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Closer2Oxford meets Diwanieh / 25 June

Eight selected Romanian debaters and two trainers traveled to Jordan between June 18th - 22nd  for the debate exchange, the final phase of the Closer2Oxford meets Diwanieh project. We challenged participants to showcase their argumentation and public speaking skills in a mixed team tournament on the topics:

The best debaters in the tournament debated in a public event on the topic Governments shouldn't fund arts. Speaking for the motion were Anca Pelesteanu, Rawan Hourani and Hatem AL Hmoud and speaking against the topic were Paul Chichernea,Carmel Hilal and Ghassan Hijazi. Participating in the audience were the other debaters in the project and citizens of Amman.

Hats off to all debaters for their hard work, ambition and willingness to step out of their confort zone. The debates and all social activities of the exchange made June memorable.

The public debate from Weibdeh park is available here.

Images from the debate exchange are available here and here

Online debate rankings / 16 April

40 students from Jordan and Romania accepted our debate challenge, after participating in an intensive six day training. After a week of research, consultations and strategizing among team mates, all debate rounds are done, with 2 speeches on each side of the motion - Affirmative and Negative.

We are excited to present the ranking below and we congratulate all teams who debated on the motion: This House Believes western democracies have a moral duty to spread democracy across the world even when this involves using force. If under Ballots it reads 1, it means the team has won the round; if 0, it means it lost. Click on the team name to read the entire debate, scroll down to see the adjudicator's feedback and verdict, together with the speaker points.

You can learn more about the adjudicators volunteering for this round on our Facebook page.

Rank Team name Members Points Side Ballots Judge
1 Carmel and Yazan (see match 367) Carmel Hilal
Yazan Thabet Madridista
51.00 Negative team 1 Laura Bretea
2 Fingerprint (see match 368) Hareth Nwihi
Rawan Hourani
49.00 Affirmative team 1 Liviu Gajora
3 PoP: Power of People (see match 365) Ahmed Akour
Anood Amjad Abutayeh
49.00 Negative team 1 George Maxim
4 Seekers (see match 366) Teo Oprea
Claudia Pislaru
49.00 Affirmative team 1 Laura Ardeleanu
5 L.E.D (see match 369) Andreea Dumitrescu
Paul Chichernea
48.00 Negative team 1 George Jiglau
6 The Minions (see match 374) Anca Pelesteanu
Valentin Teodorov
47.00 Affirmative team 1 Ioana Georgescu
7 Borderless (see match 373) Nadia Nofal
Maria Antica
47.00 Negative team 1 Cristina Rosu
8 The Argument (see match 370) Mădălin Blidaru
Ruxandra Simion
47.00 Negative team 1 Bianca Prunea
9 The Champions (see match 372) Dalia Quba
Hatem Al Hmoud
43.00 Negative team 1 Calin Muresanu
10 Democratic Girl (see match 371) Anamaria Dorofte
Mihaela Costache
24.00 Negative team 1 Radu Ocrain
11 The Nile (see match 368) Luca Avadani
Olga Cojocariu
48.00 Negative team 0 Liviu Gajora
12 Challenge2Progress (see match 365) Alina Ciobotaru
Bogdan Muresan
48.00 Affirmative team 0 George Maxim
13 DBR -Death by Rebuttal (see match 366) Ruqayya Zakaria
Ghassan Hijazi
45.00 Negative team 0 Laura Ardeleanu
14 Mihai Paun with Laura Dorneanu (see match 367) Mihai Păun
Laura Dorneanu
44.00 Affirmative team 0 Laura Bretea
15 Fire Starters (see match 373) Anas Oweiwi
Katia Smadi
42.00 Affirmative team 0 Cristina Rosu
16 N.U.R.V. = Never underestimate radical vision (see match 372) Adelin Dumitru
Silvia Bitan
42.00 Affirmative team 0 Calin Muresanu
17 Wind of Change (see match 370) Osamah Fayez
Rada Naji
42.00 Affirmative team 0 Bianca Prunea
18 Double Trouble (DT) (see match 369) Ehab Haddad
Rana Srouji
42.00 Affirmative team 0 George Jiglau
19 MC - Magical Convincers (see match 374) Ibrahim Ammar
Por Osama
39.00 Negative team 0 Ioana Georgescu
20 Chaos (see match 371) Ayyam Alasaad
Ghassan Hilow
19.00 Affirmative team 0 Radu Ocrain



Reading Suggestions  / 25 March

We all have our favorite magazines, online publications, books or blogs. We thought it would be useful to share with you some materials that make good reading for the topic of this debate round - "This House Believes western democracies have a moral duty to spread democracy across the world even when this involves using force." We will keep extending this list until the debate starts.

