The European Championship of Debating is on of the largest gatherings of university students in Europe each year, this year held in Vienna, Austria.
I was fortunate enough to be selected to represent my institution, Edinburgh University, in this tournament. I was paired up with my friend and partner-in-debate, Nish Hegde. We took part in 9 rounds of competitive debating against the best of their kind in the UK and Europe. The tournament lasted for 7 days and by the end of it, I was exhausted but very happy about the opportunity to learn in Vienna.
Going to Vienna was a unique opportunity and I am grateful to the PGA Fund for it, as I was able to get to know lots of students and different perspectives in and out of the debate. It was a intellectual challenge that has broaden my horizons and made me a more emphatic human-being. Debating often involves having consider the perspectives of various groups of people, states, regions and differing actors, and therefore has speakers consider lives beyond their own. In all rounds of debating, with topics set by a diverse group of organisers, I was given this chance to consider the lives of others and argue for their greatest opportunity. I have made friends with debaters from the Netherlands, Russia and Israel, and the conversations I had with them were as important as the actual structured debates. Of course, it was not all about serious topics and motions…the Israelis taught me how to make fun a night out of a Viennese nightclub!
I attended the Debaters of Colour Forum and took part in numerous discussions about the inclusion of women in debating. Those sessions made me more adement about the need for equal representation within debating. It is not just about making the Scottish Debating Circuit more inclusive, but I see that the inclusion of more debating institutions in all of Europe allows for greater accessibility to what I believe to be a very important sport.
In all, I have to thank my partner, all those who came for Edinburgh, and genuinely every person I spoke to on my trip for what was a unique, educational, and fun experience.