When you hear the word “debate” you may think “disagreement” or “right” and “wrong,” but debate can also inspire fresh ideas, empathy, and seeing familiar things through a new lens.
That’s what our Fall 2019 students recently experienced in our virtual International Empathetic Debate Tournament between IES Abroad Centers around the world.
Led by Barcelona Center Director, Cèsar Alegre Alsina, 28 students across 14 teams participated in the debate tournament. The students spanned our Centers in Salamanca, Dublin, London, Nantes, Milan, Rome, Barcelona, Granada, and Amsterdam!
After several rounds, the IES Abroad Granada team was declared the winner. Congratulations to:
- Kaya Bothe (IES Abroad Granada, Academic Year 2019-20 | Brandeis University)
- Lily Irvin (IES Abroad Granada, Fall 2019 | Macalester College)
The first-ever debate took place in the Fall 2018 semester providing an opportunity for students across multiple Centers to meet other students who they may not have met otherwise, sharpen their critical thinking skills, and put their new global perspectives into practice. And the Fall 2019 tournament garnered a new name: The International Empathetic Debate.
But what exactly is an Empathetic Debate? IES Barcelona Center Director and Debate Coordinator, Cèsar Algere Alsina outlined why the debates emphasized empathy. “It is not only about having the winning argument, but also the ability to include the other team’s ideas into the final argumentation. It’s a true dialogue, where you actively listen and empathize with the other party.” This approach promoted finding inclusive solutions and collaboration to tackle real world problems while practicing active listening, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.