Auteur archief Bionda Merckens

doorBionda Merckens

International Debate Academy Slovenia 2014

The 12th International Debate Academy Slovenia will be held in Kranjska Gora and Ljubljana, Slovenia between 22-30 November 2014. The program is aimed at university students, uses the WUDC/BP format, and will be conducted in English. There are over 100 participants from four continents

The board of Wageningen Debating is joining this event and shares this report of her website ( with you on SevenTwenty.

Saturday 22 November

Where a travel begins is no questions, when it begins a whole other one. Having announced it now for quite some time, our travels began Friday night somewhere between 11 and 2. Trains never work as you want them to work and so we stayed over at Schiphol airport. With none or barely an hour of sleep we took two short flights to a very foggy Zurich and eventually a bit less foggy Ljubljana. Joined by two Kazachs and two Finnish we are brought to Hotel Spik in Kranskja Gora. We are greeted most welcoming by Za in proti and after all formalities we enjoy a nice quiet lunch after which we try to do all kind of things, all endingu p with falling aspeel. Dinner proves the diversity of nationalities again. One of our roommates, a Chines girl, invites us to have breakfast together the next morning and frineds from Zagreb and Venezuela come say hi. No more time for chitchat, it’s time for action!

Alfred ‘Tuna’ Snider from the World Debate Institute officially opens IDAS 2014 with an inspriring speech on the use and value of debating. What can contribute more than a critical mind? Bojana Skrt, of Za in Proti, does the logistics. In short; in the morning you are assigned to a lecture and an exercise round after which there is a full debatte with feedback. Then lunch and a really short break, two rounds of electives you can choose yourself where to go and another debate and feedback. Dinner and no way you are done after that, for what is debating without some extra fun, so each night has a social. To show what we do of what we should be doing for the coming days a show debate is done with speakers from Malaysia, Venezuela, the USA, Slovenia and Serbia on the motion: THW welcome large numbers of robots in the work force.

So 120 enthusiastic students, over 15 countries represented and the best trainers; let’s get this party started!

Sunday 23 November

Sleep makes everything so much nicer. Up and running around 7 to make sure all the assignments for uni are done in the mean time as well. Fortunately the restaurant has good food and an amazing view, so there is hardly anything to complain. At 8:45 we start with some logistical announcements and the final people are paired up for the 10 practice debates to come in the following days. All participants are divided in three groups in which they follow a one-hour elective by one of the faculty members, after which they are subdivided in 6 groups to practice that what they have just learned in excercise rounds.

The motion for the first practice debate reads: THBT reparations should be payed for slavery.

After feedback and lunch we have barely an hour left to catch up with our personal needs before two rounds of electives start. Today the chosing is from the following:

  • Political Economy: CRISIS OF CAPITALISM – CAPITALISM AS CRISIS (Case against Capitalism)
  • Empathy – the gateway to analysis
  • “How to build economic arguments”
  • Style Mechanics and Persuasion
  • What’s wrong with the social contract
  • Listening awareness
  • WAGES, WORK AND WOMEN (feminist political economy 101)
  • “Where do money comes from? (the limits to debts)”
  • “Scrabble” – Motion analysis

The motion for the second practice debate reads: THBT parents should not tell their adopted children that they are adopted.

In such a busy schedule, food is one of the most important elements of the program. So dinner is welcomed with a lot of enthusiasm. And the fun continues during the country exhibition in the ‘vinoteka’. With some help from a Dutch faculty member we spend the night handing out stroopwafels, kruidnoten, taaitaai and especially Jenever. To top it of we are bringing polonaise into the international surroundings we currently find ourselves in. Everyone worked very hard to share their foods, drinks and/or traditions with the other participants. No idea how long that party went on, but it did.


Monday 24 November

New insights in debating rose today: the routine in activities puts our focus on the content. The environment of fanatic, but friendly debaters encourages progress.

The morning lectures were of the same topics as yesterday, but these were taught to another group. The topics are argumentation, presentation and motion analysis. After an hour the theory is turned into practice. Intensive exercise in small groups made us fill the empty words with experience. After training the basics it is time for the first motion of the day:

“THW eliminate the veto power of the permanent members of the UN security council”.

A challenging motion: it requires both technical knowledge about the United Nations, as well as an insight in international relations. It brought all of us into heated debates.

Peace returns in lunchtime. The left-over questions and thoughts about the debate are shared during lunch, then some personal time remains. This is used for contact with our allies at home, the necessary work for university and a run through the lovely white-topped mountains.

The electives, free choice lectures, were enjoyed a lot. Teun got himself some structure in a 101-notetaking session, Lara was impressed by the explanation of shortcomings that democracy turns out to have. Nany and Teun got “partnership therapy”, that gave them tips and tricks to build their collaboration to a successful debating team. And since all we do here is in service of the debate, try to put that into practice with the typical Wageningen motion:

“THW impose an additional tax on unhealthy food.”

The social activity of tonight was a quiz, testing the debaters’ knowledge of random facts. Our enthusiasm in answering the question by running to the catheter made Nany rush through a set of chairs, scaring the people around. However, all debaters turned out to be quiz fanatics so they did not win.

In a walk through the surroundings of the hotel, our board revised a great day in terms of progress in debating, but joy above all.

