found support within the team. They made weird jokes which weren’t funny at all, but they still made me laugh. After a long wait and a short flight, we arrived in Prague. For a girl who hasn’t visited more countries than France, Belgium, and Germany, Prague was an impressive city. The city has these amazing streets that almost give you this Paris vibe. The buildings are old and have this beautiful historical look.
On Friday, the debates began. It was weird and awesome at the same time to debate against a country like China. It wasn’t necessarily a different debate from one I would have with another Dutch team, but it was the whole experience around the debate that was different. After every debate, you talk to each other about where you come from, what your school is like and so on. I’m not used to talking to people who live in a city which has more inhabitants than the Netherlands. A team that I really liked was South Africa. The positive energy that they spread throughout the whole competition was so amazing and lovely.
As I heard from other debaters, my expectations for the food shouldn’t be too high. They were right. The food wasn’t bad, just wasn’t meant for me. Luckily, Prague was filled with cheap supermarkets which had a lot of great food. As for where we slept, it was better than I expected. Besides a broken shower, a lack of cups and a lack of good pillows, we all had a bed which was comfortable enough to sleep in. We stayed in a quieter area of Prague, so there wasn’t a lot of noise at night.
In the late nights with my team, unexpected bonds came. As we liked to call them, bonding nights, we talked about things that otherwise never would have been talked out. We laughed, cried, talked, but most important we supported each other. We talked about tensions and nerves. We discussed the other teams, Prague itself and our expectations of the other debates. We were able to have a cup of tea and at the same time discuss how nervous some were about the debates. That form of support is rare, but something that is so lovely when you find it.
We also bonded with the coaches. On Friday evening, I fell ill and I wasn’t able to sleep, but one of my coaches was able to give me the best help possible. They were the biggest help you could hope for. Talking with them about how you feel is very important and the solid support they gave was probably one of the most important things during the whole trip. The coaches and my team formed this kind of safety net for me and that gave me the power to keep going even on lesser moments.
A debating tournament makes you realize a lot about yourself. It increases the self-knowledge you have and the knowledge you have about others. It learns you even better than a national tournament how to deal with the stress, how to spend your prep time as efficient as you can and how you are able to calm each other down. It’s one big teambuilding assignment.
In the end, it’s important to remember that a debating tournament like Prague isn’t just to win all the debates. It’s about support, fun and learning new things. Prague gave me those things: the amazing support from my team members and my coaches, laughing, learning and exploring all day.
For the upcoming General Assembly of the Nederlandse Debatbond, the Board proposes to introduce a new article 20 of the policy manual. During the General Assembly, the article will be voted on in Dutch, but for the sake of discussion, we have translated the article to English.
Proposal on Central Equity Officer
Realising that there are several issues within the Dutch debating community that could use a central equity officer.
Proposes a new article 20
20.1 A national Equity team exists.
20.2 The members of the equity team are appointed by the General Assembly after being nominated by the board. The members of the equity team are proposed for a period of one year. A member can not be appointed more than three times. Board members can not be part of the equity team. There are no more than three members of the equity team.
20.3 During the nomination a diversity in gender and debating society will be sought. There will also be sought for people with previous experience as an equity officer at their society or on debating tournaments.
20.4. The Equity team has four tasks:
– They write a (national) equity document specifying what equity is and in which ways they can help.
– They advise the board, the General Assembly, equity officers of debating societies and tournaments and the members of the Dutch debating community on matters regarding equity.
– They handle complaints from individual members of the Dutch debating community, when these members can not go to a different equity officer. For example because no equity officer was appointed for the occasion when the matter regarding the complaint happened, or because it is impossible to go to the appointed equity officer.
– They keep a so called ‘black list’ of people who, because of extremely serious transgression to that what is accepted within society, are no longer welcome on Dutch debating tournaments. This black list can be shared, when necessary, with Equity Teams of tournaments so these equity teams can make a decision as to whether these people should be banned from their tournaments. When a tournament does not have an equity officer, it can be shared with other parts of the organisation.
For the upcoming General Assembly of the Nederlandse Debatbond, the Board proposes to introduce a new debating ranking list. However, to come up with a new policy that got support from our members, we would like you to inform us about your thoughts.
We have deleted the old debatranglijst due to the new privacy law. We’re uncertain whether we should have a debatranglijst: leave your thoughts down below.
