The Online Euro-Med Debate championship draws out key issues affecting young people from 16 nationalities

Education, democracy and current challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic are some of the issues that young people discussed during the Online Euro-Med Debate competition held on 18,19, 25 & 26 April. 39 debates were organised to tackle young people’s concerns on pressing regional and international issues. 

The competition, with around 300 participants from 16 countries, showcased a unique methodology of virtual intercultural youth-led debates, used to acquire advocacy skills through debate trainings and exercise collaborative problem-solving. Young people increased their empathy and tolerance towards other cultures, whilst improving their critical thinking skills. 

Teams were formed by 6 debaters and 1 team leader from the North and South of the Mediterranean. Burak from Germany, team leader of the competition’s winning team, highlighted: “Our team combined the experiences of people from 7 nationalities. We all learned from each other and enjoyed uniting our differences”

Teams presented evidence to validate their arguments for or against motions to draw out conclusions about key issues related to the current global crisis, human rights, women’s rights, education, technology, healthcare and democracy, amongst others. Topics were suggested by participants themselves. “Tackling the Coronavirus crisis together in our debates relieved the fear and uncertainty we are facing. Together we learned more about how to manage this crisis.” , said Hend, participant from Palestine. 

The final debate took place on 25 April 2020. Mixed teams from Egypt, Belgium, Libya and Italy discussed how power is distributed within the international system: is a multipolar world better than a unipolar one? Sirine, Chief Adjudicator and Debate Master Trainer from Tunisia underlined: “The intercultural dimension of the examples provided by participants when argumenting for or against motions enriched the dialogue, and demonstrated that global issues are relevant to the Euro-Med region as a whole”.

The Online Euro-Med Debate Competition was organised by the Anna Lindh Foundation in the framework of the European Commission’s project Erasmus+ Virtual Exchange. The Foundation is a member of the project consortium, composed by: Search for Common Ground, UNIMED, Sharing Perspectives Foundation, Soliya, UNICollaboration, Kiron Open Higher Education, and Migration Matters.