Goals of the CEP Balkan Debate Forum
The debate format not only develops academic skills, stressing logic and factual documentation over emotion and generalization, but also is an appropriate catalytic method for addressing recurrent, but often unexamined, arguments associated with the Balkan region. The international makeup of the teams forces students to “cross borders” and analyze their own views even before the debates begin. Not knowing whether they will argue for or against a proposition ensures that students perform balanced research and discover a wider perspective on a given problem. Student participants at the previous Forums responded positively and often developed greater empathy for and a better understanding of their neighbors in the region.
Selected participants arrive at the forum prepared to argue both in favor of and against two of seven propositions. They bring with them relevant reading materials, to share with their team. Upon the students’ arrival at the forum, the teams are announced and all participants discover which side (of one topic only) they will have to argue. All participants debate only once. The organizers will make an effort to ensure that each team is multi-national, with students from different disciplines. Five debate sessions will take place in English, one in French and one in German. At least one day will be set aside for each team to compare information and reading, and to prepare the team’s strategy. The schedule will also include social activities. Participants who are not debating at a given time will be expected to attend the other debate sessions.
Selection and Preparation of Participants
All students of CEP lecturers in the Bulgaria/Macedonia, Albania/Montenegro/Kosovo and Romania programs are eligible to participate. In addition, a small number of students from Greece, Turkey, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Yugoslavia and Croatia will be invited. The total number of student participants will be 50. In the countries where CEP operates, CEP Lecturers will guide students in developing a bibliography, researching, and acquiring debating techniques. Reading packets for all topics are being prepared by CEP fellows and are going to be sent to all student participants prior to the event.
Read more about the Forum here.