In September 2013, the Jinishian Memorial Foundation launched the “Youth Engaged in Society 2013-2014” (YES) project, funded and supported by Open Society Foundations – Armenia. The goal of the project is to promote the further development of civil society by increasing the knowledge and interest of young Armenians in key issues related to the development of civil society, democracy, and human rights.
Through participatory methods of teaching and learning, the project aims to develop crucial communication and analytical thinking skills that will permit young Armenians to more actively participate in the development of Armenian civil society, today and later in their adult lives.
The most festive event of the YES project is the National Debate Championship (NDC), which is organized at the end of each academic year. This year YES NDC was held on May 1 – 3 in Yerevan. 174 debate club members and mentors representing 28 teams from 16 cities participated in YES NDC 2014. The final tournament was held on May 3rd between different collective teams representing Vanadzor city – Vanadzor 1 and Vanadzor 3 teams. The topic of the final debate was “RA state policy does not foster the formation and the sustainability of young families”. After an intense and lively debate, the Vanadzor 3 team prevailed to claim victory this year. At the end of the event all participants received certificates from the project implementing organizations and gifts. The top four participants also received medals and bookstore gift cards.
In 2014 the YES project celebrates its 10th anniversary. For many years the YES project has given an opportunity to school children from different cities and rural communities to learn debating skills and develop their own opinions around different topics of importance. This year was also significant as the NDC debate teams with the best results had an opportunity to participate in a 4 day summer camp at Artur’s Resort in Aghveran. 53 students and mentors participated in a series of trainings on teamwork, public speaking, communication, speech writing techniques. All trainings were conducted in an interactive way aimed at making the learning process more interesting and productive. Participants also had an opportunity to learn a new World School Debate format and conducted demonstrative debates on various topics. Along with training sessions a dancing evening and many interesting outdoor activities were organized. The YES project and the YES Summer Camp gave the participants a great opportunity to acquire new skills and knowledge and use them practically in debates.
This article was originally published by Open Society Foundation – Armenia and it is with their permission that it has been republished.