Opening Minds since 1998
Opening Minds since 1998
Debate Clubs in Small Cities in Romania, September 2021
Our mission at ARDOR is to stimulate the culture of reasoned and reasonable dialogue in Romania and to increase the number of citizens involved in civic life. And we do this by training students and teachers academic debate and argumentation.
We have been promoting debate as an educational tool in Romania for more than 20 years now and we have influenced for the better the life of thousands of young people who have benefited, in various ways, from our work and educational programs.
There are 5 different ways through which we bring debate education to society:
- The highschool students’ program, our ‘core’ and oldest program, involves at present over 100 debate clubs in highschools all over the country, in large cities and small towns (Eg: Nehoiu, Alexandria, Medias, Caracal, Harsova, Husi, Deva etc) and over 40 annual events (debate tournaments and training camps) for over 1700 students each year.
The teachers program, reaching more than 26.000 students each year, has 2 objectives:
- Firstly, is aimed at helping teachers all over the country learn how to use debate and deliberative pedagogy in the classroom, regardless of the subject they teach. Romanian teachers organising mock trials in the classroom for Lică Sămădăul (‘Moara cu noroc’) or debates about climate change in geography classes are just a couple of examples.
- Secondly, it is aimed at preparing those teachers who teach the accredited optional subject “Debate, Oratory and Rhetorics” (national accreditation by the Ministry of Education in 2011), reaching more than 3.000 students each year.
To implement this program, we organise summer camps and trainings and local sessions (in over 26 counties) of the professional training course for teachers “Innovative strategies to teach debate, oratory and rhetorics” (over 600 teachers from 2017 to 2020).
- The university program spans a network of 6-10 university debate clubs in Bucharest, Cluj, Iasi and Timisoara and around 5 yearly events for over 100 university students.
- We select and train the National Debate Team of Romania for the World Schools Debate Championship. In 2020, Romania ranked in the top 16 teams worldwide and was awarde the title of ESL Champion.
- We offer argumentation courses for business through “DialogON” program (www.dialogon.ro).
In the last three years some of the most important projects have been
- "Debate Education Network 2.0" (2018-2021), funded by the Romanian American Foundation, whose goal is to increase the quality of training in the debate circuit and bring the organization to a better level of financial sustainability.
- "Future Citizens 2.0" (2019-2020), funded by the US Embassy. We managed to set up debate clubs in some of the most disadvantaged highschools (from rural areas or technical and technological in small towns) from the poorest counties in Romania (Vaslui, Neamt, Botosani, Teleorman, Ialomita, Calarasi, Gorj, Hunedoara, Caras). Since the beginning of this project, we have provided support for 112 teachers (instructors) from 63 schools and over 800 students from the respective clubs.
- “Instructori de Dezbateri 2.0” (2020), funded by Raiffeisen Bank, a camp organized in January 2020, in which 35 experienced instructors participated in training and practice workshops to further develop their skills and methods of instructing (teachers and students).
- “Online Debate and Democracy Camp for Instructors”, funded by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Foundation, was a camp for 50 instructors without experience in debate in which they learned basic elements in academic debates.
ARDOR is an umbrella association for a network of 6 regional debate associations, that cover geographically the who country:
ARDOR Muntenia (Muntenia), AGORA Debate (Transilvania), ACORD (Moldova), ACDV (Banat), AES and ARGO (both Prahova/Dambovita).