If we would have a debatranglijst, we want to have it start afresh every year and have your four best tournaments count. We wish to count your accomplishments based on a percentile, and we don’t let any tournaments weigh more heavily than others. Only certain tournaments are counted, tournaments with special selection-criteria or with themes are excluded.
For the last few years the debatbond tracked all Dutch debaters on a debatranglijst. A list of all debaters, giving points on how well they had done at different tournaments and ranking them accordingly. Last year the old debatranglijst had to be removed from our website because it was no longer GDPR compliant. Since a new list had to be started in the new debating year we felt it was the perfect time to discuss updating its rules. To do so a Brainstormcommittee was formed and we discussed whether a debatranglijst should exist, and, if it should exist, in what way. This document is a summary of that discussion. It includes recommendations and a new proposal for a debatranglijst, should the bondsraad want one.
Should there be a debatranglijst?
The brainstormcommittee isn’t certain whether there should be a debatranglijst. A debatranglijst can be fun, because people can compare themselves with other debaters, even when they aren’t regularly speaking at the same tournaments. It can also be a way to track your own progression over the years. However, the debatranglijst can also be used to cultivate toxic status-relationships and to keep them intact. Moreover, the debatranglijst can be used to look down on people within the debating community and some people feel less certain and good about themselves because of it. There’s already a lot of competition within the debating community and people are ranked after every weekend. It might be wise to keep that to the (necessary) minimum of tournament rankings. It remains to be seen how strongly the debatranglijst plays into this, especially because ranking debaters already happens in so many ways.
The brainstormcommittee advises to only have a debatranglijst if a large majority of the member-societies want it, and to permanently abolish the list if it would play too much of a role in the way debaters see and treat one another.
What’s allowed with the GDPR?
Roughly speaking (and in no way to be seen as legal advice): every tournament needs to ask permission to publish someone’s name online (via the TAB), when asking this permission the tournament could and should also ask whether we can use your name for the debatranglijst. On top of that, there should be (as there always was) a way to get yourself removed from the debatranglijst.
This means that using foreign tournaments becomes almost impossible, but using national tournaments would be fine, as long as this permission is given.
How should the debatranglijst work?
To answer this question we looked at four different aspects: How many tournaments should be counted in what timeframe, what tournaments should be included, how should accomplishments be weighed and should different tournament be weighed differently?
Our proposal is to have a cyclus of one year. This means that every year the debatranglijst starts afresh: a blank slate where everyone has the same amount of chance to do well as everyone else. At the end of the year a prize could be handed out to the winners. This would mean that more value can be given to the list, since inactive debaters no longer pollute the list with their presence, and the list becomes more accessibly to newer debaters. Every year the four best tournaments of every speaker are taken into consideration, which means that players aren’t obligated to compete in all competitions to get a better score, but also that inactive speakers won’t be ranked too highly on the list. If someone does not speak Dutch they can request the Debatbond board that their three best tournaments are counted, to make it easier for them to participate and do well on the list, without them having to participate at more than half the tournaments in their chosen language. They have to make such a request in the first three months of the year.
What tournaments should be included?
The bondsbestuur will make a list with all the tournaments that count that year. This list is open for everyone and all tournaments can apply. The Bondsbestuur will actively encourage tournaments to do so. The board makes this decision on the following criteria: the tournament must be held in AP, BP or in a different format that’s used around the world, such as Australs. The tournament must be open, so no selection-criteria exist in order to compete . This means that, amongst others, novice tournaments, schools tournaments, internal tournaments and the mace are excluded. Lastly, there should be no restrictions to the CA-team, so themed tournaments are also excluded. A first list for this year could be:
How are accomplishments weighed?
Several different options exist here, we’ll outline four and argue for our preference.
The committee wishes to go for option 1, but has no preference for 1a or 1b in what way we’d count the outrounds. We believe that debating is a team sport and people should therefore mainly be marked on team-accomplishments. Even though we do see a compromise could be useful, we fear it would be highly unpractical to implement, and we would still value team-accomplishments more than speaker accomplishments.
Should different tournaments be weighed differently?
