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Thursday 26 June 2014, Justine Brian

Debating Matters National Final 2014

On Friday, 12 schools from across the UK will be making their way to London for the Debating Matters Competition 2013/14 National Final

Debating matters because ideas matter. This is the premise of the Institute of Ideas Debating Matters Competition which emphasises substance over style, and the importance of taking ideas seriously. Debating Matters challenges 16‐19 year olds to go beyond the media headlines and delve deeper into some of the big issues confronting society. It’s about giving young people a tough intellectual challenge and getting them to examine and weigh up competing perspectives and evidence for themselves.

When the Institute of Ideas launched the competition in 2003/04, it aimed to present schools with an innovative and engaging approach to debating. Topical debates and a challenging format appeal to students from a wide range of backgrounds, including schools with a long tradition of debating and those with no experience at all.

On Friday, 12 schools from across the UK will be making their way to London for the Debating Matters Competition 2013/14 National Final, taking place from 27-29 June at the British Library.

Each of those schools began their journey last autumn by winning their local Qualifying Round, then fended off five of the best schools in their region to secure one of just 12 coveted places at the National Final. The teams are no doubt preparing, planning, arguing and thinking about the debates ahead of them, including motions on humanitarian intervention, commercial surrogacy and coal and climate change to name just three. During the course of the weekend the student debaters will be challenged and put under pressure by distinguished guest judges from industry, politics, science and the media, including: Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party of England & Wales; Dr Jeremy Farrar OBE, new director of the Wellcome Trust; Vicky Pryce, Chief Economic Adviser at the Centre for Economic and Business Research; and Martin Horwood, Liberal Democrat MP for Cheltenham, amongst many others.

In addition to the fifteen debates being held over the course of the weekend, the British Library are hosting a private drinks reception for the national finalists, and Debating Matters are staging an inspiring ‘balloon debate’ on the one place the students must visit in life, and why!

This will be our eleventh National Final - but the Debating Matters ethos remains the same: to privilege content over style, and to take debate and ideas seriously.

Follow the debates and events at the National Final live via Twitter with #DMNF14

The 2014 National Final is open to the public and guests, school supporters and family and friends are very welcome to attend on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29, subject to availability. However, there is strictly limited seating capacity so if you would like to join us please RSVP without delay to Jason Smith or call 0207 269 9230.

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