Tuesday 24 November

This event is not only about getting better in debating, but also about making friends. Having so many people with which you interact throughout the day, that should not be too difficult. Pretty sure we will have places to sleep all over the world from this moment on.

Today was a little different from earlier days. We started again with lectures, excercise rounds and a debate on the motion: THBT the EU should pay Ukraines gas bill. After which we had lunch. And then the luxury of free time.

Where some of us needed desperately to catch up with school stuff, others went to Italy or Switzerland which is literally just at the end of the road or over the mountain. Teun and Nany decided to explore the surroundings on food with some friends from South Africa and Venezuela. No idea where and how they got separated but let’s say that one had a way longer walk than the other – letting on you to guess who.

Free time here means action some other time. At 17:00h we started again with the electives, at 18:00h another one. And to name another specific element that makes IDAS so incredible, the trainers. First of all the level and skill of their knowledge and teaching is incredible but also their enthusiasm is hard to let go by unnoticed. It won’t be a surprise that when we get back, there is so much to discuss and to give to our members. And then dinner during which we had just enough time to catch up with experiences and adventures. No idea why but this particular evening seemed particularly fit to have our dinner accompanied by wine and beer, not taking into account we actually have to say something intellectual in the debate afterwards. Being tired is no excuse here and so the debate on the motion THW make union membership obligatory for every worker.

New impressions take time to sink in. We’re gonna dream of the UN Security Council, the Middle East and Women’s rights tonight. Oh joyful debate training!

Wednesday 26 November

The good thing about debaters is that even when no social is organised, they feel some obligation to do so anyway. The early birds were in bed around  o’clock, there has been no record made of those who closed the door. What was recorded were the persons who came into breakfast first – as in before 7.30AM, exactly the same as the ones that went to bed late. Debaters are diehards, so no reason to delay and off to the lectures, excercise rounds and the morning debate on the motion: THBT climate change denial should be treated the same as holocaust denial.

During lunch we used the hour of free time to have our weekly board meeting. Even though the year is drawing to an end, there is no reason to think we have nothing up our sleeve. The program for the coming two months has been decided upon and some nice socials and workshops have been planned. Of course the Wageningen Open was a topic of discussion. The lack of a break did make the afternoon rounds of electives and the debate on the motion: THW require population control policies by poor countries as a condition for financial aid. The conversations during dinner get more technical and the feedback of the debates is more critically reviewed, so progress is going on. Curious how that is going to pay of in the tournament.

With only one full day left in Kransjka Gora, the moment of returning to Wageningen is also closing in on us. So while enthusiastic debates take part in a game I do not remember the name of but has something to do with depicting movie scenes with certain attributes (that probably sounds way less fun than it actually was), Wageningen Debating is working on theses and other university related stuff. Which by the way is an excellent way to trigger exhaustion. Sweet dreams.

Thursday 27 November

Another regular day here at the hotel. Sadly it is our last full day here. But there is no time to cry about this with our tight schedule.  The two practice debates of today were:

THW create a state supported citizen militias to police crime in area with high levels of organized crime.

THBT Vladimir Poetin is a serious treat to global security.

Our last night has to be celebrated properly. Being Thanksgiving and having the anual Kitsch party, everybody was busy making plans over dinner.  Nathania even got to celebrate Thanksgiving with the American students at a local restaurant right before the Kitsch party. We have already seen man dressed as women, coulourfull hairdo’s and some cow dresses. The night might get crazier but since its our last night; Lets have some fun!

Meer lezen

doorBionda Merckens

Athens Open 2014

Going back to where it all began. Athens Open as the most competitive tournament in Greece during summer. Although only 12 of the 100 registered teams in the end were present and took part, it was a great weekend of sun, food and well a bit of debating in between. Under you can find a short report including the motions and break announcement. The tab can be found here.

Friday August 29

There are only few tournament that start their event with only a social. Athens Open is one of them. After having dropped off our stuff in the dorms of the residence, we take back the bus downtown for a nice stroll around Athens. With the sun just setting, the ligth on the Akorpolis is amazing. We are told that we took a road seen by hardly any of the Greece, though some people wearing high heeled shoes might have seen no more than the stones and holes in the road. The evening ends with a nice traditional Greek meal with unlimited wine and live music. Let’s see what the results of those large amounts of alcohol will be tomorrow.

Saturday August 30

Coffee makes everything better, the blazing sun and clear blue sky may as well. Upon registration we all get a name tag and goodie bag. After only a slight delay only three rooms start their journey to eternal honour on the following motions:

R1: THW grant amnesties to the participants of the Ferguson riots.

R2: THBT countries should create semi-autonomoes states within their borders which only women and children can choose to live in or visit.

Then, having been served a delicious lunch, everyone went to the dorms to change into summery clothes. A Greek hour later we’re off to the beach where few try if they remember their swimming lessons while other rather talk -what else if debater- or enjoy the sunset. Those who after the burgers, beers (both in number and kind numerous) and volleybal still survived the bus trip back, dare to run off to another bar. The rest retires and tries to get at least some sleep and power up for the next three rounds tomorrow.

Sunday August 31

Oh joyful relaxing Athens. Registration is no earlies than 10:30 and about an hour later all are awake and recharged by coffee able to start on the rounds.