Because we propose a percentile-based system we do not feel the need to make a difference for different tournaments. We cannot easily or objective weigh the toughness of the competition at different tournaments and therefore the best thing is to look at how many other teams are participating. Importantly, we believe that Dutch nationals should be counted differently from other tournaments, since now it influences the debatranglijst way too much. We do see that someone who wins a tournament with 40 other teams doesn’t get more points than someone who wins a tournament with 20 other teams, but we feel that the outrounds are, in a way, equally tough, no matter how many other teams first competed. Moreover, we believe that the list should focus on the average debater, for whom the difference between a 12th place and a 15th place does matter a lot, which is taken into account really well, and for whom the different tournament size also matters a great deal.
The debating year is almost starting again, and so is 720. Before we overload you with all kinds of debating stories, wisdom and reports – an article from the old box. Last year, Jelte was on exchange in Singapore. He wrote a small piece on the differences between debating in Asia and the Netherlands.
Last semester, I spent some time abroad studying in Singapore at the Yale-NUS College. It defines itself as a college that bridges the East and the West, captured in the amazing slogan (and source of countless memes on campus): ‘In Asia, for the world’. When I went to Singapore my plan was to join the debating society. I told myself I did it because it would be an excellent opportunity to mingle with the local students and get to know new people. That’s of course partially true, but let’s be honest: I cannot go a fucking whole semester without debating. Plus, Yale-NUS is super rich – like insanely rich – so I figured it would be a good way of financing some trips throughout Asia.
In the third week of the semester, the first evening was hosted. I already told some older members which I met before that I debated, so I was allowed to hang with the cool kids while all the beginners had to sit through an introduction session. The motion was a bit weird if I recall correctly, but I liked the debating – so I kept attending meetings in the following weeks. I experienced debating ‘in Asia, for the world’. During my time in Singapore I went to some major regional tournaments (in Malaysia and Thailand) and a small local one. While actively participating as an Asian debater, I have observed some differences between Asian and Dutch/European debating communities.
The first thing I need to get off my chest is that the quality of tournament organisations in the Netherlands is something we should cherish. Althoguh the organisation of the largest tournament I attended was actually quite good, two tournaments in Singapore/Malaysia were a lot worse. .
The first day of my first Asian debating tournament started with stress. We were in a hurry to make it in time for registration. When we arrived at the venue five minutes before registration would close, I walked into the announcement hall and saw about ten people. There were supposed to be 150. Thinking I was in the wrong building, I asked where everybody was. One of the other YNC’ers told me people usually arrive late. This marked the beginning of my, seemingly endless, stream of irritation caused by the orgcom. The tournament was delayed for hours, the food was terrible and judging panels often consisted out of only one or two judges (who made some strange calls in my opinion). My team was also beaten by some 12-year old kids, which didn’t really improve my mood and confirmed the stereotype that no matter what you do, there is always an Asian kid better than you. I am not joking if I say at the end of the second day I was capable to kiss the bare feet of a Dutch orgcom that would organize a ‘normal’ tournament. The weirdest thing of it all was that most people accepted this as a given, not demanding better run tournaments. Guess the free market doesn’t work after all.
On a more positive note, the people I met in Asia were often super nice, friendly and approachable. I know there is sometimes this stigma in the Dutch/European debating scene that some societies or debaters think they are better than others. Now, although I don’t think this is always entirely true – it was certainly my experience in Asia that every debater is very easy to chat with and that ‘debating status’ doesn’t seem to matter as much compared to, for instance, when I was at EUDC.
Moreover, the level of interesting drama going on within the Asian circuit was very high, and thus very enjoyable. Societies taking out their internal dirty laundry and discussing it in the council at the Asian championships made for some good gossip. During Asians, almost the entire hotel was occupied by debaters, and well, that turned out like one would expect. Every morning at breakfast, there was no shortage of stories about sex, drugs and rock ’n roll.
Overall, it was definitely a lot of fun going to tournaments in Asia. I’d say the Asian Championships was definitely one of my highlights while being abroad. The people I met and the friends I have made (yes, I’m a cheesy motherfucker) were a lot more important than the organizational capacity of most orgcoms. Nonetheless, I am also happy to immerse myself in the Dutch debating community once again. I realized debating is so much more to me now than a fun, competitive game. Tournaments are rather moments where I meet my fellow-debater friends. See you soon!
Begin augustus werd het jaarlijkse Europese Kampioenschap debatteren voor studenten georganiseerd. Deze editie vond plaats in Novi Sad, in het Noorden van Servie. Bij het EK debatteren komen studenten uit heel Europa samen om te debatteren over allerlei onderwerpen. De studenten doen mee in teams van twee. Grote namen zoals de universiteiten van Oxford en Cambridge zijn vertegenwoordigd, maar ook veel Nederlandse universiteiten doen mee aan dit evenement.
