Categorie Archief Nieuws

doorBestuur Nederlandse Debatbond

Preview EUDC 2018 Novi Sad

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

Judging:
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

Tabbing:
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!

 

Здраво!

doorBestuur Nederlandse Debatbond

Interview with EUDC CA: Gigi Gil

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.

doorBestuur Nederlandse Debatbond

EDS Tips and Tricks: How to recruit new members

Written by Lena Martinović

 

As it is July, most societies are starting to plan their promotional strategies on how to attract more members to their society. There are multiple ways how to do so, and my best recommendation is to look into what your university offers and what you as a society can afford. In this article, I will highlight some tips and tricks that we as EDS think are useful for every society to know.

At EDS, our biggest event for attracting new members are the Beginner’s Workshops. The training event is organized over two evenings, during which participants are introduced first to public speaking, and then the following week, to British Parliamentary. This week is meant to introduce the society to students, so we also take participants out for drinks afterward. We also talk about the things we do as the society, such as members weekend, Christmas dinner, various socials, etc. At the end of the evening, you should sit by the exit and get people to sign up as members. People are more likely to become members if you hand them all the information, rather than let them find it themselves. When you organize the second week of the training, when you show what BP debating is all about, make sure to have a show debate! Showcase what debating is all about with a fun and accessible motion that everyone can enjoy.

But in order to get people to attend the Beginner’s Workshops and sign up, there is some work that needs to be done beforehand. Promotion of the event is done both in person and via the internet.

During Eurekaweek, Erasmus University’s annual introductory week for students, we have a stand where we talk to students and introduce the society to them. You don’t have to send your best debaters to this, because a personal approach, where people tell their anecdotes and stories on how debating has impacted them and what they can do. Mention that you get to explore different cities in Europe by maybe showing a map of where your society and its members had been in the past year. For many students, debating in English is a huge barrier, so tell students that their English will improve. What we do during the Eurekaweek, we also collect email addresses of interested people, in order to keep them informed. Use this list later, to remind people to come to the workshop. In the past, we have usually used a piece of paper where we had people write their name and email. I would recommend using a computer (it will save you time transcribing! ☺)

I would also suggest making flyers that you can give to students that come to visit your booth. I would also check with the board organizing the promotional week if you can add your flyers to the students’ bags, so that you can reach as many students as possible. Also, if your promotional budget allows it, you can also give gifts to participants. A little trinket or two, that students can remember your society.

Ok, so the in-person part of promoting the Beginner’s workshops is over. Don’t forget to also promote it online! Facebook has a really nice function where you can target advertise the event. What this means is that you can promote the event to certain groups or interests. So for example, you could target it to anyone from ages 17-24, that goes to Erasmus University Rotterdam and has liked BBC, The Economist or something similar. Another thing you can do is use your university’s online notice board. To avoid having the message buried with other news, I would recommend having it posted a few or so times. Make sure it is posted one or two days before the event.

 

Finally, make sure to update the facebook event with the information on the event. Posts on trainers with their picture, a schedule, plans for afterwards, etc are all useful to keep the engagement of the page going.

What I would also recommend is to contact the people booking the rooms for your practice evening. They are likely to know, or could point you in the direction of the promotional department of your university and you can see what is free or what has a low cost so that you can promote your society. At Erasmus University, you can hang up a poster on the notice board for free. We also hire hanging space in one of the buildings, where we display a larger poster. We usually book it during the weeks of beginner’s workshops, so that people are more incentivized to come, since it doesn’t require any background knowledge.

You can also organize another round of workshops in late January, early February for the second semester exchange students, or for those that would like to start debating, but could not do so earlier. The practice would be similar, however you are likely only going to be able to use the online promotional platforms, rather than the information stands. Even if your university offers an information stand, the cost likely would not justify it.

Good luck!

doorBestuur Nederlandse Debatbond

Behind… Linsey Keur

Written by Anna Wesdorp

Meeting someone and finding out that she will become a dear friend, is probably one of the best things that can ever happen to you. When I first met Linsey, I saw a lovely student with an amazing fashion taste. A connection between the two of us came rather quickly during Maastricht Open. I found out that there was more to her than just a student that had debating as a hobby/lifestyle. So, who is Linsey?

“I grew up in a small village named Woubrugge, which is close to Leiden. One of the clearest memories I have of my youth, is when I was around seven years old. A friend of mine and I made a drawing with chalk on the sidewalk. We were so proud of what we made, but my neighbor became angry and removed the drawing with water. I don’t know why, but this had quite the impact on the young me.” Linsey was born in 1997. She started debating in high school. The reason why was quite ironic. “Because of an injury, I wasn’t able to play football, which led to me having lots of spare time. When my teacher of subject Dutch asked me to join the debating team, I thought it was nice to try it out for once.” Little did she know that one debate would quickly turn into years filled with debates.