R3: THBT centre right and centre left parties should agree not to compete or negatively campaign against each other in situations where there is a high risk of Golden Dawn getting a seat in parliament.

And when after lunch the delay is minimalized to 10 minutes, the final two (closed) rounds start.

R4: THBT atheist organizations should publicly support Pope Francis’ attempts to modernize and moderate the Catholic Church.

R5: THBT established black actors should refuse roles shich portay balck people in a stereotypical manner even as a form of satire.

And then it is ouzo time, in the sun and near the theater on the DEREE campus where the finals will take place. The CA’s were very fond of traditions and therefore persuaded the organizing committee to the greatest break announcement in Greek history. After each breaking team was announced and chose their position by finishing a cup of ouzo, plates were broken by the (you already guessed) CAs and organizing committee.


1st – My Big Fat Greek Ceilidh (Scott Ralston and Nick Efstathiou, 12 points): draw CG

2nd – NCH/Non Comparative Hellenics (John Tsopanis and Nick Zervodis, 11 points): draw CO

3rd – The Eastern Bloc (Karolina Partyga and Stratos Baloutsos, 10 points): draw OG

4th – Common People (Manos Moschopoulos and Georgi Velkovski, 9 points): draw OO

The motion for the final reads (not in exact wording): THBT WLD’s should create Leadership Academies whose students would be handpicked by the state and whose graduates would be the only citizens eligible to run for political office.

When the stomachs are filled with cheese and spinach pie, the results are announced. Scott Ralston takes the prize for best speaker and together with Nick Efstathiou takes also the eternal fame that comes with winning the Athens Open 2014.

And then it is time for drinks – just down the street this time – where the discussions again go about things that other people might call heavy stuff. But with beer, there is nothing to complain about.

So a final word of thanks to the organising committee, Eleni and Vassilis, the volunteers that almost always managed to keep all together and get them to the right place and of course the CA team Michael and Christine for the challenging motions.

ευχαριστώ and till next year!

doorBionda Merckens

NK Beleidsdebatteren 2014

Elk jaar als de klok NK beleidsdebatteren slaat, zijn er weer een aantal mensen die gaan steigeren. Is het niet over de standaard geschilpunten die de basis zijn van het debat dat wordt gevoerd, dan wel of de naam NK eraan mag worden gegeven of niet. Maar dat kon de pret op 22 maart in Eindhoven niet drukken. Maar liefst 22 teams gingen de strijd aan. Met en zonder ervaring, met of zonder dispuut als publiek met met of zonder brasjasjes aan.

Om alle neuzen dezelfde kant op te zetten, werden in de ochtend masterclasses gegeven aan deelnemers en juryleden. Daarna werden de magen gevuld en konden de debatten beginnen. De stellingen waren een week op voorhand bekend gemaakt op de website en de indeling was willekeurig zonder powerranking. Rondes 1 tot en met 4 gingen achter elkaar door.

Ronde 1: Het vak etiquette moet verplicht worden op middelbare scholen.

Ronde 2: Nederlandse jongeren vanaf 14 jaar moeten stemrecht hebben.

Ronde 3: De burgemeester dient verkozen te worden in Nederlandse gemeentes.

Ronde 4: In Nederland mag aan universiteiten alleen nog college gegeven worden door mensen met een lesbevoegdheid.

Voor de minder ingewijden onder ons, sprekerspunten worden toegekend op dezelfde schaal als in het BP format. Daarnaast krijgt een team dat wint 1000 punten extra per gewonnen ronde. De eerste drie teams zijn gebroken op winstpunten, het vierde team op sprekerspunten. De tab kun je hier vinden.

Break naar de halve finales

1. Leidsch Beleid: Lisa Schallenberg en Devin van den Berg

2. Team Spirit: Gideon Smit en Lara Minnaard

3. Trivium Toernooi 2014!: Sophie van der Woerdt en Céleste van der Togt

4. DCB 1: Reinout Slee en Reinier Veld


Semi 1: Ontwikkelingshulp moet worden afgeschaft.

Voor: DCB 1 en tegen: Leidsch Beleid

Semi 2: Polygamie moet worden toegestaan in Nederland.

Voor: Team Spirit en tegen: Trivium Toernooi 2014!

De finale gaat uiteindelijk tussen Leidsch Beleid (voor) en Team Spirit (tegen) over de stelling:

De teelt en verkoop van wiet in Nederland moet gelegaliseerd worden.

En de loodzware bokaal mag uiteindelijk richting de randstad! Felicitaties aan Leidsch Beleid, Lisa en Devin, voor het winnen van de titel Nederlands Kampioen Beleidsdebatteren 2014.

Eveneens felicitaties aan Reinier Veld die zich beste spreker van de dag mag noemen.

Verder bestond de top 5 van beste sprekers uit:

2. Lisa Schallenberg

3. Devin van den Berg

4. Loek Nolten

5. Lara Minnaard

doorBionda Merckens

Live: Lustrum Leiden Open 2014


This year the Leiden Debating Union exists for 10 years and that wil be celebrated with a special Lustrum edition of the Leiden Open tournament. It will take place today and tomorrow at both the Bonaventura College (inrounds) and the Kamerlingh Onnes Gebouw (Law Faculty, outrounds).

