The International Debate Education Association (IDEA)
Verbattle is proud to announce its partnership with The International Debate Education
Association (IDEA), which develops, organizes, and promotes debate and debate-related
activities in communities throughout the world.
The power of words to move and inspire change knows no boundaries. Verbattle is
an inspiring example of the talent and ambition of young people everywhere to influence
the world around them.
Over the last fifteen years, I have organised school and university debating competitions
across the globe and judged the final of the World Championships on several occasions.
Formal debate has great strengths. With only fifteen minutes preparation time, it
forces students to think quickly, to be flexible, to understand many angles on a
single issue, and to analyse logically.
Yet there are also weaknesses. Formal debates are adjudicated by a panel, not an
audience. While this ensures fairness, it reduces the importance of presentation
skills to make a case compelling. It encourages debaters to ignore the importance
of varied pace, good body language, genuine passion and powerful illustrations in
persuasion. Sadly, you can get a long way in competitive debates without being a
good public speaker.
The Verbattle Junior competition reinforced the importance of these neglected skills.
I saw young people speaking confidently without notes, linking logic to experience,
communicating with an audience. Young people to be articulate yet great listeners,
logical yet sensitive. This is the only way to change hearts and minds in the real
world. It was an inspiration to enjoy hearing the speeches.
I wish Verbattle growth and success in the years to come. It is a magnificent programme.
Neill Harvey-Smith Associate, Garnett & Simpson
Chair, World Debating Council 2008-10