At the moment, Linsey studies history in Groningen at the university. She also works at the university in Groningen and sometimes spends her weekends debating. In Groningen, she debates at GDS Kalliope, where she is also the treasurer and vice-president. On top of that, she currently also fulfills these functions in the board of the ‘Nederlandse Debatbond’. “One moment I would love to experience again is the NK finale of 2018. When we broke to the finale, both Joris and I were surprised that we made it and it was a very lovely moment. I still feel very proud of that moment.”

Linsey isn’t one to give up quickly. She describes herself as a hard worker with a lot of things on her agenda, as stubborn and one who doesn’t give up very quickly. “Every day, I try to be a better version of myself. I don’t like to compare myself with others. I think I mainly got this attitude from my father, so in a way, he is an inspiration to me.” She tries to live by the rule: “Be better than you were yesterday.”

In the future, Linsey has set a few goals for herself. Within debating, she would love to break at a big international tournament as EUDC and WUDC. Outside of debating, she wants to keep reaching her goals considering losing weight, traveling a lot and getting her bachelor diploma.

For me, Linsey is this source of positivity and a lot of experiences. She is a very strong woman who definitely knows what she wants. Not only is she an amazing debater, but also an amazing person.

doorBestuur Nederlandse Debatbond

Knowledge in debates: Motion Review Amsterdam Open

by Matt Hazell

 

Many motions in debating will have proper nouns in them, and examples are always useful in these cases. However, you can never win or lose in BP debating via example alone. The purpose of outside knowledge in debates is to illustrate the arguments you are making. Importantly this means that facts, without good logical analysis underpinning them, are of little merit. In this article we will look at one specific motion set at the Amsterdam Open 2018, and look at how to approach this seemingly technical debate without knowing much at all. The motion is as follows:

 

Info slide:

Structural adjustment programmes (SAPs) consist of loans provided by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to countries that experienced economic crises. The IMF requires borrowing countries to implement certain policies (e.g austerity measures, reducing trade tariffs etc) in order to receive these loans (or to lower interest rates on existing ones).

 

Motion:

This House Believes that the IMF should pay reparations to countries that experienced severe economic hardship as a consequence of IMF restructuring programs

 

General Approach

Firstly – don’t panic! Remember that in debating, teams do not win or lose on the “truth” of their arguments. It is impossible to determine, within the confines of a BP debate at least, what the specific effect of a motion will be. Rather your aim as a speaker is to persuade the judges that it is plausible that a certain thing will happen. Whether or not that is true in real life, in debating anything you can construct sensible reasons for can be weighed in the debate. The average reasonable voter does not have a PhD in economics! You can say things that will have economic theorists like Keynes turning in their graves and still get an 87.

 

When approaching a motion you aren’t sure you know much about, the first thing to remember is that you probably know more than you think. You probably know that the IMF is an organisation that provides loans to countries that are undergoing severe economic crises. Often these loans are tied to specific conditions (this fact is given in the info slide as well as examples of such conditions). You also probably know (or can infer) that it is primarily backed by western countries, because those countries are the wealthiest.

From these basics, and a general understanding of the world in general , we can construct relatively compelling prop and opp cases.

 

Broad Clashes

As either team in the debate, it is always useful to work out what both sides are likely to agree upon. Namely that the IMF is in general a useful institution and we would like to preserve its capacity to act in future economic crises. Given that, we can predict that the two broad areas of clash in this debate are likely to be:

1) Countries that have experienced economic hardship as a result of IMF policies:

  • Moral culpability of IMF
    • Did they know hardship would result? Does it matter?
    • Did counties accept this risk when they agreed to the loan? Did they have a choice?
    • In the counterfactual (the world were the IMF did not give them the loan) would things have been better? Does this matter for assigning moral culpability?
  • Utility of reparations
    • Will they help the economy or cause further damage?
    • Will they go to the right people?

 

2) Effect this has on future IMF policy

  • Simple cost argument – these reparations will cost a lot of money!
  • Will the IMF be more hesitant to offer loans in the future?
    • Is greater scrutiny before loaning necessarily a bad thing?
    • Will this result in changing the nature of the loans given?
  • Donors and controlling powers of the IMF – does this affect their willingness to provide capital?

 

Importantly, these two themes of argumentation can work separately from each other. For example, prop could argue that the moral culpability of the IMF means that it does not matter if the organisation is bankrupted by this policy and unable to give loans in the future. Similarly, opp could agree that the IMF has harmed these countries but that its role as a stabilising influence on the world economy is too important to lose. If either side wants to win then they need to provide good reasons (i.e weighing) as to why we should care more about one set of arguments than the other. In reality, it is always a good tactic to engage in both areas of clash, as well as explaining why the one you are focussing on is the most important clash.

Now let’s look at what each individual team might want to argue, without using specialist knowledge.

