On Tuesday, September 7, from 10:00 to 13:00 CET the Final Conference of the Erasmus+ international youth debate project Debate Your Issue (DYI) will take place online from Brussels (Belgium). The project begun shortly before the global pandemic was announced – in early March 2020 – but, despite the fact that DYI was mostly virtual (debate trainings, lectures, discussions), a dynamic debate tournament was held in person this summer. Debate competitions have already taken place in Vilnius (Lithuania), Wroclaw (Poland), Novi Sad (Serbia), Riga (Latvia) and Prague (Czech Republic), and the closing one will happen this weekend (2–5 September) in Brussels.
The Final Conference will present the project, its progress, lessons learned, as well as related topics – critical thinking, civic activism, self-expression, youth education and the role of debates in the above-mentioned.
The live stream of the Conference will be available on the DYI website debateyourissue.eu and the project partner's Facebook pages:
- Debate Your Issue
- Goethe-Institut Prag
- National Library of Latvia
- Jaunimo Debatai
- Novo kulturno naselje
- Kolegium Europy Wschodniej
Viewers are invited to interact with the conference, ask questions and express their opinions by writing them in the comments section of the live stream in the DYI Facebook page.
The Conference will be opened by a keynote speech by Mikuláš Minář – one of the founders of the Czech
political organization Million Moments for Democracy (Milion chvilek pro demokracii), which organizes protests and demonstrations against the government of the Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. Its initial goal was a challenge to get one million signatures in support of Babiš's resignation, in protest at his staying in office while the subject of a police investigation, and his previous activities as an operative of the State Security services under the former communist regime.
The program also includes two panel discussions – on working with youth nowadays and learning and teaching to debate. Why such youth projects are important today and what has changed before Covid-era and during it? Which topics and teaching competencies were crucially important before 2020, and how things have changed now? What the future will bring? Why is the ability to debate still important in 2021? Are debates popular and if so, why? These are just some of the questions which project discussion trainers and participants will try to solve.
The Conference will be closed with a presentation about Flemish project SmartEU. It speaks to the connection and persistence of social media and misinformation in our daily lives.
"During the pandemic, the implementation and transfer of an international project into the digital environment is challenging, but not impossible. Every virtual session and meeting with young people in person imparted energy and confirmed the viability and mission of the idea behind this project – to help young people formulate and argue their position, as well as to accept the views of others, critically evaluate the information available and gain a grasp of Europe's decision-making and policy-making processes. These are all essential skills and experiences that will be useful in everyday life and in discussions at work, during studies, at conferences or public meetings, as well as in participation in non-government organisations or who knows, even working in Europe's highest institutions. Generations, ideas and skills change, and it is the young people of today who will shape the Europe of the future," says Zuzana Hubková, representative of the project DYI and Goethe-Institut Prague.
More than 300 young people applied for the project DYI, of which 150 were recruited and trained.
Photo galleries from debate competitions can be found HERE.
Articles, infographics, videos, podcasts and other materials made by the DYI participants on different social and political questions can be found HERE.
For the latest information on the progress of the project, please visit: debateyourissue.eu, you can also subscribe to the newsletter at: https://debateyourissue.eu/about-dyi/ and follow the DYI on Youtube, Instagram and Facebook.
Project partners: Mediawijs (Flemish Digital and Media Literacy Centre, Belgium), Goethe-Institut Czech Republic, National Library of Latvia, Lithuanian International Association of Youth Debate Alumni Jaunimo Debatai, Kolegium Europy Wschodniej (Eastern European College, Poland), Novo Kulturno Naselje (New Cultural Society, Serbia).
The project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.
Additional information and media inquiries: