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Debates news round-up

Well, you know you’re famous when someone makes a fan site for you on Bebo! Thanks a million to Aisling from An Daingean for sending in this link to concerndebatesrox . We agree!

(But I still have to find anyone in the office here to admit they have a Bebo page so that I can use their log in to look at the comments.) Aisling is looking for new members – so go on! What are you waiting for?!? (The web editor insists I mention that Concern cannot take responsibility for the content of any external sites.)

The second round is drawing to a close, and the third round is fast approaching. Let’s try and not get too confused and mix up the two motions and start talking about what celebrities are doing for global warming. Although while we’re on the subject, Al Gore is going to be in Dublin this weekend coming. So keep an ear out for soundbites to quote in your speeches. If you haven’t seen his film, “An Inconvenient Truth” yet, it’s worth a watch.

I’ve spoken to a few debaters over the last week who are a bit disheartened, because in the time-honoured tradition of the Irish football team, they can’t go through to the knockout stages unless they beat Brazil (Athlone CC anyone?) 5-0 in the third round, and San Marino score at least seven goals against Germany. But guys, don’t give up! There’s nothing as satisfying as being the underdogs who score in extra time! And even if you don’t make it through, it’s great experience for next year, or another debating competition, or college debating. I never did any debating in school and when I started debating in college and was up against schools champions from various competitions I really wished I had. And you never know, some day you might be a Concern adjudicator and have to stand up and give the results of a Concern debate.

Having been to four debates in Round Two, I must say the standard of debating has improved even since the first round. People are getting more confident, there is more refutation and rebuttal and not too many time penalties. But don’t forget, this is a debating competition, not a public speaking contest. It’s not enough to have a great speech prepared. You have to convince the people listening that you really believe what you are telling me, and that I should too. You might feel silly doing it, but try giving your speech to yourself in the mirror, without looking at your notes. Or try convincing your mum or dad, or the pet cat. I’ve been convinced of both sides of the argument about celebrity-led campaigns over the past fortnight and I can’t wait to hear all about global warming next week.

Don’t forget that even if you are knocked out after Round Three you have learnt a lot about development issues in your research for the league phase. You can build on that by telling other people what you have found out, by joining in campaigns  on development issues or by taking part in other activities run by Concern and other NGOs. 

By the way, good luck if you are taking part in the Concern Fast this Thursday! I know lots of debaters will be.