Veel Nederlandse universiteiten waren dichtbij een plaats in de kwartfinale binnen de categorie ‘Engels als tweede taal’. Uiteindelijk waren er twee teams die een plaats veroverden. Bonaparte, de Amsterdamse studentendebatvereniging, bestaande uit Tom Pouw en Marike Breed, en de Leiden Debating Union, bestaande uit Romée Lind en Jeroen Wijnen. Het laatstgenoemde duo wist zelfs door te stoten naar de finale. Hier debatteerde zij tegen teams uit Zagreb, Moscow en Tel Aviv over het thema collectieve trauma na ernstige misdaden tegen de mensheid. Het team uit Tel Aviv won.
In 2019 wordt het Nederlands Kampioenschap Debatteren door ASDV Bonaparte georganiseerd in Amsterdam.
Op dit moment bestaat de organisatiecommissie uit vier mensen: Ezra Glasbergen (voorzitter), Jan-Pjotr Komen en Amber en Britt van Lochem. Zij zullen jullie op de hoogte houden van relevante vorderingen via hun website en de evenementenpagina op Facebook.
Written by Jelte Schievels
Over slechts twee dagen komen debaters uit heel Europa samen in het Servische Novi Sad voor het grootste studentenevenement van het continent: de European Universities Debating Championships (EUDC, ook vaak ‘Euros’ genoemd). Onder deze teams bevinden zich ook aardig wat Nederlanders dit jaar. Tijd voor SevenTwenty om de balans op te maken: wat is EUDC precies (handig voor vrienden en familie), wie zijn de Nederlandse teams, en wat kunnen jullie de rest van het toernooi van SevenTwenty verwachten?
Wat is EUDC?
Simpel gezegd is EUDC het EK studentendebatteren. Studenten van alle universiteiten in Europa, en sommige zelfs net buiten Europa, kunnen meedoen. Traditionele grootmachten zijn de Britse universiteiten zoals Oxford en Cambridge en het Schotse Glasgow. De laatste jaren behalen universiteiten uit lenen die niet Engels als voertaal hebben echter ook steeds meer finaleplaatsen. Het Israëlische Tel Aviv is al jaren erg succesvol, net als het Servische Belgrado en ons eigen Leiden.
Ongeveer 220 teams doen mee aan EUDC. Sommige universiteiten sturen één team, andere soms wel vijf. Het evenement telt in totaal vijf dagen. De eerste drie dagen bestaan uit negen inrounds, rondes waar iedereen aan meedoet. Na die negen rondes wordt de balans opgemaakt en kunnen teams breaken, oftewel doorgaan naar de outrounds (finalerondes). Dit kan in twee categorieën (volgt u het nog?): Open en English as Second Language (ESL). Klinkt allemaal weer heel ingewikkeld maar in principe is het erg simpel. Elk team doet mee aan Open, alleen teams met twee sprekers die allebei niet Engels als voertaal hebben doen mee als ESL (en de Nederlanders dus ook).
Wie zijn de Nederlanders?
Dit zijn de Nederlandse teams die meedoen:
Bonaparte Amsterdam A: Marike Breed en Tom Pouw
Bonaparte Amsterdam B: Lana Moss en Zeno Glastra van Loon
Bonaparte Amsterdam C: Britt van Lochem en Ezra Glasbergen
Cicero (Tilburg) A: Mike Weltevrede en Roel Schoenmakers
Erasmus Rotterdam A: Emma van der Horst en Fenna ten Haaf
Erasmus Rotterdam B: Dick van Tongeren en Bastiaan Mudde
GDS Kalliope A: Joris Graff en Linsey Keur
Leiden A: Jeroen Wijnen en Romée Lind
Leiden B: David Metz en Louis Honee
Leiden C: Jop Flameling en Rianne ’t Jong
Leiden D: Joas Bakker en Nastia Grishkova
Utrecht A: Jobke Visser en Stefan Gaillard
Utrecht B: Jelte Schievels en Pieter van der Veere
Utrecht C: Justin Seydouz en Friso Scheepstra
Maastricht A: Alwin Bakker en Katharina Jansen
Daan Welling, Daan Spackler, Davy Fung, Ellen Goltstein, Jan Pjotr Komen, Lena Martinovic, Lisa van Vliet, Lizzy Groenenberg, Maarten, Roel Becker, Simone Landman, Steven Glen, Ybo Buruma, Elvire Landsta, Lisa Eijgenhuijsen, Huyen Nguyen
Marthe Wijfjes (UCR)
Wat kunnen we verwachten?