 

Proposition

If you are OG, you probably want to define the motion. If you know very little, it is better to be broader and vaguer than trying to be very specific and missing the point. In this case you need to define:

  • How you will decide which countries this applies to
  • What the nature of the reparations will be

An independent panel of economic experts is probably best suited to decide which countries deserve reparations. Reparations in the form of direct cash transfers to either governments or individual citizens works well here. The second part is probably more contentious: who do you give the money to?  Governments will give the advantage of you arguing this money will be used sensibly to develop the economy, e.g infrastructure projects etc; but are also at risk of corruption / vanity projects. Individual citizens may use the money in a manner that doesn’t help the economy, and could potentially lead to local inflation. In any case, you want this decided quickly so you can get on to arguments.

The first prop argument you will likely want to make is the principle of culpability. The IMF gave money to desperate countries and imposed specific economic conditions on them. As a result these countries experienced hardship. You can argue that A) the IMF did this with bad intentions, or without full diligence (e.g things like reduced tariffs were imposed to benefit the economies of the IMF’s international backers) or B) it doesn’t matter whether the IMF knew this would happen or not, because the end result is the same.

We might also want to argue that these conditions were imposed under pressure – the counties did not have a meaningful option to not accept these deals, due to their financial collapse. This means they did not fully consent to the conditions attached, and so were incapable of performing their own due diligence.

We may also want to argue that, if the countries had not taken IMF loans, they would be materially better than if they had done. This argument can be made to sound plausible even if you know nothing or that it is factually untrue in the real world. We can do this by claiming things like:

  • Often financial crises are temporary, and governments are pressured into accepting bailouts prematurely
  • Other parties would have eventually offered help, and with fewer conditions (e.g by wiping out/reducing debt obligations, direct bailouts etc)
  • A direct claim to fact that the result of these conditions led to irreparable damage to industries (for example  no protections meant multinational companies now own all the natural resource extraction rights)

Reparations are a proportionate and fair recompense for this because they will make the country richer. Governments can use this money to directly reimburse those who lost out due to the IMF programs, or to grow the economy presently. We can also argue that one of the biggest harms of the IMF program was that it stripped the countries of their own autonomy in decision making – hence giving them money with no strings attached is the only fair solution.

 

On the second set of arguments, about the future of the IMF, we may want to say things like:

  • This makes the IMF more accountable – it cannot simply offer loans and forget about the country afterwards. This means the IMF will offer better loans in the future.
  • Countries are increasingly turning to other sources of aid, e.g money from Russia/China, as they lose confidence in the IMF and the conditions attached to the aid they give. These alternatives might be bad as
    • The IMF has less influence over them.
    • The conditions attached are often political, rather than economic. This makes them seem good short term but are not long term, as China expects support at the UN or to place military bases in these countries (this may or may not be true, but can plausibly be said in the debate)

These arguments can all be made from first principles and very limited knowledge of the world, and cover many of the bases in this debate.

 

Opposition

Opp have a tactical choice in what arguments they want to prioritise in this debate. I think a good approach is to think about which clashes are easier to win on, and prioritise them. For example, prop have reasonable fiat to exclude countries that were primarily harmed by other things (governmental policy, commodity price drops (e.g oil)). This means that it is probably true that the IMF definitely caused economic hardship to these countries. It will be hard to win on culpability.

However, this does not mean you should ignore this area of the debate. A good approach is to try and make parts of the debate you can’t win on sufficiently messy that the other side can’t win on them either. Hence, we want to claim things like:

  • The IMF acted in good faith and therefore aren’t accountable, even if harm resulted
  • Other actors would have stepped in and made it worse (e.g China, private organisations)
  • Even in the cases where harm was done, it is hard to pin it on the IMF alone – often a multitude of factors contributed to this.

Hence, even if the judge does not entirely believe you, there is sufficient doubt in their mind as to whether culpability is absolute and so they will be unlikely to award the debate on these grounds alone.

 

The next step in this analysis is to explain that, given you cannot definitively assign moral blame, the overriding concern should be the ability of the IMF to act in a useful capacity in the future. This is because, though harm was done in the past, the primary function of the IMF is to prevent future harms. If the IMF is unable to do this then a) more harm will accrue to more people as financial crashes spread more rapidly, or b) other worse actors will provide these loans.

 

Now it is incumbent on you to explain who these other actors are and why they are worse, and how exactly the IMF will lose the ability to fund things in future. For example:

  • Cost argument – this will cost trillions of dollars to have any meaningful effect
  • Some of the countries that were harmed by the IMF have since recovered, and so international donors will buy in less as the money doesn’t seem to be going where it is needed.
  • International donors to the IMF don’t want to expose themselves to future risk (maybe diplomatic as opposed to direct financial responsibility) for IMF projects that go sour.

 

Other arguments you could make are that these changes in the IMF (if the organisation continues to exist), are very damaging:

  • If the IMF becomes a lot more risk-averse, they could refuse loans to the countries who would need it the most. Those nations would have to have very big policy changes to make it viable for the IMF to loan to them, but the IMF no longer wants to loan to the riskiest cases because it could backfire a lot.
  • The reparations paid to the nations are going to backfire and create more corruption or other issues: making the problems to countries even worse than they were before.  

