I was surprised by the invitation a month ago to the British Council Algeria’s Boxing Days debate competition, both by the invitation itself, and that Mat let me go when it was happening simultaneously with our Art & Design for Advocacy training in London. Algeria is an immense country (2.3million km2) yet one that is almost unknown in the UK. The inhabited bit is on the Mediterranean but there is a vast interior stretching into the Sahara. If Algeria itself is a bit off the beaten track its debate community is almost unknown.
Two debates in the 16th century Old Court Room at Lincoln’s Inn on Friday morning brought debaters from the Middle East and UK together on topics of interest to both the UK and the Middle East. The debates, organised by IDEA UK, were part of the Young Arab Voices (YAV) project run by the British Council and Anna Lindh foundation which teaches debate to young people across the Middle East and North Africa.
Increasing the intercultural exchange of the day the debates were performed with mixed teams of UK and YAV debaters on both sides.