Give youth a voice so educate youth to debate!

OPEN UP Societies! Let youth be heard! Give them a voice so educate youth to debate!

The program 'OPEN UP! Let youth be heard' closed this year its second vibrant training for trainers exchange in Istanbul end of October, organized by IDEA NL and the Debate Association Turkey. The aim of this program is to give all young people a voice. That is why we train in OPEN UP! youth workers, teachers, counsellors artists and journalists to use debate education to give their youth a voice! We believe that if they learn how to debate, they are able to understand better their desires, aspirations and problems and this gives them opportunities to debate solutions and alternatives that could be better for them than the current status. We hope this contribute to a generation of youth and open societies where young people ánd adults have the competences to argue in an informed and reasonable way about well understood problems that needs to be changed for them and the common good. And debate education is supporting this process and helps silent and invisible groups to speak up too.

As participants stated:

“Through debate youth can Speak up and Step up-Get involved-and Make their voices heard!”

“Debate education doesn’t have any boundary, no matter backgrounds, all youth can speak up!”

“Debate education gives young people a toolkit in their life” and “It supports youth to become more active citizens”

"Empower youth to debate and let them be the drivers of change in their communities".

Again it was a fantastic OPEN UP! exchange in Istanbul. More than 44 participants from 14 countries joint the learning circle, the trainings, excursions, debates, dialogues and discussions. Youth workers, young role models, debate educators, artists and journalists participated in this exchange. There were debate educators from the Netherlands, UK, Estonia, Lithuania, Macedonia, and psycho social counselors from Romania, Turkey and Greece who worked with young refugees. Role models from Portugal, Romania and Estonia, Belgium and the Netherlands who all work with migrant youth, coaches from Bulgaria who work with orphans, and teacher from the United Kingdom and Italy who work with various students in vocational training schools. There were journalists and artists like an Italian sing and songwriter, a English theatre maker and a Turkish rap group. The talents and the commitment, to connect all youth to society, made this an impactful exchange.

Like last year, also this group emphasizes again the importance of article 12 of the UN CONVENTION for the Rights for the Child. They said;

“Listening to the next generation prevents young people from future problems;  Fair cooperation with youth in decision making processes is effective because it is about them, the young people. It motivates them to realise their desired changes. They see they matter and are heard, and  this It gives youth self esteem. It creates a peaceful environment. So make sure youth are able to speak with a clear voice.”( Open UP participants, Istanbul 2017)

Therefore debate education is needed. It teaches youth to speak with a better voice so that young people are heard. The Open UP! participants in Istanbul developed the statements to emphasise why debate education is so important and how you can also create impact to contribute to open and inclusive societies. Those statements are all rooted in good practices in their own context when they offered debate education to their young target groups. You will find those statements soon. Currently, they are further developed into a campaign, so  follow us!