With this done, you have a solid two-pronged approach to the debate that will serve you well.

 

Conclusions

Of course examples and specific knowledge is useful in a debate, but their absence doesn’t mean you are automatically going to lose the debate! Most debates have a set of clashes that can be derived from logic alone, and the arguments can be made based on very limited information about the real world. A useful tactic against teams that know a lot is to claim the inverse of their arguments (with some analytic reasons as to why) and then side-step them by claiming their arguments are unimportant or less relevant than yours. The brunt of this work will be done not by factual arguments but by logical reasoning.

Some Case Studies

You might have got to the end of this and wondered, “that is all well and good but what if I do want some knowledge?” Well, here are some handy articles to get up to speed on the IMF and some of the examples that are most relevant to the debate:

 

The IMF in its own words:

http://www.imf.org/en/About/Factsheets/IMF-at-a-Glance

 

Opinion piece/explainer on how Structural Adjustment Funds can cause poverty: http://www.globalissues.org/article/3/structural-adjustment-a-major-cause-of-poverty

 

Simple explainer of criticism of IMF loans:

https://www.economicshelp.org/blog/glossary/imf-criticism/

 

Short article explaining some negative consequences of IMF Policy:

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/oct/09/the-world-bank-and-the-imf-wont-admit-their-policies-are-the-problem

 

Article on the Asian Financial Crisis and how the IMF contributed to it:

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-06/imf-struggles-to-shake-off-stigma-20-years-after-asia-crisis

 

Website dedicated to critiques of IMF (and WB)

http://www.brettonwoodsproject.org

 

Article on the evaluation of the IMF about the policies in 1990’s in Argentina:  

https://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/30/business/report-looks-harshly-at-imf-s-role-in-argentine-debt-crisis.html

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DDL: The Final Edition

Written by Jos

Today is the final day of the Dutch Debating League! Filled with excitement because… I don’t know, Groningen and Tilburg are battling for 6th place? I mean Leiden already won this thing right? Any way. On to the preview of the teams!

Cicero: David and Mike
Wait, is Mike still a member of Cicero? Didn’t he move to Leiden? And who is this David guy? Couldn’t Roel be bothered to show up? Any way. I’m sure they’ll do great. Mike did break at EUDC after all and has 11 years of debating experience. David did judge the finals of Dutch nationals. This is a team that’s going to kick some ass!

Bona: Marike and Tom
Would have sort of expected Marike to have made the move to LDU by now where she would be an organizational powerhouse instantly. Guessing this is prep for EUDC. Kind of expecting these two to do well at EUDC, they did so last year as well. Kind of surprised Tom is still this invested in debating tho, heard he’s doing well in fiscal law. I think the former love birds are going to fly away with it at this event!

Delft: Niels and Reeti
Man… Delft. I love Delft. Such a nicely organized debating society. We have Niels, former champion of BDT, and Reeti, engineer. Are any of them attending EUDC? I don’t know. Delft will take the 8th place. I think they nevertheless showed they belong at this stage. They only missed one event right? I bet UCU is going to be like “We want to join DDL!” at the next Bondsraad and then they are going to get some non-committal response “Yes. We will look into it.” And Delft is like “No, that’s our spot.” Except Delft probably won’t be present for the meeting, because, honestly, why would you show up to a Bondsraad?

GDS: Henk and Linsey
Is that GDS dino Henk? So many great tournaments in Tilburg every year and he shows up for this? And of course Linsey, finalist of Dutch nationals, showing up for her 4th debating event in Tilburg this year. Kalliope has shown a strong presence at DDL events, what they lack in new members they make up for in enthusiasm among existing ones. I’m pretty confident they’ll secure that 6th place finish on Linsey’s road to a possible EUDC break.

UDS: Jelte and Pieter
I think I can tell these two apart now. Only took me like three years. We have Pieter, future doctor and Jelte, future person-that-tells-corporations-what-they-want-to-hear-for-money-without-adding-any-real-value, or consultant as he likes to say. These two have been training hard together for years now and are in tip-top-shape. Jelte also stands out for being the person that made the Debatbond do something useful for once in my lifetime (as opposed to just draining time and energy) by starting the DDL, so shout-out to him for that. It doesn’t matter how they finish, the fact that this event is happening is a win for Jelte.

EDS: Emma and Fenna
These two average like 80’s at tournaments. And they were super-close to breaking at EUDC last year. Shout-out to Fenna for having a top notch board year, with EDS recruiting like 70 members. I’m sure they’ll do great and kick some ass. If EDS has a hall of fame it’s pretty much about time to start making room in it for Emma and Fenna!

LDU: Roel and Ybo
Son-of-a-philosophy-teacher turned philosophy student Roel and son-of-a-judge turned law student Ybo are continuing a lifelong streak of never leaving their comfort zone by showing up to a debate event where there’s nothing at stake for them. For the team that previously reached a EUDC and a Dutch nationals finals taking home anything below 8 points is considered a defeat. All in all, if we look at the narrative for next DDL LDU being dominating is pretty great as every story needs a villain. LDU racking up points is like Ivan Drago beating the crap out of Apollo Creed. Now all we need is a Rocky!