The CA-team consists of Leela Koenig (CA, Leiden), Ashish Kumar (Cambridge), Francesca Ruddy (Glasgow), Niels Schroter (Berlin) and Nika Jelaska (Zagreb). Martijn Otten is the convener and Gigi Gil is the Equity Officer. The tournament will have five inrounds, seven minute speeches and will be in BP format.

Yesterday evening all teams that had already arrived could go to a pub for pre-registration. There they could also pick up their crash people. The amount of people nearly did not fit in the pub, but it was good to see that were already so many people present.

This Lustrum edition of the Leiden features a dresscode to make it that much more special. The dresscode was: suit up and dress up. Many of the tournaments’ participants indeed showed up fashionably dressed save for the odd pair of jeans.

Now the first round is about to begin! The motion reads: THBT the governments of developing nations should actively encourage slum tourism. An infoslide gives us some more information about the definition of slum tourism (tourists visiting impoverished areas on tours organized by travel agencies). The debate is mostly about self-suffiency of developing nations and morality.

After an engaging first round there is lunch in the auditorium (announcement room). Revitalised by the food and drink, which was provided by the nice volunteers, the speakers and judges are ready for the next round.

We continue to the second round. This time the motion reads: TH, as a critic, would advise the public not to consume works of music, film and art produced by artists that you deem morally reprehensible, regardless of the artistic merits of their work.

The third round ensues and the motion reads: THW randomly select citizens to actively assist in the rehabilitation process of ex-convicts, and make participation mandatory for those citizens. There is another infoslide that explains about the experiments which involved voluntary assistance to ex-convicts which were succesful. This third round is the last open round, which means that feedback is given by the judges immediately after the debates. The fourth and fifth rounds will be closed rounds which means that feedback will only be given after the break announcement.

Round four is starting in a moment. The motion reads: THBT the state should make funding for political parties proportionate to the number of low income brackets in those parties.

After dinner we move on to round five. The motion reads: THW nationalise prostitution.

After the socials saturday we now on sunday start the semifinals and the novice final. The motion for the novice final is announced first and reads : TH as a nominee of such an award would not accept it. What this award is for is explained is an infosheet. The award is for people from minority groups and is given out by an institution like a university for their achievements. The motion for the semifinals reads : THB it is legitimate for states to deny residence or asylum to immigrants who openly contradict their predominant values.

After lunch the finals are starting. The motion for the round reads: THBT the catholic church should make absolution for those who have committed a crime conditional upon handing themselves into the police. After an invigorating debate about doctrine, confession and crimes we now go to the pub and await the call of the judges.

In the crowed pub the results of the final and the novice final are announced. The tournament has been won by team Two guys, Daan Welling and Ruairidh Macintosh, in closing opposition. The novice final was won by team VOPS (Matija Dragojevic & Stefan Mitrovic). These results bring an end to the Lustrum Leiden Open.

doorBionda Merckens

Het NK scholieren, de finale

Op zaterdag 11 januari vertrekt zo’n 150 leerlingen met het bed op de nek naar Leiden. 30 scholen strijden vandaag in de laatste etappe voor de titel Nederlands Kampioen. In vier rondes WSDC format nemen de scholen het tegen elkaar op over twee reeds bekende en twee in promptu stellingen. De beste twee staan ’s middags in de stadsgehoorzaal tegenover elkaar.

De stelling voor de eerste ronde is de vooraf bekend gemaakte stelling: De politie moet niet ingrijpen bij geïsoleerd geweld tussen hooligans.

Voor de tweede ronde staat de improvisatie stelling: De overheid moet ingrijpende genetische veranderingen bij menselijke embryo’s wettelijk toestaan.

Na een lunch om bij te komen gaan we door naar de reeds bekende stelling: Asielzoekers in Nederland moeten tijdens hun procedure afgescheiden blijven van de samenleving.

De vierde ronde is op basis van powerranking waardoor er verborgen halve finales plaatsvinden. De scholieren praten over de stelling: De overheid moet alleen geloofsneutrale scholen bekostigen.

Daarna begeeft debatterend Nederland zich en masse naar de Stadsgehoorzaal, Aalmarktzaal om de finale tussen het Utrechts Stedelijk Gymnasium en het St. Ignatiusgymnasium te zien. Een spetterend debat gaat over de stelling: Zodra de generatie die WO II heeft meegemaakt is overleden, zijn 4 en 5 mei achterhaald. Dat geeft uiteindelijk de winnaars van het toernooi en de school die zich een heel jaar Nederlands Kampioen mag noemen: het Utrechts Stedelijk Gymnasium!

doorBionda Merckens

A letter from South Africa WUDC 2016

This letter has been written by Dessislava Kirova, Deputy Chief Adjudicator for the South Africa bid, WUDC ESL finalist and DCA of Manchester Euros.

Dear Debaters of the Netherlands,

South Africa WUDC

Thank you very much for the opportunity to directly address you on behalf of the South Africa WUDC 2016 Bid.

We have published our extensive and detailed Bid Document for all to read and check after the aspects that are most important for them . In this brief article we would like to take the opportunity and talk about the aspects of inclusiveness and development that are at the heart of both the OrgComm and the A-Team.

