On April 11, 2019, Partners Serbia organized a student debate on the topic “Is it wise to speak your mind?” at the Belgrade Open School (BOS), within the project “The Future of Freedom of Information in Serbia”.
Students of the current 26th generation of the Educational Program on Future Studies took part in the debate.
The debate was opened by Danijela Grubnic, Educational Program Coordinator at BOS, and Kristina Kalajdzic, Researcher at Partners Serbia, who took this opportunity to present the Project and its importance to the students.
Following their opening statements, Vladimir Medjak, the Vice President of European Movement Serbia, and Marko Selic, writer and musician, spoke about the importance of critical thinking and argumentative debate. They have laid out the baseline for the debate with students, after which the participants were separated into four groups, based on the Westminster Debate Model (The first Government – The second Government – The first Opposition – The second Opposition), and were given some time to think up the arguments for the debate, alongside Vladimir and Marko. The assignment of the Government was to represent the importance of speaking your mind, while the Opposition had to think of reasons why it should be wiser to stay silent in some cases.
During the main part of the debate, the students presented their stance on the issue. The panelists then gave their opinion regarding the debate and the argumentation of the teams. After that, the winning team was announced, and presented with a symbolic award from Partners Serbia. Besides Danijela Grubnic, the jury team also consisted of Uros Misljenovic, Program Manager at Partners Serbia, and Jelena Babic, Program Manager at BOS. The regularity of the debate was monitored by Evica Kuc, Communications and Development Manager at BOS.
After the winners were announced, the participants, organizers and panelists all summarized their impressions of the debate.
The debate helped develop a better understanding of important social values: democracy, rule of law, responsibility, transparency and freedom of speech, and encouraged students to share their views and take part in other activities relevant to the protection of these values at their local communities.
This is the first of six debates within the project “The Future of Freedom of Information in Serbia” which Partners Serbia is implementing in cooperation with the Bureau for Social Research (BIRODI) and Law Scanner, and supported by the delegation of the European Union in Serbia.