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Interview with our own EUDC CA’s Daan and Gigi

Written by Huyen

 

Interview Novi Sad EUDC 2018

2018 marks the 20th installment of the European Universities Debating Championship (EUDC), which will take place in Novi Sad, Serbia. At the end of July, hundreds of debaters from all across Europe will travel to the Championship to debate, party and make new friends! The Dutch delegation is of course well represented, with almost every society sending teams and judges. But, teams and judges are not the only representatives of the Dutch debating community. Daan Welling and Gigi Gil have been selected to become Deputy Chief Adjudicators of the Chief Adjudication team at Novi Sad EUDC. Both Daan and Gigi are of course famous Dutch debaters, who themselves have achieved many great things at past EUDC’s. Time to get to know them a bit more and see how they are experiencing the whole build-up for the biggest European tournament of the year. 720 reporter Huyen talked with both of them!

 

How did you decide to apply for DCA spot at EUDC 2018?

Gigi: I was nominated actually. Until I was notified I had been nominated, I had not seriously thought about it. Then I was like “Actually it sounds like a lot of fun”, and if people consider me qualified then it’s worth applying. And to be honest, I just really enjoy CA-ing.

Daan: I think the selfish part of my reasoning is that, I had just been part of the core organizing team for Dutch Worlds, which took a lot of time and effort to prepare, and I found I didn’t really get the chance to enjoy it. For most of my generation of debaters, Worlds would’ve been the peak of my career and I wanted to enjoy that peak. Given I didn’t, I wanted to take another shot at leaving university debate on a high note. But more importantly, obviously you don’t just want to apply to something just to get something, but because you also have something to offer. And in my regard, what I have to offer the team was a healthy dose of experience, particularly running large internationals. I think most people, when thinking of being a CA team, think primarily about motion setting. Although that is an important task, tournaments of this size also require us to recruit judges  and keep in close contact with the Org Com. I thought that was the part that I could play a role, that’s why I applied.

 

What do you think about the emergency switch from Scottish to Novi Sad EUDC? Any specific changes to your duty as a DCA in EUDC because of this incidence?

Gigi: Obviously it’s just regrettable how things happened. I’d say I’m most impressed and most overwhelmed by how amazing it is that people were willing to take over. That’s just wild, they really really are competent, and we are very grateful! I don’t think much has changed for us. The OrgCom has been really nice and open to us. The other CAs like Duncan and Olivia do so much more with regards to communicating with the orgcom anyway.So it’s been pretty smooth for us in terms of transition, it just was like a break in time, we couldn’t do anything between the two switches. Now everything is pretty smooth sailing, to be honest.

Daan: Euros is run by volunteers, which is crazy for a big event with such a massive budget. The budget of Euros regularly reaches near half a million, you have to accommodate over 600 people over a week. And all of that is done on a volunteer basis with no pay, and perhaps more importantly, all the work is done alongside people’s degrees. So any organization that says “We’re willing to host it”, beyond being slightly crazy, is an organization that I think we should all be incredibly grateful for. Given those numbers and the tasks, it is not completely weird that a bid sometimes fails to materialize. I’m not old enough to have experienced it myself before, but it has happened before, and I think it will happen again in the future. Moving onto Novi Sad, I am incredibly happy with Jovan. He and his team are working amazingly around the clock, and the fact that they are able to secure things this late in the game, I think, is truly a testament to their commitment to debating. Insofar as we needed to switch away from Scotland, I don’t think we could have asked for a better team to take up the amount of organizing a Euros in such a short fashion.

My duty as a DCA has not really changed. We all work with small teams. We are very fortunate to have Olivia and Duncan as incredibly hard-working CAs, and I think the organization has been made in such a way that they are able to do different tasks efficiently. So we are just doing the normal things as we do as DCAs. We are working both on the motions and on getting Independent Adjudicators in. If you are working with such a large organization, you can’t try to be the one that is aware of everything that’s going on. As that is such an impossible job, it’s only really the convenor’s task. And I think what we need to do is to make sure that the convenor’s life is better, by not trying to engage in his business, but rather do our businesses well.

 

How is the working collaboration going with the new Org Comm team from Serbia?

Gigi: We speak mostly with Jovan, and Jovan is just a f*cking “trooper”. He works very very very hard, and is super motivated. Also not just to run Euros to make everything excellent, he’s putting us on the spot, i.e the pressure that is exactly what we need from OrgCom. So I think he’s pretty phenomenal.

Daan: Similar as in my answer in previous question, I don’t there is much of a difference. That being said, the way in which we do, is primarily we work a little bit independently, I think that’s important. I think there is not anything I shouldn’t know, knowing too much about the ins and outs of the organization might in fact distract me from doing part of my duty. So most of the essential communication is done through the CAs. Obviously we communicated much more when it settles down, we needed to know much more information and task division gets clearer.