A South Africa Worlds will welcome 520 teams from around the world. This will be the highest teamcap in history. Is it really necessary? It is if you want to keep Worlds competitive and make it more inclusive. Both established successful debating societies as well as emerging and growing societies will be able to send their talented to the most important debating competition of each season. The increase of the teamcap together with the lowering of the reg fee to a maximum of 330€ are the structural frame that will make a more inclusive Worlds possible. In addition we aim to provide 20 scholarships similar to Berlin Worlds to institutions that otherwise would not be able to attend at all.

We as the A-Team are dedicated to do our part of the work. Our detailed adjudication vision will be published in the next days, but here are some parts regarding inclusiveness. We aim to achieve an honest regional representation in our Independent Adjudicators’ (IA) pool without compromising on qualification. In order to achieve that goal all members of the A-Team will be committed to giving BP adjudication workshops throughout their respective regions and focusing on historically underrepresented or neglected areas. We want to deliver our share in building and developing adjudication skills in our regions and enlarging the pool of potential IA candidates. We also aim at a true representation at all levels of the competition: beginning with the A-Team, and continuing with all IAs, panels and judges that break. We will be transparent and accountable when it comes to the criteria we will be using in all those areas. Debaters and judges at Worlds deserve nothing less than a truly professional, transparent and accountable AdjCore.

And while we work hard to keep our promise to you, the fantastic OrgComm will bring you a warm and exciting tournament under the beautiful South African Rainbow. They are already working with and are being fully supported by both the University of Witwatersrand and the City of Johannesburg. They are all seasoned organisers of both debate tournaments like the South African Nationals as well as of various large-scale university events and conferences like One Young World this year.

We believe our OrgComm are well-situated to provide fantastic logistics for many reasons:

1) The OrgComm is comprised of individuals who have extensive experience on the ground in Johannesburg running large-scale national and international events. They have good relationships with all the University and State actors needed to run a WUDC because they have run similar events with these same people many times in the past. This institutional memory and on-the-ground experience is crucial to ensuring logistics run as smooth as possible.

2) Our bid has the full support of the Wits Debating Union, the University of Witswatersrand, and the City of Johannesburg. Our Orgcomm has set up long-term arrangements with these organisations to ensure that we can draw on their experience and work together to ensure everything runs smoothly.

3) Because an experienced and knowledgeable OrgComm wasn’t enough, the City of Johannesburg will be providing us with one of their top Professional Events Organisers who helped run the FIFA World Cup, the ICC World Cup (Cricket, not the International Criminal Court), and many other incident-free international events, to lead our OrgComm!

4) Our OrgComm are wonderful, devoted, and hard-working people. Having worked with them over the past few months putting this together, all three of us have immense faith in them. WUDC South Africa 2016 is their life, and they will devote their sole focus to running this competition over the next two years. We promise that they will wow you with their professionalism, efficiency, and dedication to detail just as they have wowed us with it over the past months.

5) They are also supported by some very experienced tabbers who have already promised that they are up to the challenge of tabbing the largest-ever Worlds.

We understand that finances are a crucial issue when it comes to WUDC. When it comes to accessibility, cost is a barrier we are eager to address. We have seen our fair share of wild assertions about the cost of flights to Johannesburg in the past few days! If you would like to get an idea of how much it will cost to get to Jo’Burg, please check out our bid document where we have compiled a list of flight costs from different places around the world, or check for yourself on!
We have also struck a deal with South African Airlines to provide discounted flights to all delegates. This is in addition to providing the lowest reg fee in WUDC history, so we are doing our best to reduce financial barriers to attending WUDC. Beyond this, we are also pledging to open registration much earlier than seen before in order to ensure that flights can be booked well in advance of the competition, further lowering the cost of attending WUDC South Africa.

The other dimension of finances is obviously sponsorship, something our OrgComm have been hard at work trying to secure. Beyond the many private companies they are in negotiations with, including Coca-Cola, NedBank, KMPG, and McKinsey, they have secured sponsorship partnerships with the University, the Presidency of South Africa, and the City of Johannesburg, all of whom will work with the OrgComm using their professional networks and staff to help secure funding for the bid. The projected sponsorship from the University, Presidency and City alone is already 5 million South African Rand (€353,260). Most importantly, we offer financial and organizational transparency with our bid. We have budgeted for all of our finances to be audited by professional auditors, in addition to our counter-parts at Wits University and the City of Johannesburg. We will also be funding two WUDC Executive members to Johannesburg to inspect our preparations, venues, and organisation as part of our bid defence at WUDC Malaysia 2015.

And of course, one of the best parts of WUDC South Africa 2016 is the opportunity to visit the wonderful, bustling, and beautiful “Rainbow Nation.” Whether you want to meet the lion cubs of Lion Park Johannesburg, take in the history of South Africa at the Apartheid Museum, or discover the nightlife in the birthplace of Yakka, we promise you an incredible experience you will never forget. With unforgettable socials like creating the largest-ever peace march (followed by full social) on Mandela Bridge, we promise you a once-in-a-lifetime WUDC experience.

Please do not hesitate to contact us or any other member of the bid if you should have questions, comments or concerns. We all would be delighted and truly honored to win your support and meet you under the Rainbow in 2015!

