Striking the right balance after Brexit: QE storms into national round of debating competition
April 8, 2017
April 8, 2017
QE debaters have reached the national round of the European Youth Parliament competition after scoring a comprehensive victory against other leading schools.
The resolution proposed by the eight Year 12 pupils was the first to pass – by a vote from all the delegates – and was one of only two motions out of six that were passed during the day-long regional forum, which was held at the European Commission’s London offices in Smith Square.
Academic Enrichment Tutor and Geography Teacher Helen Davies said: “The QE boys came out as the clear top-performing team on the day. It was fantastic to see them getting fully involved in an event which requires such a wide base of knowledge about political events in the EU, as well as excellent public-speaking skills.
“It was particularly pleasing to note the feedback of the judges, who could hardly find any fault with our team. All eight boys should feel very proud of their performance,” said Miss Davies.
Team member Atul John reflected on a “thoroughly enjoyable experience”, saying: “Having only been given a few weeks to prepare for this, I was very pleased with how much we were able to contribute on the day. Being chosen to go through to the national round is a brilliant result and I’m really looking forward to it.”
The European Youth Parliament (EYP) is a competition which gives pupils the opportunity to discuss a range of topics affecting young people across Europe. Six resolutions were proposed throughout the day, each by a different ‘committee’ (i.e. school) and all delegates had the opportunity to respond, before a vote was taken on whether to pass each one. Other participants included teams from North London Collegiate School and City of London School for Girls.
QE’s team were representing the Committee on Human Rights and were proposing the resolution: “With the aftermath of Brexit showing a sharp rise in hate crimes, how can the European Union protect its minority groups from racially motivated crime whilst safeguarding its citizens’ rights to freedom of expression?”
The team comprised: Fawwaz Ahmed, Eddy Burchett, Atul John, Rahul Kanwar, Ravi Karia, Usman Merchant, Karan Sanghavi and Jathieesan Umaasuthan.
“Ravi started off the QE session with a rousing three-minute speech outlining the key moral themes behind the resolution,” reported Miss Davies. “Atul took on a key role, effectively responding to attacks and proposed amendments to the resolution from other delegates.” Key ideas covered by the team included the importance of education at all levels in society, as the most viable and long-term solution to reducing prejudice, and the importance of community service for more minor offences as a method of ‘paying back’ to society.
“Rahul gave a very clearly constructed summation speech, referencing past EU law and emphasising the importance of unity and cohesion between EU countries to enable a more effective solution.”
Throughout the day, the QE team also responded to resolutions on a range of other interesting issues, including: EU relations with the new US administration; the EU’s ethical obligations in terms of its arms exports, and how best to support the large percentage of EU citizens who experience mental health problems and how to reduce stigma in this area.
“Jathieesan gave a particularly insightful and inspiring speech attacking another committee’s resolution which proposed market control on sugary drinks: it played an important role in preventing that motion from being passed,” Miss Davies added.
“The judges noted that all eight of our students were very good public speakers individually, but also worked very effectively together as a team, sharing ideas and information with each other throughout the day. In addition, they were praised for knowing their research inside-out and for applying key points and evidence at appropriate points through the debates, rather than just listing facts and figures. On many occasions, our boys brought an entirely new line of thinking to the debate, which was then followed up by other schools.”