Researching the motion is an essential step in understanding the topic and generates ideas that can be then turned into the arguments of a convincing debate case. Bear in mind: research makes all the difference between a real debate worth watching/reading and an amateur discussion.

We invite debaters to extend their knowledge on this topic by reading these articles and others they find relevant. 

Democracy Index 2013: Global Democracy At A Standstill, The Economist Intelligence Unit's Annual Report Shows

Egypt: Should We Cheer the People or Weep for Democracy?

Is Islam Compatible With Democracy?

A Point of View: Democracy and Islamic law

Can Islam and Democracy Coexist?

The Long Haul for Democracy in Iraq

'What We Owe Iraq': We Broke It, We Bought It

Rumsfeld’s War and Its Consequences Now

Tracking the "Arab Spring": Egypt’s Failed Transition 

Promoting Democracy Is Not Imposing Democracy

The Problem With Ukraine’s Transition to Democracy

What Makes Democracies Endure?


Online poll  / 20 March

We invited the online community in Jordan and Romania to vote the topic they thing deserves to be debated online, for a week. 
We proposed three debate motions and, gathering more than 45% of the votes, the topic of the debate rounds among the 40 debaters is: 
This House Believes western democracies have a moral duty to spread democracy across the world even when this involves using force.


Closer2Oxford meets Diwanieh trainings  / 11 March

Closer to Oxford meets Diwanieh started off with a series of training sessions. Students with various academic background (political sciences, law, foreign languages, economic studies, sociology, international relations, Islamic studies, psychology, geopolitics, cultural studies) gathered on March 1st, 2nd, 8th and 9th to share and gain experience in debating. We discussed concepts like motion/topic interpretation, burden of proof, argumentation and counter argumentation, and their impact on the motion. We also started preparing for the next project phase - the online debate to be held later in March, by practicing the online debate format.  See pictures from the training sessions on our Facebook page


Apply for Closer2Oxford meets Diwanieh / 5 February


Are you interested in debate and keen to get a taste of the Arab world? Participate in Closer2Oxford meets Diwanieh - a four month project in English, where you hone your argumentation skills by participating in local trainings in Bucharest and an online debate tournament on www.closer2oxford.ro. The best 8 Romanian participants will join a debate exchange in Jordan together with the Jordanian students. If you are one of the happy 8, you will also be part of Diwanieh: a public debate in the streets or a public landmark of Amman!



* you are a national or permanent resident living in Romania

* you are a university student (bachelor/master's/doctoral studies)

* you have an interest in debating and proven interest in current/foreign affairs

* you should not have extended experience in debating (over 1 year of regular training and/or participation at international competitions)

* you have a good command of English - reading, writing and speaking

* you are capable of working in culturally mixed teams

* you are able to travel to Jordan for 6 days in May 2014



[1] Fill out this application form

[2] Send your CV to office@closer2oxford.ro . Please write a short email introducing yourself, it would be best if you included your phone number.

The deadline is February 18th.

Please read the project phases and only submit your application if you think you have the time, energy and willingness to fully commit to all phases.

Please note that the Romanian participants who are chosen to travel to Jordan are expected to contribute 30% of their travel costs (120-150 Eur). The rest of the program costs, accommodation and meals are fully covered for all participants (Romanian and Jordan) chosen to participate in the last phase. The total cost of the experience is approx. 1000 Eur/person.

This project is a collaboration between Closer2Oxford (ARDOR) and Diwanieh (Leaders of Tomorrow).

Acest proiect este finantat cu sustinere din partea Comisiei Europene. Aceast publicatie [comunicare] reflecta doar vederile autorului, iar Comisia nu poate fi facuta responsabila pentru utilizarea informatiei pe care o contine.