Best, Pam, Saddiq, & Dessi.

doorBionda Merckens

A letter from Thessaloniki WUDC 2016

Thessaloniki WUDC

 The University of Macedonia, the Debating Society of Greece and Open Communication are proud to introduce their bid for the XXXVI  World Universities Debating Championships. Hosting Worlds is a solemn promise to ensure that largest debating competition on the planet continues to provide enjoyment, memories, friendship and opportunities to debaters and adjudicators from across the planet. We want to bring Worlds back to the home of debating and show you a tournament you’ll never forget.

Throughout the bid process every year, there’s lots of flash and big promises. We’ll have our share of that too, but we want to convince you that because of our experienced team, carefully laid plans and amazing host city and university, we’re the team to trust to bring you an amazing Worlds. Our bid is built around the fundamentals of a great debating tournament; it’s affordable, and inclusive, but also prioritising the things debaters want most – easy transport, debating rooms close to the briefing hall and the resources to bring in the World’s best judges.

On top of those foundations we want to show you the amazing sights, parties, culture, food and drink of Thessaloniki (the Lonely Planet called it the ‘ultimate party city’), Macedonia and Greece. Our country is also one of the world’s leading tourist destinations, having welcomed over 15 million people in 2012. Beyond the famous Acropolis in Athens and the hundreds of archaeological sites scattered around the country, our Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman heritage has left us a wide range of sights worth exploring. Modern Greece is a fun-loving hospitable country with a world-class nightlife and contemporary artistic and creative hubs, many of which are located in the city of Thessaloniki itself. Our socials will have unlimited free alcohol and large dance-floors to ensure the fun doesn’t stop when the debating ends. Given that all our venues are within 3 km of each other in the downtown of Thessaloniki, we are able to guarantee that you will be spending less time in buses and more time socialising with other participants.

Why should you trust us? We wanted to create a bid that is not dependent on inherently speculative claims about sponsorship in delivering its core promises. We are confident that we can run a great tournament with excellent adjudication and fun socials on registration fees (max 400 Euros) alone. We’re also confident that we won’t need to! Given our partners’ extensive networks of NGO’s and corporate partners and our experience in fundraising we’ll look to offer even more, for less. The Debating Society of Greece has been previously run events funded by the European Commission, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung and local authorities in Greece, while past in-kind sponsors have included Heineken and Red Bull. Our org-comm have proven experience working at the epicentre of planning and organisation for Belgrade Euros, managing the finances and logistics at Athens WSDC 2009, convening half a dozen international opens, renowned for their on-time tabbing and scheduling and putting together and run over 40 national competitions in Greece, Finland and Serbia.

Driving the debating side of things at Thessaloniki WUDC 2016 is our dedicated and diverse adjudication core. Our CA Manos Moschopoulos has been in the adjudication core of over 24 international debating tournaments in Britain, Europe and the Middle East, has judged the ESL final of the European Universities Debating Championship and the finals of the Cambridge, SOAS and Paris IVs, while as a debater, he was the World’s Best ESL Speaker. Tasneem Elias joins the team as DCA having won WUDC ESL and been Worlds breaking adjudicator twice, while also DCAing Australs, PAUDC, OIC Debates, SMU Hammers, EF Malang Indonesia, Malaysian Debate Open. DCA Chris Bisset was the joint Best Speaker at Berlin Worlds and the Champion and Best Speaker at Australs in Wellington. Since judging the ESL grand final at Worlds he has been the DCA at UT Mara Australs 2013 and a DCA of the Australian Intervarsity Debating Championships. They’ll be joined by three DCAs appointed in keeping with the need to ensure regional, gender and language diversity. All members of our team regularly attend competitions and will continue to spreading debate to new communities, having already run hundreds of tournaments and workshops all over the world.

To add to that, we are delighted to have a Director of Training in Nita Rao that will revolutionise the way our competition approaches training. Nita will head workshops during the event itself that will help the participants gain more valuable skills from participating at Worlds. WUDC is in a unique position to benefit the global debate community by making sure that as many debaters as possible can attend, while also boosting the quality of their feedback and development at the event.

Thessaloniki is incredibly positioned to be one of the most affordable destinations. Europeans from twenty cities are treated with a huge number of affordable flights directly to Thessaloniki thanks to low-cost giants Ryanair and easyJet hubbing from our city. Greece itself, as a top international destination for business and leisure, is very well linked to international airline networks as the home of Aegean Airlines, a Star Alliance carrier. Our team recently found that it is between 15% and 40% cheaper to get to Thessaloniki then it is to get to Johannesburg from cities such as Bangkok, Beijing, Tokyo, New York, Toronto and Los Angeles.

The comparatively lower cost of getting to Thessaloniki means that our guaranteed €50,000 in adjudication subsidies will go a long way. It will allow us to bring at least 70 world-class chair judges and create a diverse high quality pool. As this is one of our top priorities, we will also allocate any sponsorship funds towards strengthening our adjudication pool.

We look forward to sharing more of our plans with you in the lead up to Worlds in Chennai. We hope that you’ll trust us to deliver an amazing debating experience in Thessaloniki 2016!

doorBionda Merckens

Research has shown that…

It’s unbelievable, but some people still try to win debates with the argument that ‘scientific research has shown that…’. We should know better than to quote the last headline from some random internet source.

But suppose that you’re sitting on what you believe to be a ‘killer fact’ – something that can win the debate for you immediately. How then should you use it, if you want to avoid saying ‘research has shown that…’?