 

What are you most looking forward to in this Euros edition?

Gigi: I’m really excited, I really enjoy the whole process of finding judges across Europe, CA-ing across Europe and doing motion sets. It’s gonna be strange for me not to be there to see all that happens, but it’s probably gonna be amazing, especially given the pool of great judges I’ve seen across this year. I guess that’s what I’m most excited about!

Daan: I think every Euros is great, because it allows a large amount of communities to come together, which means you don’t just learn from people whom you always debate with. And that’s why I’m very happy to return to Novi Sad, because I think that debating is very important for this particular region. It is still within my lifetime that a war was waged here, it is still within my lifetime that people felt unsafe to speak up, and I think such opportunity remains fragile. And in that regard, I’m really happy to see many young people able to get engaged in debating, power-free thinking, critical reasoning and holding institutions accountable. I’m just happy to know I can contribute to a small part of that.

 

What do you hope to get out of your time in this Euros edition?

Gigi: So I already got a lot out of it, having been working super intensively with quite a big team over a pretty long period of time. A lot of them have taught me things about CA-ing that I didn’t know before, and I’ve changed my mind about some of the things that I was really dead set on. I think sometimes CAs tend to be very negative about ideas that they don’t initially understand, and this CA team is working really hard to get rid of that. All of our work is anonymized when we cooperate, so it’s very helpful to learn from that.

Daan: For me, this is my final big thing I’ll be doing. In that regard, I hope I set up something that is really cool, that we have amazing motions, that people are satisfied with the adjudication. If people tell me by the end that the tournament has been great I hope they don’t do that because they want to please me, but because they genuinely have a good time. And if that’s the case, I’d be really happy at Euros this year.

doorBestuur Nederlandse Debatbond

Maastricht mornings… In Belgium

Written by Mike Weltevreden

The Maastricht Open is a semi special tournament to me. It has given me a mixture of positive and negative experiences in a weird combination. In the first year that I went, it provided me with my first judge break. However, I had left before the break because I thought “there was no way I’d break anyway”. In the second year, Nikolai and I were doing well and drew OG on a motion discussing the special ties that the US has had with Syria. I thought that was fine, because we seemed to know a bit about the subject and OG is my favourite position anyway. Nearing the end of prep, the door opened, and the other teams walked in. It might be safe to say that we were not necessarily the most confident after they entered, because those other teams consisted of Lennart van Laake and Nina Ramaswamy, Jeroen Wijnen and Romée Lind, and Roel Becker and Ben Shaw. Nonetheless, we still gave good speeches and spent way too much time on Roel’s POI, asking Nikolai “what the Vatican would think of this policy”. In the third year, namely last year, the legendary “Highest, lowest”-meme was born. I spoke one of my best tournaments up to that point, speaking a 77,8 average if you do not count round 3. However, in round 3 I choked and spoke a 66. That brings me to this edition of the Maastricht Open, having taken place on the 21st and 22nd of April.

I left Tilburg on Friday the 20th of April to head to one of my favourite tournaments. I was teaming up with the ever-amazing Steven Glen (lots of love!) under the team name ‘Too bad Mr Peanut Butter’. However, that team name was not going to last long. At reg, we decided to change our team name to ‘Waking up at 5:30 am in Belgium’. Let’s give some context to that team name.

So, I arrived at the pre-reg location (the StayOkay next to the Maas) to meet up with our crash host. It was a nice location with a pretty cool view. We were informed in advance that our crash location was a bit out there and that we would have to cycle there. Little did we know, however, that we would be travelling to the faraway land of Belgium (okay, you could have predicted that). After Steven’s mum had driven us there, we first had to wait for the third person (a guy named Johannes) crashing there to arrive. So, Steven and I passed the time with a bit of Mario Kart on my Nintendo Switch (buy one, it’s great :D). After Johannes arrived, we quite quickly went to sleep, as we did have to get up at around 7:15 the next morning. This brings me to the other part of our team name: Johannes forgot to turn of his alarm for the previous night. Apparently, he is a police officer or so and he must get up early. As such, his alarm started blaring at 5:30 am, waking me from my lovely dream (I don’t remember what it was about, but I am sure that it was pretty good). Yuck.

This was the tale of our team name, I hope you enjoyed it and that it inspires you on your quest for a team name for the next tournament.

PS: The tournament itself was cool too, props to the orgcom, the volunteers, and the CA team. I had a stellar time!

doorBestuur Nederlandse Debatbond

Een kijkje achter de schermen bij het Nederlands Kampioenschap Debatteren!

