Blogging Competition

The Debate@Europe Blogging Competition aims to enable young people from six European countries to voice their opinion on an issue that affects young people across the European Union.

The competition is organised by the International Debate Education Association (IDEA) in partnership with four Debate@Europe Partner Organisations:

·         the Estonian Debate Society (Estonia);

·         the Youth Educational Forum (Macedonia);

·         ARDOR (Romania); and

·         the Slovak Debate Association (Slovakia)

Participants are expected to create and maintain a blog on the Debate@Europe microsite at http://ateurope.idebate.org between September 15, 2012 and October 25, 2012.

The competition is open to young people aged 15-30 from Estonia, Macedonia, the Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, and the United Kingdom. Participation is coordinated on the national level by the Debate@Europe Partner Organisations, listed at the end of this document.

The Convenors of the competition are IDEA staff members Anne Valkering & Manos Moschopoulos.

The deadline for the submission of blog posts to be considered by the adjudicators is October 25, 2012.

Theme

The theme for the Debate@Europe Blogging Competition will be the Future of the European Union.

Competitors will be expected to address one or more of the following questions:

1.        What does it mean to be European? Is there an actual European identity? How does an European identity compare to your national or regional identity? How do you see that identity developing in the future?

2.        How does the European Union impact your daily life? As a young person, what do you think the Union should do in the future to accommodate your needs?

3.        What do you think of the Eurozone crisis? How do you think Europe should respond to it? Do you think the Eurozone has a future or do you think it will collapse?

4.        Do you think young people care about the EU? What steps do you think it should take in order to make itself more appealing to young people?

5.        Do you think the EU is democratic? Can it do anything to become more democratic as an institution?

6.        How can the EU respond to far-right populism? Is there a meaningful role for the EU to play in the integration of minorities and migrants in European societies?

7.        Do you believe the EU should have more or less power in the future? How do you think it should exercise its power, in relation to the existence of national governments?

8.        Do you think the EU should expand further after admitting Croatia in 2013? Do you have a country in mind that should become part of the EU, and why?

Rules and Adjudication

All competing blog posts should be at least 300 words and no more than 700 words in length.

An international panel consisting of nine adjudicators (one adjudicator nominated from IDEA UK, IDEA Netherlands and each of the four Debate@Europe Partner Organisations and three independent adjudicators from European states not participating in the project selected by the standards committee[1] will rank the blogs according to a pre-determined set of criteria that will be published by September 15 on the Debate@Europe microsite at http://ateurope.idebate.org.

Blog posts are expected to be argumentative in nature and blogs are awarded a mark out of 100, reflecting the particular strengths and weaknesses in the following areas:

1.        Argumentation and Reasoning: 25 marks

2.        Research / Use of Evidence: 25 marks

3.        Structure and Organisation: 10 marks

4.        Relevance to a wider audience: 15 marks

5.        Originality of thought: 15 marks

6.        Frequency of posts: 10 marks

Also, two blogs will be awarded as the 1st Most Popular Blog and 2nd Most Popular Blog respectively, based on the number of unique idebate.org users that comment with their blogs. The Convenors reserve the right to discount votes that originate from fake or duplicate accounts.

All blog posts may be featured on the IDEA family of websites, including the Debate@Europe microsite at http://ateurope.idebate.org, and/or the partner organisation’s individual websites. Participation in the contest implies the participants’ consent to have their blogs made available to the general public through electronic and other means.

It is the responsibility of the participant to ensure that the submission does not contain any material used in violation of copyright law.

The Convenors reserve the right, at their own discretion, to reject submissions that contain one of the following:

·         Being irrelevant to the competition’s theme

·         Remarks that that vilify a person or a group on the basis of colour, disability, ethnicity, gender, nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation, or other characteristic

·         Coarse language and/or profanities or other offensive uses of language

·         Inappropriate images, such as nudity

·         Plagiarised content

Participants under the age of majority in their respective countries should contact their national Debate@Europe Partner Organisation to enquire about possible further action they need to take in order to participate in the competition.

Prizes

Five winners will win an all-expenses-paid trip to Amsterdam in order to participate in the Debate@Europe final conference, taking place from November 28 to December 2. The winners will be expected to participate in the debating competition and training sessions that form part of the final conference.

If any of the winners is unable to travel to Amsterdam, the same offer will be made to the next best participant in the relevant category (Best Blogs or Most Popular Blogs).

Travel to the event will be booked by IDEA (Netherlands). Winners may be able to claim reimbursements for their own travel arrangements with IDEA’s explicit consent.

It is the responsibility of the participant to ensure that they have the proper travel documentation to travel to the Netherlands (approved national ID or valid passport for nationals of EU/EEA member states and Switzerland, valid biometric passport for Macedonian nationals and valid passports and/or visas for other nationals.

Individual country partners may choose to award further blogs at their own discretion. Further awards may not be recognised or showcased by the International Debate Education Association.



[1] Standards Committee: Bianca Dragomir (Romania), Hana Skljarszka (Slovakia), Kai Klandorf (Estonia), Manos Moschopoulos (UK), Anne Valkering (NL) and Georgi Velkovski (Macedonia)