Meer lezen

doorBionda Merckens

IDAS 2013

Now for the eleventh time in a row Za in Proti, the national debate program of Slovenia, and the World Debate Institute of the University of Vermont (USA) are organising the International Debate Academy Slovenia (IDAS). This week is a bootcamp for students, trainers and those who want to organise a tournament. The event closes with a tournament (6 rounds, Worlds Format) in Ljubljana, Slovenia.


Saturday November 23:

Today is arrival day, about 110 persons (including trainers) from all over the world. Think: China, Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, Kazahstan, Kosovo, Netherlands, Nigeria, Poland, Romania, South Africa, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, USA and Venezuela. We are staying in the incredibly nice Alpine Resort Hotel Špik near the border of Slovenia with Austria and Italy. After dinner we get an introduction to the program of coming week and we get a show debate on the motion: THW ban unpaid internships. Everyone is happy when the debate is over and one can sleep of another part of their jetlag. But not before all teams for the debate tournament have been formed and communicated.


Sunday till Thursday:

After breakfast a short introduction of the day is given and then we start. At 9:00h our first lecture, we are divided in three groups based on level, experience (in years and number of tournaments) and on the basis of nationality. The given lectures are on for example strategy. After an hour we continue with a round of exercises. Also divided in smaller groups, we discuss different strategies and approaches to different motions. Right after we are finished, the motion of the first round drops: TH regrets the Sochi Olympics. Worlds format, seven minute speeches, feedback and results followed, finally, by lunch. We have a bit time left to relax before two rounds of electives start. These are small classes on specific subjects or on specific techniques. Think of POIs for beginners, the ABC of human rights, statehood and secession, advocacy and lobbying and so on. Followed by, yes, another debate. We help ourselves to dinner and in the evening we got a social.

Motions on Sunday:

Morning debate: TH regrets the Sochi Olympics.

Afternoon debate: THW support the right to secession.

Social on Sunday:

All the countries brought something special of their country and in the bar downstairs we are organising a country exhibition. Which means we spend the evening drinking vodka, eating stroopwafels while being covered in protective eyes of Turkey. Although it is nice and cosy, all know where to find their beds early in the evening. A combination of jetlag and exhaustion due to active participation I would guess.


Monday November 25

The sun is shining and while we have an incredible view on the Alps, we continue sucking up debating strategies, tactics and theories. Here are today’s motions and a short overview of the social.

Motions on Monday:

Morning debate: When applying for adoption, THW positively discriminate in favor fo same-sex couples.

Afternoon debate: TH regrets German domination of the EU.

Social on Monday:

Exhaustion doesn’t play a role here at all. They come by our rooms, drag us out of our beds, ok more or less voluntary and with help of room mates. There is no choice but going down to the bar and enjoy the ‘Squirrel games’. And where most of you would directly think of the debate implications, no it was simply about succeeding in tasks to escape our imprisonment by the squirrels in the forest that surrounds us. From pictionary to drinking games to human knots, we got it all. In the end the ‘Whoehaha’s’ unfortunately took the title of Master of the Squirrels  over the ‘What’s left’? Well let’s just say that sometimes it is better not to be able to mimic THB there is no day after tomorrow, than to be called ‘Master of the Squirrels’ for the rest of the week.


Tuesday November 26

Another day of debating, lectures and fun.

Motions on Tuesday:

Morning debate: THBT the Nobel Prize Committee should cancel the Nobel Peace Prize of Barack Obama.

Afternoon debate: THW make all public toilets unisex.

Social on Tuesday:

Today the afternoon debate and the social were switched. For those who do not know yet, we are in one of the most amazing hotels in the Alps enjoying the well-deserved good life of a debater. To give us the chance to actually use the inside pool, a pool party in the afternoon is welcomed widely. This gives us a pool full of debaters playing Marco Polo, the guys showing off on each others shoulders and all in turns relaxing in the Jacuzzi.


Wednesday November 27

Today lectures are about poi’s mainly. What to do, when to do it and how to do it.

Motions on Wednesday:

Morning debate: THBT governments should actively discourage consumer lifestyles.

Afternoon debate: TH supports the force feeding of incarcerated hunger strikers.

Social on Wednesday:

Those who wanted to do an act were invited to sign up and come to the bar downstairs. When in the end no one signed up at all, it was said that each country should do something. This created an evening of very bad Romanian music, although very much appreciated, classical American songs in karaoke, guitar playing, dancing and even an martial arts demonstration.


Thursday November 28

Last day of trainings, last day in the hotel and the last day of practise debates.

Motions on Thursday:

Morning debate: THW ban multinational beverage corporations.

Afternoon debate: THW grant to all indigenous groups the right to their own legal system based on their traditions.

Social on Thursday:

Just a tip for those who organise socials: providing debaters with a kitsch party might just get you the evening of a life time. Clothes were exchanged, swim suits came out to have a whole other purpose and a lot of the stereotypes were met. Even though the internet wasn’t always supporting the music, enough Ipods came up with classic songs and music to go all the way.

The motions of the tournament:

Round 1: TH will impose a tax to reduce the gender pay gap.

Round 2: THBT EU nations should stop cooperating with the USA on intelligence matters.

Round 3: THW not watch pornography.