Het verhaal van Roel Schoenmakers, co-convener NK

Het was ongeveer 9 uur s’ avonds toen ik gevraagd werd om het NK te convenen. Ik zat net een maandje in Hong Kong, en als ik eerlijk ben was ik nog niet op het punt dat ik snakte naar meer hooi op mijn vork. Maar het NK, daar wilde ik nog wel een uitzondering voor maken. De roem, de GLORIE, ik zag het al meteen voor me. Tussen de wolkenkrabbers en steegjes in nam ik mijn besluit: waarom ook niet. Er mag wel gezegd worden dat een toernooi organiseren op 9000km misschien iets uitdagender was dan ik me had voorgesteld, maar door een goede werkverdeling tussen mij en Joshua kwam dat allemaal eigenlijk wel goed. Waar ik tijd had stelde ik e-mails op, nam ik contact op met sponsoren en zocht ik mee naar een geschikte locatie. Joshua regelde een commissie, stelde het budget op en bezocht de scholen die de moeite namen op ons te reageren. Die dynamiek veranderde maar weinig nadat ik terug was gekomen, al schuiven taken natuurlijk altijd rond.

Eigenlijk was vanaf dag 1 de grootste uitdaging ons budget geweest. Hoewel er een reserve bestaat voor gevallen als de onze (wanneer vanwege tijd commerciële acquisitie moeilijk te lopen is) wilden we alles doen om te voorkomen dat we die nodig hadden. Toen we van Aevis en later ook de Gemeente uiteindelijk toezeggingen van steun kregen, sprongen we dan ook een gat in de lucht; een enorme last was van ons afgevallen en we konden ons nu echt focussen op de leukere dingen van het NK. Week na week werd het evenement scherper en scherper, en konden we het NK steeds helderder zien worden: de finale, het eten, de mensen, alles kreeg ineens geur en kleur en lichtte op alsof voor het eerst aangestoken. Dat Red Bull daadwerkelijk ja heeft gezegd, snappen we nog steeds niet helemaal, maar het memepotentiaal alleen al zorgde ervoor dat onze dag niet stuk kon. (Achteraf baal ik ook wel een beetje dat niemand tijdens de finale een blikje adten, maar ach, niet alles kan naar wens verlopen.)

Natuurlijk was er ook die andere grote uitdaging, namelijk het vinden van voldoende teams en juryleden. Nee, maak je geen zorgen, over de toestand van debatland gaan we het nu niet hebben. Wel is het goed om te vermelden dat dankzij verschillende hardwerkende bestuurders, zowel uit Tilburg als de rest van Nederland, er toch snel zekerheid was over het behalen van de ondergrens van benodigde teams. Het spreekt voor zich dat ook DSDC en aanvankelijk enkele lokale scholen hiervoor te danken zijn. Ook de hulp van het CA team bij hoe we het beste met deze situatie om konden gaan, zorgde voor rust en vertrouwen bij zowel mij als Joshua. Gezien ons verantwoordelijkheidsgevoel een zeker niet onbelangrijke bijdrage.

De laatste weken voor het NK raakten we natuurlijk nog wel eens in paniek. Een probleem met de cateraar hier, een afmelding daar; alles kan je van je stuk brengen als je op volledige spanning staat. Dat die spanning zich ontlaadde door ons in een soepele boog het NK-weekend in te lanceren, in plaats van ons door het plafond te rammen, maakte de organisatie tijdens de dagen zelf eigenlijk heel gladjes. We wisten dat we op onze vrijwilligers konden rekenen, en dat de meeste deelnemers bereid waren mee te werken met elk potentieel offer dat we van ze konden vragen. Aan het eind van de dag was het enige benodigde offer een vertraging van een half uur tijdens het avondeten, en hoewel een zekere lange en roodharige man in pak uit meer dan alleen zijn maag knorde, kwam ook dit allemaal goed. De social was heerlijk (en intensief, maar daar waren we op ingesteld) en de ochtend erna kwam ook vrijwel iedereen netjes op tijd. De opnames liepen lekker, de livestream ging goed, en het weer was niet langer moordend heet maar aangenaam warm. IJskoffie en Red Bull maakte een fragiel randje goud om de wolken compleet: het NK was een daverend succes.

De dagen die volgen zijn eigenlijk altijd raar. Op het afronden van een paar taken en crisissen na is de last die op je ligt als convenor stukken kleiner dan voor het evenement, zeker als je zoals ons (en de meeste mensen) soms de neiging hebt door te draaien als je bedenkt wat allemaal fout had kunnen gaan. Dat voelt natuurlijk fijn, maar ergens ook bijna vies. Loslaten is een kunst die bijna zwaarder valt dan vastgrijpen, maar een kunst die iedereen goed onder de knie moet krijgen willen ze vooruit kunnen. Mij lukt het vaak maar net.

Ik was dan ook suuuuuperblij toen ons gevraagd werd nog een laatste stukje voor het NK te schrijven. Bij deze: Nederlands Kampioenschap, hartstikke bedankt, maar nu mijn hoofd uit!

doorBestuur Nederlandse Debatbond

How has the debating landscape changed over the past five years in The Netherlands?

Written by Jos Buijvoets

This will be an article examining the increase of tournament possibilities offered within The Netherlands. I will introduce a discussion about a decrease in tournament attendance, make a comparison between 2013 (when I started) and 2018 and highlight the difference between the two.

