SCiDEV finalizes IV Edition of the University Debate Laboratory

SCiDEV finalizes IV Edition of the University Debate Laboratory

SCiDEV finalizes IV Edition of the University Debate Laboratory

The University Debate Laboratory proudly culminated its Fourth Edition with the final debate held on May 26th, 2023. This edition forms an integral part of the National Youth Debate Programme for the Socila and Economic Development Model for Albania. The programme’s primary goal is to equip young high school and university students — with the skills necessary to be proactive, well-informed, and critical thinkers. It strives to enhance their public speaking abilities and equip them with the competencies needed to actively participate in decision-making processes within their community and broader public life. The project was generously funded by the Open Society Foundation in Albania and successfully ran from September 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023. In this edition, SCiDEV achieved the following results: Engaged 12 Universities/Faculties from Tirana, Durres, Shkodra, Vlora, and Korça in the debate program and related activities. Over 120 students were trained in public and political engagement, digital activism, and student and youth participation in decision-making processes throughout the Capacity Development Program. Twenty-six debating teams, 120 debaters, and 21 debates on the prospects of Albania’s development in digitalization, the rule of law, higher education institution policies, and migration organized within and between the participating universities/faculties. Established the University Debate Alumni Network. Twelve student debaters were engaged in the “From Word to Action” campaign, who drafted proposals for decision-makers in higher education through mentoring, capacity development, and financial support. Young people drafted four policy documents engaged in the “From Word to Action” campaign in cooperation with other young debaters, students, and activists and in consultation with representatives from the Ministry of Education and Sports, Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Tirana Municipality, and senior experts. For the first time, SCiDEV organized the Youth Debaters Forum, involving 30 student debaters and alumni, representatives of student organizations in the co-production of recommendations and proposals, and dialogue with representatives from the Ministry of Education and Sports, Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Tirana Municipality, and senior experts. Secured financial support from other donors for the Youth Debaters Forum, specifically from the European Union, as part of the “National Resource Centre for Civil Society” project, implemented by Partners Albania for Change and Development, in partnership with the Albanian Centre for Population and Development (ACPD) and the European Movement in Albania (EMA). Below you can find a detailed description of the key features of the programme. Capacity Development Programme The Capacity Development Programme is an enriching initiative comprising three comprehensive online, non-formal education training. It aims to bolster the knowledge of student participants in the University Debate Laboratory, focusing on key areas of public and political activism, using digital tools for youth activism and participation in decision-making processes at the university level. The trainings are meticulously designed and expertly delivered by renowned professionals, empowering students with a robust understanding of youth activism and skills for being active and well-informed citizens. The programme is not merely academically oriented but also intent on spurring students to engage as dynamic citizens within the country actively. Moreover, they receive specific training on the debate format utilized in the debate championship. To delve deeper into the fourth edition’s Capacity Development Programme, Click here. University Debate Championship Following the conclusion of the Capacity Development Programme and intensive training on the debate format, participating students go head-to-head in competitions within their respective Higher Education Institutions. In this edition, the stage was set for 26 debating teams from 12 universities, presenting their informed perspectives on various topical issues – digitalization, the rule of law, European integration, higher education system policies, and migration. Detailed information on the topics of the debate can be accessed here. Throughout these intra-institutional competitions, the most exemplary speakers were carefully chosen to form the representative team for each University or Faculty. Once these select teams were formed, three additional debates were organized to enhance their debating skills further and showcase their abilities. Debate Marathon In this edition of the University Debate, the debate marathon was organized for the first time in person, thanks to the removal of Covid-19 measures. 12 university/faculty representing teams competed to qualify for the semi-final of the University Debate. A professional jury evaluated the debate encounters by awarding points according to the Debate Manual. 4 representing debate teams from University Ismail Qemali Vlorë, the Faculty of Justice and Faculty of Economy of the University of Tirana, and the Mediterranean University of Albania qualified for the semi-finals, as the four teams with the highest scores awarded by the jury. To learn about the team ranking, read the article here. Semi-final Debate In the semi-final debate, two debates between the selected teams were organized. The debate jury selected the winner, who qualified for the final debate. University “Ismail Qemali” team competed against the Faculty of Justice of the University of Tirana debating team. In contrast, the Mediterranean University of Albania competed against the Faculty of Economy of the University of Tirana. The finalist of the fourth edition of the University Debate was the debating team from the University “Ismail Qemali” and the Mediterranean University of Albania. Learn more about the topics debated and the main arguments of the semi-final debating teams by reading the article here. The final debate The final debate of this edition was held as an open event where interested students had the opportunity to listen to the arguments of the University “Ismail Qemali” and the Mediterranean University of Albania debating teams. In addition, a panel of discussion composed of debate alumni and a certificate distribution ceremony was organized with this edition participating students. University “Ismail Qemali,” Vlorë is the winner of the fourth edition of University Debate Laboratory. More information about the final debate can be accessed here. To learn more about the students’ perspectives throughout the debate, click here. The launch of the “From Words to Action” Campaign From Words to Action Campaign campaign marked its third year of implementation. In this edition, 12 participants from the University Debate Programme with experience in youth activism were selected from other applications to partake in a two-month mentorship and advocacy programme. Among other things, they coordinated the preparation of 4 proposals drafted by working groups at the Youth Debaters Forum. The activists of the “From Word to Action” campaign will convert policy maker’s proposals and recommendations into policy documents and specific advocacy actions. The 12 debating students in the “From Word to Action” campaign drafted proposals for decision-makers in higher education through mentoring, capacity development, and financial support. These will be promoted during June and July 2023. Additionally, four policy documents were drafted by the young people engaged in the “From Word to Action” campaign. These were created in collaboration with other young debaters, students, and activists and in consultation with representatives from the Ministry of Education and Sports, the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Tirana Municipality, and senior experts. Youth Debaters Forum: A Novelty of the Fourth Edition SCiDEV hosted for the first time the Young Debaters Forum: “The future of Higher Education in Albania: Coo-creation of sustainable policies.” The activity was implemented in the framework of Civil Society Week 2023, and European Union provided part of the funding in the framework of the project “National Resource Centre for Civil Society.” Throughout this event, 30 debate alumni and representatives from student organizations worked in pairs under the direction of “From Word to Action” activists to prepare four proposals for policymakers in higher education and youth. The proposals were presented to representatives from the Ministry of Education and Sport, the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, experts in digital transformation, the Municipality of Tirana, and the Mediterranean University of Albania, which provided the Forum participants with valuable input and resources about their proposals. SCiDEV aims to proceed with the Fifth Edition of the University Debate Laboratory as part of the National Youth Debate Programme for the Model of Social and Economic Development of Albania for 2021-2024, to be financially supported by OSFA.

