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City and Islington College students debate the UK's place in the EU

Debate in the Neighbourhood UK finished 2012 with a flourish this Wednesday, when the DiN group at City and Islington Sixth form College held a public debate on the motion “This House believes that the United Kingdom should leave the European Union”.

Eight students from the College were joined by two guest debaters, Brian Denny of the Rail Maritime and Transport workers Union and former World Debate Championship Best Speaker Manos Moschopoulos, as they discussed the possible consequences of the UK’s departure from the EU, the role of the European Economic Area and claims that the Union is suffering from a democratic deficit.

City and Islington’s library lecture space was filled to capacity, and the panel’s main speeches were followed by a series of excellent questions and floor contributions that challenged the students to discuss the EU’s foreign policy initiatives and trade with developing states.

Wednesday’s event was the second DiN public debate that City and Islington College have run this year. In June, a selection of speakers who had taken part in an intensive debate training course gathered to address the motion “This House believes that socialism in Europe is dead” in front of an audience of over 100 students and members of the public. The topics for both debates were decided on by the students themselves, with support provided by IDEA UK.

The debate marked the end of the first full term of DiN training activities at City and Islington. Across the last ten weeks, City and Islington students have taken part in practice debates and coaching activities organised by IDEA UK, which have covered key debating and public speaking skills. The students have used their weekly debate sessions as a launch pad to explore complicated political and ideological controversies, including the legacy of the London riots, drugs policy and state funding for arts and cultural activities.

A recording of the latest City and Islington College public debate can be viewed on youtube.

The first City and Islington public debate is still available to view online, via the DiN website.

Debate in the Neighbourhood coaching activities will continue at City and Islington’s sixth form campus during the new year.

Debate in the Neighborhood uses training in public speaking and critical thinking to enable young people to take a more active role in civil society, to engage with public officials and policy makers, and to act as advocates their families and communities. Debate in the Neighborhood works with youth and community groups, further education colleges, and youth leadership organisations throughout London. Debate in the Neighborhood will be expanding into the rest of the UK in 2013.

For more information about IDEA or the Debate in the Neighborhood program, contact Alexander Cavell via acavell@idebate.org.uk.

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