There has been discussion recently about the state of the Dutch university debating scene which has centered around two claims: 1. Fewer people attend tournaments and 2. Associations have seen a decline in membership. Various reasons have been given to explain why these have occurred including: too much focus on very analytical high level debating, the new system of (not) financing university students by the Dutch government. I disagree with the claims. There might be a decline in membership or attendance specific to some associations and tournaments to which the stated reasons might have contributed, I am unsure however if overall less people attend tournaments and join debate associations as I have not seen numbers that back this up. Regardless of the truth on overall decline, I do think it’s valuable to invest in improving the numbers, which is why a promotional manual is forthcoming. A discussion about the why has value as well, but I feel that this should be grounded in numbers rather than feelings. What are membership totals over the years, new members per association for this year and numbers about tournament attendance over the years? In the remainder of this article I would like to make a small contribution to this discussion by highlighting something which I feel has been underrated as a factor, which is that the amount of tournaments has increased massively over the past few years.

This article will be pretty straightforward. It will identify the tournaments that took place structurally in 2013 organized by university (debate) associations and will do the same for 2018. It will then compare the two landscapes. A tournament that happens to not have been organized once will still be included. A number of associations organize high school tournaments, these will not be included. A number of associations organize tournaments focused on their own members, these will not be included. Small tournaments will be defined as those with less than 32 speakers usually attending. Contact me if you feel a tournament has been overlooked or misrepresented!

2013 tournaments

Tournament Format Language Days Small?
Bonapartiaans Debattoernooi AP Dutch 1 no
Cicero AP Dutch 1 no
DAPDI BP English 2 no
Debattoernooi Utrecht BP Dutch 1 no
Erasmus Rotterdam BP Dutch 2(?) no
Kalliope Debattoernooi BP Dutch 2 no
Leiden Open BP English 2 no
Mace BP English 1 yes
NK AP Dutch 1 no
Roosevelt Open BP English 2 no
Trivium BP Dutch 1 no
UCU Open BP English 2 no
NK Beleidsdebatteren BD Dutch 1 no
Leiden Novice BP English 1 no
NK Eloquentia WB Dutch 1 yes

2013 summary

Fifteen tournaments took place annually totaling twenty-one days. Six tournaments were English-language and nine were Dutch-language. Ten tournaments were BP. Two tournaments were relatively small.

 

2018

Tournament Format Language Days Small?
Bonapartiaans Debattoernooi AP Dutch 1 no
Cicero AP Dutch 1 no
DAPDI BP English 2 no
Debattoernooi Utrecht BP Dutch 1 no
Erasmus Rotterdam Open BP English 2 no
Kalliope Debattoernooi BP Dutch 2 no
Leiden Open BP English 2 no
Mace BP English 1 yes
NK BP Dutch 2 no
Roosevelt Open BP English 2 no
Trivium WSDC Dutch 1 no
UCU Open BP English 2 no
NK Beleidsdebatteren BD Dutch 1 no
Maastricht Novice BP English 1 no
Cicero Winter BP Dutch 1 yes
Utrecht special (fe fantasy) BP Dutch 1 yes
BDT prep AP Dutch 1 yes
Maastricht Open BP English 2 no
Tilburg Women’s Open BP English 2 no
Delft Open BP English 2 no
Amsterdam Open BP English 2 no
Leiden Novice BP English 1 no
NK Eloquentia WB Dutch 1 yes
Leiden combi BP Dutch 1 yes

2018 summary

Twenty-four tournaments take place annually totaling thirty-five days. Twelve tournaments are English-language and twelve are Dutch-language. Nineteen tournaments are BP. Six tournaments are relatively small.

 

Comparison

If we compare 2013 and 2018 we see an increase in tournaments totaling fourteen days (a 56% increase), only four of which represent small tournaments. The landscape also seems to have an increase in tournaments that are focused on a specific type of accessibility. In 2013 there was one novice tournament and one that was rhetorically-focused. In 2018 there’s an additional novice tournament, a prep tournament, two tournaments which are bring-a-friend, a women’s tournament as well as a WSDC-formatted tournament. Admittedly, some of these seem to be under pressure (BDT prep, Leiden combi). Given the increase in tournaments and the diversity of them, I don’t think you can easily state the debating landscape has become less accessible or that a decrease in attendance at some of them means there’s automatically a strong case overall tournament attendance is decreasing.

As a final note I just want to mention three factors which were not mentioned but can also contribute (slightly) to a decrease in tournament attendance despite not necessarily being bad in terms of adding value to the accessibility or level of competitive debating. These factors are:

  • The amount of high school tournaments has increased dramatically since 2013 which also puts a strain on university debaters as organizers, coaches and judges.
  • A number of associations have internal competitions now whereas they did not structurally have them over the past few years including Cicero and Trivium.
  • The current board of the Debatbond has brought you the Dutch Debating League which features an internal competition between eight associations with a ‘worth’ of probably several small tournaments.