Refugee Week Exhibition Debate

Free Debate was once again pleased to help out with the annual Great Refugee Week Debate. This year’s debate was held on 17 June at Whitten Oval and coincided with the launch of Maribrynong Council ‘s Building Bridges – Cultural Games booklet. The booklet contains lots of fun games from different cultures and is part of a programme designed to bring people together through playing games. This year’s debate topic was That It’s Better to Make Music than Kick Goals a spirited and entertaining debate about the merits of Music vs. Sports. Once again the debate featured a team from Braybrook Secondary College (on the affirmative side) against a team of adults (on the negative). Free Debate’s Roland Dillon and Rob Koh helped coach the adult team (Duku, Claudia and Deng), but once again the students proved victorious on the night due to their imagination, humour, logic and Chris Judd. Thanks again to Kiemi Lai, Engaged Communities Coordinator of the Western Bulldogs and Vanessa Korfiatis of Maribyrnong Council.

DAV Development Squad 2009

Free Debate’s Liz Sheargold and Rob Koh were invited to help out with the Debaters Association of Victoria ‘s 2009 Development Squad. Each year the DAV selects a Development Squad, a group of specially selected promising debaters from various secondary schools throughout Victoria, and provides intensive debating training. Rob presented an interactive lecture on economics and Liz facilitated a British Parliamentary style debate on the topic That We Should Radically Increase Taxation on Alcohol Consumption. We’d like to wish the Development Squad all the best and we hope to see you again soon! (And not just on facebook).

St Albans Secondary College

Free Debate trainer Anthony Kung conducted debating training for some year 8 and 9 students at St Albans Secondary College. After outlining the fundamentals of argument, persuasion and presentation the students put their skills to excellent use in the DAV Schools Debating Competition. They displayed improved argument formulation, greater confidence and a real enthusiasm for debating! Free Debate thanks Fiona Taylor for her eagerness and for allowing Free Debate to facilitate this introduction to debating.

Western Chances Young Western Leaders Summit 2009

Free Debate trainers Kim Little, Ajay Kevat, Lucia Pietropaoli, Amit Golder and Lynne Featonby conducted a lengthy session as part of the Western Chances Young Western Leaders Summit. After an introduction to the basics of persuasion and public speaking the students were split into small groups and asked to prepare and present a speech on a topic of their choice. The diversity of topics was impressive and the participants displayed real passion for their subjects. They learned and spoke with enthusiasm and the feedback from the students suggested that the interactive session was as rewarding for them as it was for the trainers. Free Debate thanks Helen Worladge and Zion Abatayo for organising an excellent event and inviting Free Debate to participate.

Summer School with the Australian Karen Foundation

Over 2 days at the beginning of the year, Free Debate trainer Lynne Featonby attended the English Language Summer School of the Australian Karen Foundation in Werribee. A class of 15 youths and adults, originally from Burma, added to their English language skills through several sessions of public speaking and argument training. The students prepared and presented speeches to the group, engaged in group discussions about government policies and displayed great improvements in their confidence and abilities! The sessions were very enjoyable for the students and trainer. Free Debate thanks Kiemi Lai, Engaged Communities Coordinator at the Western Bulldogs who recommended us. Free Debate also thanks Kath Cooney from Foundation House, who ran the Summer School Programme.

Confidence training for Asylum Seekers

In line with Free Debate’s commitment to assisting the under-privileged, Free Debate ran a training course for asylum seekers. The purpose of the course was to assist asylum seekers to develop confidence and clear public speaking skills. The course ran on Wednesay nights for four weeks at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. Free Debate trained 12 newly-arrived asylum seekers from countries such as Sri Lanka, Cameroon and Pakistan. Participants debated several topics including a thorough and interesting debate on the merits of prisoners being able to vote. The group also recieved practical training on negotiation skills and engaged in useful training exercises. Free Debate looks forward to new opportunities to work with asylum seekers. Also, many thanks to the participants, Michelle Newton and the ASRC for their help in this collaboration.

Monash Radio Interview

Free Debate’s Lucia Pietropaoli and Rob Koh took part in an interview on Radio Monash’s ” The Dirt ” as a follow up to our help with the Refugee Week Exhibition Debate back in July. We were also lucky enough to be joined by participants Cuc and Meseret and organiser Kiemi Lai from the Western Bulldogs’ Engaged Communities. Click here for the interview (for a short time only!)

Youth Parliament!

Free Debate trainers Lynne Featonby and Kim Little assisted teams representing the Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre and the Victorian Arabic Social Services to prepare for the sitting of Youth Parliament. The Spectrum Team of 6 participants proposed a bill to increase and tailor the provision of English language services to children and young people who have recently arrived in Australia. The VASS team, also numbering 6 members, prepared a bill to tighten restrictions in advertising, particularly regarding alcohol and sexual imagery. Both teams worked hard on their bills and overcame anxiety and nerves to display real improvements in their presentation skills in only a few weeks. The Spectrum team succeeded in securing the passage of their bill. Both teams enjoyed their participation in Youth Parliament and a member of the Spectrum team received an honourable mention for her speech. Free Debate congratulates both teams on their hard work, progress and achievements. Free Debate thanks Hala Abdelnour at Spectrum MRC and Lisa Tribuzio at VASS for their enthusiasm and support of their teams.

Hiroshima & Tokyo Debate Seminars

Building on the success of the recent Spring Seminar2008, and with the generous support of the Australia-Japan Foundation, Free Debate sent coach Rob Koh to Hiroshima and Tokyo. Rob assisted delivering a one-day introductory seminar to local and exchange school students in Hiroshima, debating the very serious topic That This House Would Abolish the Death Penalty. Following attendance at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony on 6 August, Rob attended the Tokyo International Academic Conference on Argumentation and then the Takadate Cup, a freshman university tournament hosted by Keio University, where Rob was a last minute entrant in the competition! Finally, Rob conducted a 3-day Intensive Debate Camp (IDC) for university level debaters (pictured above), teachers and the Japanes National Schools Team, covering topics including economics, politics and cross-cultural communication. The camp was a great success and also allowed Rob to do some shopping in the famous Shimokita district! Please contact us if you were a participant of IDC9 and would like a soft copy of the materials. Free Debate would like to thank the generous support of Masako Suzuki for organising this itinerary and looking after Rob during his stay!

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