The Debate League
Last year, our Belarusian partnerorganisation Civil Forum, organized “The Debate League”: a set of events in which young Belarusians were trained in debating skills and public speaking. Over 80 participants took part in the events, of which Civil Forum wrote the following report:
“The Debate League” is centred around communication. Communication skills are an integral part of being a successful professional today: from a successful young professional to a successful politician. For all these professions, communication is key. Rhetorics is one of the most popular disciplines in the non-formal education. During “The Debate League”, we shared our knowledge on communication with Belarusians. We conducted trainings on public speaking, figures of speech and debating in Minsk, Mogilev, Vitebsk and Brest.
The opening event consisted of a three-day training and a debate tournament. After that, we organized three one-day local debate tournaments. For the final event, the best debaters from all over the country met for a three-day training, leading up to a final debate tournament (awarding the best team and the best debater). We regard debates as a great opportunity to practice eloquence, to recognize the positive side in any issue, and to correctly and reasonably state your position.
Civil Forum has always faced difficulties when organizing its events. But 2020 was a real exception for us in the problems we endured. Firstly, the outbreak of the coronavirus, and the pandemic that followed, formed a unique obstacle in organizing events. Secondly, the presidential elections and mass protests, which are still taking place on the streets of Belarusian cities, made things even harder. Hundreds of people are being illegally detained and tortured on a regular basis. Organizing events such as this enables us to gather like-minded people and provide them with all-round assistance in entering the public sphere.
“The Debate League” is more than just a project: it is a platform to connect and empower young people for (political) participation. More than 80 people participated in the 2020 Debate events and a few hundreds Belarusians indirectly (via social networks and our newsletters) learned about Civil Forum and debates. Events like “The Debate League” helps us to bring hope, freedom and democracy to Belarus.