Een hele lijst dus. Maar, SevenTwenty zou SevenTwenty niet zijn als we ook wat achtergrond informatie hebben over alle teams. We zijn wat teams en sprekers langs gegaan en hebben ze enkele vragen gesteld om er achter te komen wat er nu echt leeft in de Nederlandse delegatie.
Grappig genoeg zijn de Nederlanders over andere teams erg positief, maar proberen ze de verwachtingen over hun eigen team nog wat te temperen. Dit terwijl sommige Nederlandse teams echt wel serieuze kanshebbers zijn voor de ESL en Open break.
Leiden A bijvoorbeeld, door vele andere getipt als het sterkste team in de Nederlandse delegatie, bestaande uit de twee jonge debaters Jeroen en Romee. Maar laat leeftijd je niet bedriegen, want deze twee lopen al een tijdje rond in het debatteren. Zo gold Romee op haar 15e al als een van de gevaarlijkste debaters op het studentencircuit en won Jeroen anderhalf jaar geleden al het internationale toernooi Lund IV. Ook het laatste half jaar zijn deze twee goed bezig, met indrukwekkende prestaties op bijvoorbeeld Delft Open.
Erasmus Rotterdam A, bestaande uit Fenna en Emma, is nog een team wat door vele getipt wordt als sterk team. Ze hebben ook duidelijk voor zichzelf de ESL kwartfinale als doel gesteld, vertelt Emma: ‘Vorig jaar zijn Fenna en ik zonder verwachtingen of doelen naar EUDC gegaan en misten we op een haar na de ESL break. Inmiddels zijn we een jaar verder en zijn we veel gegroeid dus hopen we het beter te doen dan vorig jaar. Ons doel is dus om de ESL kwartfinale te bereiken. Toch willen we onszelf niet te veel druk opleggen. We zullen tevreden naar huis gaan als we het gevoel hebben dat we ons best hebben gedaan.’
Toch zijn het niet alleen deze twee teams die getipt worden. Vrijwel alle debaters en juryleden prijzen de hoge kwaliteit van alle Nederlandse teams, die bijna allemaal als outsiders voor de ESL break beschouwd kunnen worden. Alle andere Leiden teams, Maastricht A, Bonaparte A en GDS A zouden bijvoorbeeld niemand verbazen mochten zij de break halen. Linsey, debater voor GDS A, zegt over haar team bijvoorbeeld: ‘Joris en ik lijken denk ik niet altijd de meest waarschijnlijke combinatie voor een team omdat we vrij verschillende persoonlijkheden zijn. Desalniettemin werken we als team heel goed samen, zijn we goed op elkaar ingespeeld en allebei heel gemotiveerd er iets moois van te maken.’
Sommige teams houden zich wat minder bezig met de break. Zo zegt Pieter van het Utrechtse duo UDS B: ‘”In ons eerste jaar hebben we 14 punten gehaald, vorig jaar heb ik 15 punten gehaald, dus als we 16 punten pakken is dat mooi meegenomen. Gegeven dat we allebei weinig hebben gedebatteerd zijn we met minder tevreden.”
Hoewel we dus veel kunnen verwachten van de Nederlandse teams als het op debatteren aankomt, zullen de feestjes niet erg Oranje gekleurd zijn. Mike van Cicero A, normaal toch een ongekend feestbeest, geeft aan: ‘Tijdens de inrounds ga ik persoonlijk niet of weinig zodat ik goed ben uitgerust.’ Utrecht lijkt hierop de uitzondering. Stefan geeft aan er zin in te hebben: ‘De karaokeavond is op mijn verjaardag! Een bepaald roodharig debatbondbestuurslid (dat ben ik, red.) heeft mij beloofd om samen een nummer te zingen.’ Hij raadt de andere Nederlanders dan ook aan oordopjes mee te brengen.