Round 4: THW pay reparations to European Roma.

Round 5: THBT all corporations should become cooperatives owned and operated by workers.

Round 6: THBT the dead are the property of the state.


Breaking teams: Team (points, speaks)

1. Woodward Beaton (16, 979)

2. Senghas Solnick (15, 950)

3. Koruza Medvedsek (13, 937)

4. Kukavica Munda (13, 928)

5. Groenewald Craffert (13, 928)

6. Hrzic Cvikl (12, 947)

7. Surdea Toade (12, 936)

8. Kruchkow Munsil (12, 909)

9. Lukomska Decharne (12, 909)

10. Aggerwal Tumas (11, 927)

11. Smigoc Persak (11, 919)

12. Mehedinti Cimpeanu (11, 916)

13. Polsak Svagan (11, 911)

14. Berger Cvikl (11, 907)

(15.) Porter Cope (10, 937)

(16.) Mata Villegas (10, 902)

Motion quarterfinals: THW not induce a tax on bitcoins.




OG: Aggerwal Tumas

OO: Senghas Solnick

CG: Berger Cvikl

CO Koruza Medvedsek

Room 13

OG: Mehedinti Cimpeanu

OO: Groenewald Craffert

CG: Lukomska Decharne

CO: Woodward Beaton

Motion semi-finals: THW apply universal jurisdiction to crimes against the environment.



OG: Aggerwal Tumas

OO: Koruza Medvedsek

CG: Woodward Beaton

CO: Lukomska Decharne

Motion final: THBT the recent Geneva agreement with Iran will fail.

Congratulations to Stephen Beaton and Trevor Woodward of the US Air Force Academy on winning IDAS 2013, as well to Stephen for being best speaker (82,33 average).

Thanks also to Za in Pronti and the University of Vermont for organising, the huge faculty of providing the best trainings and never be tired of giving feedback.

doorBionda Merckens

EurOpen: Break Rounds and Results!

Team tab

Speaker tab


The winner of the EurOpen 2013 is Canada East! Congratulations.

Best non-native team: Czech Republic Red

Top speakers:

1. Peter Coczanski (Canada West; average 73,4583)

2. Nasra Moumin (Canada West; average 73,2000)

3. Jangkyu Lee (Korea; average 73,1282)

4. Karl Valentini (Canada East; average 72,9000)

5. Swish Goswami (Canada East; average 72,8333)

6. Anzal Faran Baig (Czech Four; average 72,7708)

7. Graeme Climie (Canada West; average 72,5667)

8. Amy Bakx (Netherlands 1; average 72,3194)

9. Behbod Negahban (Canada West; average 72,3000)

10. Lloyd Liall (Canada East; average 72,2456)


Top non-native speakers:

1. Jangkyu Lee (Korea; average 73,1282)

2. Anzal Faran Baig (Czech Four; average 72,7708)

3. Amy Bakx (Netherlands 1; average 72,3194)



Motion: THW offer dictators immunity in return for leaving power

Canada West 3 – 6 Canada East



Motion: THW tie development aid to women’s rights

Semifinal 1: Korea 0 – 7 Canada West

Semifinal 2: Canada East 6 – 1 Czech Republic Red



Motion: THBT doctors should be required to report cases of domestic abuse to the police

Quarterfinal 1: Canada West 3 – 2 Israel

Quarterfinal 2: Canada East  –  England 2

Quarterfinal 3: Karlsgymnasium Stuttgart  –  Czech Republic Red

Quarterfinal 4: Netherlands 2 1 – 4 Korea



Motion: THBT censorship of the media has no place in the modern age

Octofinal 1: Canada West  –  Romania Central

Octofinal 2: Canada East –  Denmark

Octofinal 3: Karlsgymnasium Stuttgart  –  Israel 2

Octofinal 4: Korea Underestimated 0 – 3 Netherlands 2

Octofinal 5: Korea  –  Czech Republic Four

Octofinal 6: Czech Republic Red  –  Czech Republic White

Octofinal 7: Toron Korea  –  England 2

Octofinal 8: Germany Black  –  Israel

The break:

1. Canada West (8 wins, 21 judges, 6092 speaks)
2. Canada East (7 wins, 22 judges, 6080,5 speaks)
3. Karlsgymnasium Stuttgart (7 wins, 21 judges, 5938 speaks)
4. Netherlands 2 (7 wins, 20 judges, 6033,5 speaks)
5. Korea (7 wins, 20 judges, 6030,5 speaks)
6. Czech Republic Red (7 wins, 19 judges, 5976 speaks)
7. Toron Korea (6 wins, 17 judges, 5973,5 speaks)
8. Germany Black (6 wins, 17 judges, 5931,5 speaks)
9. Israel 1 (6 wins, 16 judges, 5964,5 speaks)
10. England 2 (6 wins, 16 judges, 5908 speaks)
11. Czech Republic White (5 wins, 15 judges, 5877 speaks)
12. Czech Republic Four (5 wins, 14 judges, 5944 speaks)
13. Korea Underestimated (5 wins, 14 judges, 5933,5 speaks)
14. Israel 2 (5 wins, 14 judges, 5892 speaks)
15. Denmark (5 wins, 13 judges, 5925,5 speaks)
16. Romania Central (4 wins, 16 judges, 5881 speaks)