Martin Harris si pasiunea sa fata de dezbaterile studentesti: The Art of Debate

Cea mai recenta postare pe blog a Ambasadorului britanic Martin Harris. Acesta a participat recent la Competitia de dezbatere in limba engleza precum si la etapa finala a Competitiei de Dezbateri intre Scolile Internationale din Bucuresti.

There’s a new sport being played in schools across Romania – debating. Actually this sport comes in two variations. The team sport is debating and the individual sport is public speaking. Over the last week I participated in both – as chairman of the judges in the Romanian national final of the English Speaking Union’s Public Speaking competition , and the final of the International Schools Debating Competition in Bucharest.

This was my favourite sport when I was a student, at school and university. In fact, I was in the Scottish Final of the English Speaking Union’s debating competition back in 1986, so I knew just how the participants were feeling when I was judging the competition here in Bucharest 25 years later! I call it a sport because it is just like any other. You have to be extremely fit and agile – mentally – to play it successfully, it requires lots of practice and good teamwork, it gives you a chance to compete against your peers and it prepares you for life beyond school and university. Debate is also a school for democracy. At Cambridge I was President of the university’s debating society. The Cambridge Union is one of the oldest debating society’s in the world, dating back to 1815 and its debating chamber is modelled on the House of Commons  in Westminster. Here, students learn and practice the art of parliamentary debate, and many have gone on to do it for real as members of the British Parliament and the Government.

So this sport is very healthy for Romanian democracy. I am sure that the extremely talented young speakers that I saw in action last week will go on to be leaders in society in the future. And I was especially impressed that, not only did they play this exacting sport to the highest standards, they also played it in fluent English. When I was in their place, I only ever attempted to debate in my mother tongue!

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