GDI German Debating Competition 2018/19

Gewinner © Aidan Oliver Photography The Final of the 23rd GDI Debating Competition 2018/19:
“Europe needs a more active youth“

This year’s final took place on Thursday 9 May 2019, with the teams of Cistercian College Roscrea vs Scoil Mhuire Trim. After both schools successfully prevailed against 37 competitors, they now had to prove their skills in debating in the German language at the Innovation Center of Siemens. The eight finalists discussed the motion: “Europe needs a more active youth" to convince the jury and win the 23rd  title of the most skilled team in Ireland. The debate was organized by the Goethe-Institut Irland with kind support from Siemens, represented by Michael O’Connor. As special guests, representatives of the German Embassy were welcomed.
The representative of the Irish Association of Teachers of German, Una Byrne, and the head of the Goethe-Institut’s language department Michael Hauke, emphasized the various advantages the debate brings to learner of German in their opening speeches. Testimonials of past participants emphasized that the competition enhanced their self-confidence, strengthened their arguing, presenting and social skills, as well as expanding their frustration tolerance.
The debating competition ran as follows: Each team consists of four members, including the team captain, who opens and closes the debate. The speakers of the teams spoke alternately and had a maximum of four minutes. If they spoke longer, points would be deducted by the jury. In addition to the content and linguistic skills of the debaters, criteria such as creativity, humor and last but not least the ability to rebut arguments of the opposing team were considered. The two teams received the motion and their position (pro / con) in advance and had had the opportunity to prepare for the debate.
The topic, Europe needs a more active youth that was debated on Europe day, offered a wide range of high-quality arguments on both sides. These included the (lack of) usage from a variety of European youth programmes, implications of physical activities (or the lack thereof) for Europe and its youth, political involvement of young Europeans – including Fridays for Future, and general connectedness through social media, that increased the value of the debate.
In combination with casual jokes, the involvement of the audience and the other team, proverbs and fitting quotations as well as the occasional theatrical scene to prove a point, the debate became an exciting competition.
After some deliberation, the speaker of this year’s jury, Fiona Maher announced the team of Cistercian College Roscrea namely Manus, Sean Jack and Lorcan as winner. Their team captain, Manus, received the single price for the best speaker.
At the official farewell many thanks went to the teachers of both teams, without whose energy the debate would not have been possible.
It was an enriching experience to all participants, friends and parents present.