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Global Debate and Public Policy Challenge in Budapest!
Submitted by Mite Kuzevski on 11 July 2012
Undergraduates from around the World strengthened their advocacy skills and won $10,000 scholarships.
Finalists from eleven countries came together in Budapest sharpening their public policy advocacy skills and competing for scholarships up to $10,000 during the final phase of last year’s Global Debate & Public Policy Challenge. About to launch its second year, the Challenge is an annual competition designed to engage undergraduates in ongoing public debate and reflection on issues affecting the global community. It offers students from across continents and educational disciplines an opportunity to explore issues from different points of view.
The first year’s theme ‘Securing Liberty: Balancing Security and Freedom’ explored the relationship between security and human rights. 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 changed the context for this debate.
Students participated in a variety of tasks throughout the year to strengthen their skills, including writing an evidence-based public 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. Finalists attended workshops to improve their public-speaking and advocacy abilities and at the end of the week, they competed in progressive rounds for scholarship/stipend prizes before an international audience.
International Debate Education Association (IDEA) Executive Director Bradley Gallop said: “We were excited to meet the finalists who worked so hard in this pilot year. We were really pleased to have such a wonderful group of students from a range of disciplines who are interested in public policy. We have seen the Challenge help them develop their capacity to critically engage on issues of global importance that affect them and the communities in which they live, and look forward to seeing their skills in action.”
Five final winners were chosen from among the finalists; receiving either a scholarship payable to a graduate school of the winner’s choice for study in a field related to public policy or a grant payable to a non-profit institution of the winner’s choice to work for one year in a field related to public policy.
IDEA and its partners believe that to respond to the challenges of an interdependent world, students should develop, while at university, a sense of responsibility for their fellow human beings, an acceptance of their personal role in creating open societies, and be equipped with the tools to find and advocate for solutions to global policy questions.
The Global Debate & Public Policy Challenge is designed to attract a wide range of students into the realm of policy advocacy and to encourage students to reflect critically on policy questions that present serious international challenges. The Challenge is a recurring event and the 2012-2013 Challenge is now open for registration.
This competition is 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.