The University Debate Laboratory proudly culminated its Fourth Edition with the final debate held on May 26, 2023. This edition forms an integral part of the National Youth Debate Programme for the Social and Economic Development Model for Albania. The program’s primary goal is to equip young high school and university students — with the skills necessary to be proactive, well-informed, and critical thinkers. It strives to enhance their public speaking abilities and equip them with the competencies needed to actively participate in decision-making processes within their community and broader public life. The project was generously funded by the Open Society Foundation in Albania and successfully ran from September 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023.

In this edition, SCiDEV achieved the following results:

  • Engaged 12 Universities/Faculties from Tirana, Durres, Shkodra, Vlora, and Korça in the debate program and related activities.
  • Over 120 students were trained in public and political engagement, digital activism, and student and youth participation in decision-making processes throughout the Capacity Development Program.
  • Twenty-six debating teams, 120 debaters, and 21 debates on the prospects of Albania’s development in digitalization, the rule of law, higher education institution policies, and migration organized within and between the participating universities/faculties.
  • Established the University Debate Alumni Network.
  • Twelve student debaters were engaged in the “From Word to Action” campaign, who drafted proposals for decision-makers in higher education through mentoring, capacity development, and financial support.
  • Young people drafted four policy documents engaged in the “From Word to Action” campaign in cooperation with other young debaters, students, and activists and in consultation with representatives from the Ministry of Education and Sports, Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Tirana Municipality, and senior experts.
  • For the first time, SCiDEV organized the Youth Debaters Forum, involving 30 student debaters and alumni, representatives of student organizations in the co-production of recommendations and proposals, and dialogue with representatives from the Ministry of Education and Sports, Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Tirana Municipality, and senior experts.
  • Secured financial support from other donors for the Youth Debaters Forum, specifically from the European Union, as part of the “National Resource Centre for Civil Society” project, implemented by Partners Albania for Change and Development, in partnership with the Albanian Centre for Population and Development (ACPD) and the European Movement in Albania (EMA).

Below you can find a detailed description of the key features of the program.

