Leaders of Tomorrow, Jordan (leadersot.org) and ARDOR, Romania (ardor.org.ro) invest a lot of effort in building a tradition of public debates in their respective countries, organizing periodic debates that engage citizens in meaningful conversations on topics that matter for them. With this vision in mind, Leaders of Tomorrow and ARDOR joint their efforts and created Diwanieh meets Closer2Oxford, an intensive debate project for Jordanian and Romanian youth (diwanieh.com, closer2oxford.ro/en).
More than forty participants got very intensive and professional training on debate, argumentation and public speaking skills. Concluding the trainings, the Jordanian and Romanian teams participated in an online debate discussing the moral duty of western states to spread democracy across the world even if it needs force utilisation. The online debate unfolded for a week and resulted in eight Romanian and ten Jordanian winners who were invited to the debate exchange in Jordan. Before the exchange, two local public debates took place in both countries. In Bucharest, the need of the Gay Pride Parade was debated, where in Amman the negative impact of media on society was discussed.
During the third week of June, eight Romanian debaters and staff arrived in Amman for the five day exchange with ten young Jordanian debaters. The group followed master classes in debate in unconventional areas in Amman and Wadi Musa. They organised a public debate in English, discussing the need for governmental funding of arts, followed by a public debate in Arabic on the question if there is space for free art in Jordan. The debates took place in the gardens of the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts in Lweibdeh in Amman, and are available online https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBNGOEorlzE