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In its inaugural installment the Global Debate and Public Policy Challenge brought together undergraduate students from across continents and academic disciplines under the theme ‘Securing Liberty: Balancing Security and Freedom’. The topic was chosen to provide an opportunity for a fresh assessment of the most urgent questions in combating terrorism while respecting human rights, in the ten years following the 11 September terrorist attacks on the United States. The Arab Spring of 2011 and the on-going events in Syria and elsewhere also shaped the context for this debate.
The Challenge, organised by IDEA in partnership with the European Council on Foreign Relations and Central European University, and made possible by the generous support from Open Society Foundations, attracted a wide range of students into the realm of policy advocacy and encouraged them to reflect critically on policy questions that present serious international challenges.
Students participated in a variety of tasks throughout the year to strengthen their skills, including writing an evidence-based policy brief to advocate for a specific action. The 23 finalists represented 11 countries including China, Croatia, Estonia, Ethiopia, India, Macedonia, Mauritius, Moldova, Morocco, United Kingdom and the United States.
The 2011-2012 Challenge culminated with a weeklong forum in Budapest, Hungary, where the finalists were given the opportunity to sharpen their policy advocacy skills and compete for scholarships of up to $10,000. The final competition took place in two stages. In the first stage, students presented and defended their public policy briefs to a panel of six judges. In the final stage, the top eight finalists gave a policy recommendation to the president of a large developing democratic country about how to balance security and liberty during an impending terrorist threat involving airline passenger safety. It was an extremely close competition and the six judges on the panel were impressed with the skills of all of the finalists under pressure.
At the end of the competition the top five participants were awarded scholarships payable to a graduate school of the winner’s choice or to a non-profit institution of the winner’s choice for an internship or placement in a field related to public policy. Guy Miscampbell from Aylesbury, United Kingdom was awarded first place and $10,000. Other winners included Rebecca Grace Tan from Singapore (2nd place and $10,000), Martin Kiik from Tallinn, Estonia (3rd place and $2,500), Yusuf Anwar from New York, USA (4th place and $1,500) and Niyati Gandhi from Mumbai, India (5th place and $1,000).
Commenting on his experience at GDPPC, finalist Yusuf Anwar reflected that “it has been an absolutely incredible journey. I feel so fortunate to meet students from around the world who carry unique experiences and personalities. I have learned how global our world truly is and how many different perspectives exist in our global community.”
The View From Budapest: Inside the First Global Debate and Public Policy Challenge Take a look behind the scenes and meet the 2011-2012 Challenge Finalists.
Join The Challenge: The Many Languages of GDPPC Our 2011-2012 Finalists came from 11 countries and together spoke more than two dozen languages. They invite you to join the Challenge!
Check out this photo album of the workshops and competition at the Forum in Budapest, June 2012.