Call for participation: take part in conference ‘Speak Up for Tolerance’
18 July 2014

Students from Greece and FYR Macedonia debate together

Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have been in a dispute over the right to use the name Macedonia ever since the former Yugoslav’s republic’s declaration of independence in 1991. It was only apt, therefore, that the Youth Educational Forum (YEF), Debating Society of Greece (DSG) and IDEA UK called their cooperation event “Tournament without a name”. The exchange tournament in British Parliamentary debate format between university students from Greece and FYR Macedonia took place in Skopje from the 19th until the 21st of December. The twenty participants were undergraduate students from Skopje and Shtip (FYR Macedonia) and Athens, Thessaloniki and Patras (Greece).

In the best IDEA tradition, the debaters participated in mixed teams they were assigned to, giving the debaters an opportunity to learn, practice debate, share different opinions on related topics and get to know each other better through debating. These impressions of the event show that this worked. Chief Adjudicators Marija Mirchevska and Manos Moschopoulos set the following motions for the three preliminary rounds and final:

  • Round 1: This House would ban international adoption
  • Round 2: This House would organise Alternative Olympics to the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in order to protest anti-LGBT laws in Russia
  • Round 3: This House believes that Pope Francis I should openly endorse radical left political parties and candidates
  • Finals: This House would ban re-election of politicians that did not fulfil their promises

All participants in the event were enthusiastic: they felt they had learned a lot more about debating and practiced their English debating skills, and learned a lot more about student life on the other side of the border. The event also provided a great opportunity to learn from the challenges debating faces in each country and to meet new people. All parties involved intend to make the “Tournament without a name” an annual, larger event.

The “Tournament without a name” was organised as part of the project idebateEU. This is a cooperation project of IDEA Amsterdam, IDEA London and ten IDEA members from all across Europe. The project aims to improve cooperation between IDEA and its members and between members, sharing debate methodologies and organisational knowledge in the framework of common activities on European topics. The project is made possible with support of the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Commission.