Maar, niet alleen de debaters doen mee aan EUDC. Ook de juryleden zijn van de partij. Juryleden kunnen ook breaken, dat betekent dan dat zij één of meerdere finalerondes mogen jureren. Hoewel meer mensen debatteren te lijken prefereren, geven de juryleden aan dat debatten beoordelen ook lang zo gek nog niet is. Daan Spackler vertelt: ‘Jureren levert heel veel minder druk en stress voor me op. Daarnaast vind ik het leuker om anderen verder te helpen in de vorm van feedback dan om zelf zeven minuten te ratelen. Verder heb ik er nu gewoon wat minder voor geprept en iets meer genoten van mijn vakantie.’ Jan-Pjotr merkt daarnaast op dat ‘er ook gewoon meer ruimte is om naar de feestjes te gaan.’
Daarnaast zijn de juryleden natuurlijk ook erg betrokken bij de Nederlandse teams. Jan-Pjotr hoopt bijvoorbeeld dat er naast de Leidse teams, ook wat niet-Leidse verenigingen zullen zijn die de break halen dit jaar. En ook Lizzy geeft aan uit te kijken naar de prestaties van anderen: ‘Ik kijk het meeste uit naar alle Nederlandse teams die gaan breaken en dan hun blije reacties daarop. Ik weet dat ze allemaal hard gewerkt hebben en waarschijnlijk is iedereen dan knetterdronken, dus ik gun ze het plezier dat het harde werk ‘ergens goed voor was’ heel erg.’
Concluderend: we hebben er zin in! En ik hoop jullie na deze preview ook. Tijdens het toernooi zullen we jullie op verschillende manieren op de hoogte houden. Er zullen live-updates gegeven worden via de SevenTwenty-pagina op Facebook (link onderaan dit artikel) over de stellingen en uitslagen. Daarnaast proberen we elke dag een klein overzicht op het blog te zetten, die jullie kunnen vinden via debatbond.nl. De updates zullen voornamelijk in het Engels zijn!
Written by Huyen
The biggest tournament of the European Debating scene is coming up in just a few weeks: The European Debating Championships. And this year, the Netherlands is not only represented with its speakers and judges, but also on the Chief Adjudication (CA) team. Daan Welling and Gigi Gil will prepare motions that they have thought long and hard about to give you the best, and most fair, debating experience! Time for 720 reporter Huyen to ask Gigi some questions about debating, EUDC and fellow Dutchies.
You yourself have of course often performed superb at various major internationals and thus know what is necessary to break. What is your vision for Dutch debate squad this year at EUDC? Which are the teams to look out for?
Gigi: I think there are scary teams from many of the debating societies. I would be hesitant to name them because I haven’t been around in the Dutch debate competitions for a few months. I’d say definitely I’d be severely surprised if there wouldn’t be at least one non-Leiden team that breaks at Euros this year. I think the key now would be everyone needs to f*cking prep, let people know who they are, go to competitions, meet the judges that you’ll see them at Euros. And if they keep doing that, they should be at least improve their breaking chance.
Based on your experience, what advice would you give to the first-timers to EUDC?
Gigi: You should set goals that have nothing to do with the actual outcomes of the competition. I hear so many people that are out there to win, and the depressing thing about Euros is, only two teams will win. So there’s just no point in trying for that: things get random, people get nervous and stuff. I always set goals that are individual, so Emma and I always talk about things like: We both want to give at least one speech that we are really proud of, that when we sat down and was like “Yes, that’s what we wanted to do”. We want to have at least one round that we were like “Yes, we’ve watched the documentary in prep for this!”. So I’d say set personal goals and don’t tie them on other people.
The other thing I’d say, specifically for speakers, only Day 3 matters. I’ve had this three times at international competitions where my partner and I scored 9 or 10 points on the first two days and then we did break. And there are other situations where everyone in our community after Day 2 was like “Oh you’re definitely gonna break” at this point, and you might not. Everyone gets so nervous, so you are at a disadvantage where you get sucked into the nerves. You definitely need to talk with your partner about what makes and breaks you. But keep your cool, seriously, Day 3 is the only day that matters!
Many debaters experience stress while at EUDC. The competitive environment, the socials, the difficult motions, a new environment and being together with others practically 24/7 can take its toll on our energy levels and mental wellbeing. How did you deal with stress at EUDC?
