“I wanted to win this competition to make youth feel their strength and help my country, despite the negativity surrounding Lebanon at this time”, highlighted Noura, leader of team Beirut II, winners of the 3rd Online Euro-Med Debate Competition held on 22, 23, 29 and 30 August, 2020.
Despite the difficult situation in her country, Noura trained her team and demonstrated excellent teamspirit and fair play: “I noticed a big improvement in my team members throughout the competition, they improved their research techniques, communication, debating skills, the ability to understand an argument from different positions and learned to prepare for a refutation.”
The competition, with participants from 18 countries, showcased a unique methodology of virtual intercultural youth-led debates, used to acquire advocacy skills and exercise critical thinking. The aim is to increase young people’s empathy and tolerance towards other countries, whilst praising cultural differences.
María Luisa, Team Leader from Spain, underlined the importance of the intercultural dimension of her team: “Nuran could bring information about the situation in Egypt, Jessica, British politics and news... It is great to learn about other people’s perspectives around the world.”
Throughout the 4 days, 30 debates were organised, together with 7 training sessions prior to the competition and 14 post-debate dialogue sessions, one week following the competition. Approximately, 250 participants had the chance to tackle key themes of relevance to young people. Topics, suggested by participants themselves, included: the current global crisis, climate change issues, digital education and civil rights. At the final debate, teams from Lebanon and Palestine had to present arguments for and against the motion: “The most effective way to combat racism is to set stricter rules”.
Dr. Nabil Al Sharif, Executive Director of the Anna Lindh Foundation, underlined the importance of supporting Virtual Exchange and innovative virtual tools to enable youth to develop critical thinking and advocacy skills to “be heard and empowered”.
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.