Capacity Development Programme

The Capacity Development Programme is an enriching initiative comprising three comprehensive online, non-formal education training. It aims to bolster the knowledge of student participants in the University Debate Laboratory, focusing on key areas of public and political activism, using digital tools for youth activism and participation in decision-making processes at the university level. The trainings are meticulously designed and expertly delivered by renowned professionals, empowering students with a robust understanding of youth activism and skills for being active and well-informed citizens. The program is not merely academically oriented but also intent on spurring students to engage as dynamic citizens within the country actively. Moreover, they receive specific training on the debate format utilized in the debate championship. To delve deeper into the fourth edition’s Capacity Development Programme, Click here.

University Debate Championship

Following the conclusion of the Capacity Development Programme and intensive training on the debate format, participating students go head-to-head in competitions within their respective Higher Education Institutions. In this edition, the stage was set for 26 debating teams from 12 universities, presenting their informed perspectives on various topical issues – digitalization, the rule of law, European integration, higher education system policies, and migration. Detailed information on the topics of the debate can be accessed here.

Throughout these intra-institutional competitions, the most exemplary speakers were carefully chosen to form the representative team for each University or Faculty. Once these select teams were formed, three additional debates were organized to enhance their debating skills further and showcase their abilities.

Debate Marathon

In this edition of the University Debate, the debate marathon was organized for the first time in person, thanks to the removal of COVID-19 measures. 12 university/faculty representing teams competed to qualify for the semi-final of the University Debate. A professional jury evaluated the debate encounters by awarding points according to the Debate Manual. 4 representing debate teams from University Ismail Qemali Vlorë, the Faculty of Justice and Faculty of Economy of the University of Tirana, and the Mediterranean University of Albania qualified for the semi-finals, as the four teams with the highest scores awarded by the jury. To learn about the team ranking, read the article here.

 Semi-final Debate

In the semi-final debate, two debates between the selected teams were organized. The debate jury selected the winner, who qualified for the final debate. The University “Ismail Qemali” team competed against the Faculty of Justice of the University of Tirana debating team. In contrast, the Mediterranean University of Albania competed against the Faculty of Economy of the University of Tirana. The finalist of the fourth edition of the University Debate was the debating team from the University “Ismail Qemali” and the Mediterranean University of Albania. Learn more about the topics debated and the main arguments of the semi-final debating teams by reading the article here.

The final debate

The final debate of this edition was held as an open event where interested students had the opportunity to listen to the arguments of the University “Ismail Qemali” and the Mediterranean University of Albania debating teams. In addition, a panel of discussion composed of debate alumni and a certificate distribution ceremony was organized with this edition’s participating students. University “Ismail Qemali,” Vlorë is the winner of the fourth edition of University Debate Laboratory. More information about the final debate can be accessed here. To learn more about the students’ perspectives throughout the debate, click here.

The launch of the “From Words to Action” Campaign

From Words to Action Campaign campaign marked its third year of implementation. In this edition, 12 participants from the University Debate Programme with experience in youth activism were selected from other applications to partake in a two-month mentorship and advocacy program. Among other things, they coordinated the preparation of 4 proposals drafted by working groups at the Youth Debaters Forum. The activists of the “From Word to Action” campaign will convert policy maker’s proposals and recommendations into policy documents and specific advocacy actions.

The 12 debating students in the “From Word to Action” campaign drafted proposals for decision-makers in higher education through mentoring, capacity development, and financial support. These will be promoted during June and July 2023.

Additionally, four policy documents were drafted by the young people engaged in the “From Word to Action” campaign. These were created in collaboration with other young debaters, students, and activists and in consultation with representatives from the Ministry of Education and Sports, the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Tirana Municipality, and senior experts.

Youth Debaters Forum: A Novelty of the Fourth Edition

SCiDEV hosted for the first time the Young Debaters Forum: “The future of Higher Education in Albania: Coo-creation of sustainable policies.” The activity was implemented in the framework of Civil Society Week 2023, and the European Union provided part of the funding in the framework of the project “National Resource Centre for Civil Society.”

Throughout this event, 30 debate alumni and representatives from student organizations worked in pairs under the direction of “From Word to Action” activists to prepare four proposals for policymakers in higher education and youth. The proposals were presented to representatives from the Ministry of Education and Sport, the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, experts in digital transformation, the Municipality of Tirana, and the Mediterranean University of Albania, which provided the Forum participants with valuable input and resources about their proposals.

SCiDEV aims to proceed with the Fifth Edition of the University Debate Laboratory as part of the National Youth Debate Programme for the Model of Social and Economic Development of Albania for 2021-2024, to be financially supported by OSFA.