Gigi: I smoked so much =.= I know some people that are very honest about being stressed, and I tried to be honest to myself about being nervous as well. I think debaters all want to be this person who does very well but doesn’t get nervous at all. Everyone gets nervous, everyone! There’s no one who gets excluded from this. Emma and I talked to one another about who we are going to talk to about this, I didn’t want to give her the feeling that I was telling everyone. So I’d talk to this one person, she’d talk to a different person, as long as you’re really honest about what you are doing. Same for like, deciding whether or not you are going to backtab or whether or not you’re probably gonna tell each other you’re probably lost, that really helps. Whatever you decide, deciding it together is the thing that matters. The bigger thing is, you will get nervous, and it’s really important to know that, everyone gets nervous.
Do you recommend going hard at the socials in Euros?
Gigi: To be honest, Emma and I had the most fun at the social right after we went out, when there was no pressure. Other people were so nervous, sometimes it’s like “Woo, there’s no responsibility”, you get to enjoy everything. I don’t think the last few years I’d ever really partied hard at any socials during Euros. I would always go and have a drink, I think we underestimate how much you can do just by sleeping, you need to relax after a day of intensity at Euros. So I usually would go, but never stay for really long, because then I’d get too psyched down and then like “I need sleep now!”
In order to qualify as DCA for EUDC you of course have to have lots of experience with speaking and judging. And you have CA’ed many many tournaments around the globe in preparation for EUDC. What was the most fun judging experience you had so far?
Gigi: I have many! One that was relatively recent is the Shanghai International Debate Open (SIDO) where I judged, it was so much fun! It’s so cool to see such a huge circuit in a continent I’ve never been to, how nice and welcoming everyone was, and how really amazing the teams were even though I’ve never heard or met them before. That was really fun and chilled! But generally, I genuinely enjoy judging outside the Netherlands. At some point, you just know everyone from your own circuit, but there’s like the exact version of you in any different countries, and you met a lot of people who are really nice that you could potentially hang out with. Especially when I wasn’t as experienced yet, because then I got to judge with people that were so good, and they taught me so much, and when I’d see debates I’d never got to speak with such speakers. I always encourage people to go judge before you get too good in speaking, because you won’t enjoy as much. It’s so much fun when you still had the shock and awe experience of seeing someone speaking an 84 and then losing a debate.
Across all CA-teams that you have served on, what is the best motion have you set so far?
Gigi: Wow that’s really difficult, I haven’t thought about that! I think I have the tendency to set motions about things that everyone feels but do not agree upon. For example, the “erotic capital” one was definitely a great debate, where people all understand this concept but there’s no clear agreement on what it is. I think one of my favorite is “THR the demonization of the rich”, same thing as, I think everyone understands that we look down on rich people sometimes but not the extent to which. Those were probably two that I really enjoyed!
Who is you favorite CA member? State your reason in three words.
Gigi: Oh that’s really difficult, I’m not sure I know! So I’d say this, I recently CA-ed for the first time with Ilja, and he is just, downright excellent human being. I’ll say, my three words are: HE WILL WORK. Like, he will work until it is perfect, and that’s what I really appreciated.
You have been one of the most active and established debaters in the Dutch debating community with lots of international experiences. What is the most drastic change that you have witnessed in the Dutch debate community so far?
Gigi: That’s a really good question. Recently, quite some people have been asking me this question, seeing that the Netherlands has had an influx of new competitions in the last few years. That’s amazing, but also I’m not sure if it’s working the exact way we wanted it to: competitions all of them tend to be a bit smaller than they used to be. That’s an interesting change: debaters are way more active, but there are not that many debaters who are willing to be active. My more favorable change is, two to three years ago, there was a huge vacuum of established people dropping out across all of different debate societies. And now, it’s changed in a way that there are good debaters in almost every separate institutions in the Netherlands. That means the more competitive debate get-togethers aren’t happening at one society in one evening, but we all meet at debate competitions where we all meet. I hope that keeps continuing, and that people keep going to international competitions with their own delegations. Meeting each other in top rooms, achieving Dutch success!
Which one is your favorite debate club in the Netherlands? State your reason in three words.
Gigi: Ouch… that’s edgy! I’d say…. Cicero, and the three words are: THEY HAVE RISEN. What happened to them in the last few years is just really impressive! They have a nice culture of being super inclusive, but also allowing people to be really competitive. I think they are really good example of how you can become really good as a debating society without being overly harsh or overly competitive. So I’d say Cicero definitely takes the crown for this one.