While Albania is in the process of negotiating its membership in the European Union, it is crucial for universities, as generators of scientific research and knowledge, and for students, as emerging professionals, to actively engage in debates concerning the development policies necessary for the country in this context. However, due to a lack of resources and vision from institutions and the limited capacities of young individuals to effectively participate in these discussions, the opportunities for student involvement in the public debate on the country’s developmental model are restricted.
In this context, the Center Science and Innovation for Development (SCiDEV) continues its established tradition of university debates and is pleased to announce the launch of its 5th Edition. The University Debate Laboratory aims to empower students to participate actively in the decision-making processes of higher education institutions and cultivate the skills required to constructively and critically address significant developments in Albania. The specific objectives of the project are:
- Stimulating debates on the role of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in shaping Albania’s developmental model and addressing the country’s European integration challenges.
- Consolidating the culture of debate, including an analytical approach to development policies, fostering critical thinking, communication ethics, tolerance, and promoting the values of active citizenship among Albanian students.
- Revitalizing student life, expanding the spaces for youth involvement in decision-making processes, and democratizing Higher Education Institutions and society following European values.
On its 5th anniversary, the University Debate Laboratory will, for the first time, extend to all Albania cities with Higher Education Institutions. One hundred students from 14 universities in Tirana, Durrës, Elbasan, Shkodra, Vlora, Korça, and Gjirokastra will have the opportunity to participate in the debate competition and benefit from dedicated training through the Capacity Empowerment Program. Students will debate at the HEI level, and the winning team will represent their respective University/Faculty in the University Debate Marathon.
Three of the teams with the highest scores, as evaluated by the judging panel, will be selected to participate in the ‘From Word to Action’ Campaign. Here, they will receive evidence-based advocacy training develop proposals, and implement initiatives in collaboration with students from their University/Faculty.
The proposals from the activists of the ‘From Word to Action’ Campaign will be detailed by the participants in the Youth Debaters Forum and presented to policymakers and civil society actors. These stakeholders will share their recommendations and interact with the youth. Finally, the project will conclude with publishing three policy papers and advocacy meetings with relevant stakeholders.
Applications can be submitted online until December 10th, 23:59. The application is accessible here. For more detailed information on application criteria and the organization of this edition, please refer to the terms of reference document.
Learn more about previous editions here.