(guest bloggers: Kristine, Malva and Felicia)
Over this past weekend, we had the opportunity to attend a Pro-Am BP debating tournament at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, Latvia. We traveled there as representatives of VRGD but also in conjunction with the Stockholm Debating Society, the largest BP debate society in Sweden. This tournament required no previous experience in debate, BP or otherwise, and allowed both novice and experienced debaters to develop and test their abilities in a fun and challenging way. This was our first BP tournament and for some of us our first BP debates.
The tournament consisted of four rounds and a final, lasting from eleven in the morning until nine in the evening. We debated a range of thought-provoking topics. Some were relatively serious and topical, for example, whether the media should fact-check politician’s claims, whether the negative attitudes towards gold diggers are justified or not, and whether Baltic governments should incentivise a brain-drain from Belarus. But also some more lighthearted motions such as whether or not the wizarding society should remain secret from muggles. During the final, four all-Swedish teams locked horns over whether the liberal parties of Europe should abandon their pro-immigration attitudes.
Tackling these motions with international teams was not only fun but eye-opening. Debate often requires you to divorce yourself from your own opinions and develops genuine humility for them. During the Belarus Brain-Drain debate the difficulty of this became quite clear. The largest proportion of debaters came from the Baltic states, and others were Belarusian – the result was unfortunately several uncomfortable debates with xenophobic undertones. Although debate can be less-than-perfect at times, it’s really an incredibly rewarding and fun experience. You think and learn about issues that you might never have considered before, you meet loads of new and interesting people, and you improve your argumentation and speaking skills rapidly.
Our former VRG Debating Society President and VRGD alumni Alexander Käll also
participated in the tournament, making it to the finals and winning the prize for Best Novice Speaker at the event. Furthermore, our very own Malva Dahlqvist did exceptionally well at this tournament, despite her novice status. She won 2/4 of her debates and came second in one, thereby earning the position of 5th best novice speaker and 12th best speaker overall. There were 66 speakers at this tournament, many of whom had been debating and winning tournaments for years, making this an incredible achievement and something that we take great pride in. Kristine and Felicia also exceeded expectations and were able to provide even the experienced speakers with engaging and challenging debates.
Debating against people from all over Europe and of different skill levels has been an incredibly humbling and fulfilling experience. It was an example of how debate is for everyone. Therefore, we encourage all students to join us at our own debating society at Viktor Rydberg Djursholm and join us at the various tournaments Europe has to offer.
Everyone is welcome to join our debate committee – find us on our Facebook page VRG Debating Society (https://www.facebook.com/groups/1506232512967584/) or email