Welcome to the Berlin Debating Union e. V.!

Are you interested in passionate debates? Join us at the Berlin Debating Union, one of Germany's finest academic debating societies!

The Berlin Debating Union is the debating society for students of all higher education institutions of Germany's capital as well as any other interested debater.

We meet every Tuesday at 7 pm to debate in English and German. Our debates usually follow the rules of British Parliamentary Style (BPS).

You'll find us in Dorotheenstraße 24, house 1, on the sixth floor.

The English language section of this site is currently being revised.

Current Events

October 2015: Two Berlin teams at SOAS IV in London

SOAS On the weekend of October 24-25 Pegah, Fabian, Lilli and Florian had the pleasure to attend SOAS IV in London. It was a fun tournament in which we debated for instance whether women should have two votes, the fall in the oil price should be applauded or Donald Trump was a good thing for America. After a tough competition in which the level of debate was generally rather high Pegah and Fabian broke into the ESL final whilst Lilli and Florian on 5th position narrowly missed it. It turned out to be an interesting final in which it was debated whether neutral states in the Second World War such as Switzerland should have to pay reparations. Whilst the BDU team did well, the victory finally went to our friends from Vienna B. A very good London weekend!

The Motions:

R1: This house would give women two votes in political elections.

R2: This house believes that law enforcement organisations should never provide incentives to gang members to inform on their superiors (e.g. plea bargains or monetary rewards).

R3: This house regrets the decline in oil prices over the last 18 months.

R4: This house believes that Donald Trump's presidential campaign is good for America.

R5: This house would allow countries to pay other countries to settle refugees who reach their borders.

QF: This house believes that the state should reclaim a fixed proportion of all charitable giving and redistribute it to other charities on the basis of their effectiveness.

Semi: This house believes that that the trans movement should actively seek to separate themselves, their issues and their collective identity from the LGBTQ movement in their campaigns and in the public consciousness.

Final: This house would prefer a world in which there are no extreme emotions such as boiling rage, falling madly in love, extreme grief etc..

ESL Final: This house believes that countries, like Switzerland, that were neutral in WW II should pay financial reparations to states occupied by the Nazis.

Florian Grünwald

October 2015: Show debate at Orbis Humboldtianus

Showdebatte im OrbisThe room was jammed at this year's show debate, which traditionally marks the beginning of the yearly novice program. Two of our teams debated the motion "Akademisierungswahn – Haben wir zu viele Studierende?" which translates to "Academisation-mania – are there too many students?".

Side proposition, consisting of Philip Schröder, Christina Dexel, and Pegah Maham, battled side opposition represented by Jonas Huggins, Rebecca Irvine, and Kai Ditmann. Since the majority sticked to the opinion that there aren‘t too many students (surprise!), side proposition engaged in convincing them otherwise at the social after the debate... We are looking forward to the next weeks of intense training, debating, and fun!

Sven M. Hein - Foto: privat

October 2015: No debate on October 20th

There won't be a debate on Tuesday, 20th of October, as we're preparing for our beginners phase.

October - December 2015: Show debate and beginners phase!

Show debate

If your interested in debating but haven't had the chance to try it out, this is the perfect opportunity for you. The Berlin Debating Union is hosting its annual beginners phase in which we are offering a show debate and weekly seminars!

The show debate will take place on the 22st of October and albeit being in German, it will be an opportunity to see what a debate is like and also to meet up with our members.

Beginning on the 27th of October we will start our series of weekly seminars on interesting topics regarding argumentation, refutation, debate styles and similar. Afterwards we will have debates in Englisch especially for beginners. The seminars will take place for 5 weeks.

To find more information (in German) please follow this link.

October 2015: Watch out! Time change

Wer hat an der Uhr gedreht
Achtung, Achtung! The next lecture period beginns on the 12 th of Oktober 2015. Starting with next Tuesday (13 th of October) we're switching back to meeting at 7 pm! You can find us at Dorotheenstraße 24 in room 1.601.

Pass on the message to everybody you know, so they get there on time!

September 2015: Lisbon Open

If debaters are usually asked about the reasons why they debate, often the answer happens to be “ Because of the unique opportunity to discover beautiful cities, which I would otherwise have not visited too soon” - perhaps this is not the most important skill one can acquire through debating, yet surely the nicest one. Our three BDU members were happy to confirm this notion: Christina Dexel, Calyx Peucker and Philip Schröder spent their weekend of 26 th/27 th of September in Lisbon at Lisbon Open 2015.

The German delegation in Lisbon

Die German teams in Lisbon: LMU Zeppelin (Philipp Müller and Calyxx Peucker), Berlin Wrecking Ball (Philip and Christina), Hamburg (Malte Westphal and Sibylla Jenner)

With genuinely sunny and warm 30°C, Philip and Christina were one of the three German teams, that had travelled to Portugal’s capital city. Fortunately, due to the good weather and plenty of pastel de nata (a Portuguese signal dish), the good mood was not ruined by the fact, that the first round planned for Friday at 9.30 pm could not start as some teams failed to appear on time. Rather the opposite, every one welcomed not having to debate late into the night. The tournament itself had already started at 5 pm, soon indicating its lovely and hectic, but well-sponsored character: whilst having coffee, and later dinner, teams were able to get to know each other before the official opening ceremony.

The tournament started next morning at the Business and Economics Faculty – ocean/river view included. Throughout the preliminary rounds of enthralling motions regarding media, politics, arts and ethics, our Berlin team Wrecking Ball hit off to a good start, though they had to wait until the next day for the break as round five had to be postponed to Sunday morning. The evening concluded with a “gala” dinner and a pub crawl in the old town, during which the participants had the opportunity to discover and marvel at the beauty of Lisbon by night.

Following the fifth round on Sunday morning, which had been hosted in the beautiful Fine Arts Faculty, our team was extremely happy to have succeeded on reaching the third place and breaking to the semi-finals. On the motion This house would never hold national referenda on social policies (e.g., gay marriage, abortion) they were debating against one Spanish and two British teams. Unfortunately however, after a very heated debate, they didn’t reach the final as one of two teams progressing. Nonetheless, they were comforted by the interesting final motion “This house welcomes the decline of religion due to the rise of science”, in which Calyxx (who had participated for Friedrichshafen/Munich) was debating together with his partner. Moreover, the speaker tab happened to provide even more joy: All three BDU members managed to get into the best ten speakers of the tournament with ranks six, eight and nine.

Congratulations to the winning team from Glasgow, and furthermore our sincere thanks for a wonderful tournament that, despite being somewhat chaotic, nonetheless offered excellent motions and had been the very first debating tournament in Portugal. We are looking forward to its next edition in 2016!

Motions of the preliminary rounds:

R1: This house regrets the use of graphic and distressing imagrey by the media in covering the EU refugee crisis.

R2: This house believes all parties should elect their leaders through open primaries (incl. fact sheet).

R3: This house would anonymise all art at stages of selling, distribution and curation.

R4: This house believes that states should never use lethal autonomous robots (incl. fact sheet)

R5: This house would give all the land rights to the indigenous people they historically belonged to (e.g., aborigines, native Americans)

Attila Dekany - Image: private

September 2015: Newcomer workshop

Last Wednesday, 9 th of September, we organised a newcomer workshop on debating basics, which was conducted by Frederick Aly. The workshop targeted new members that had joined us during our regular season from August to July but which hadn’t been able to participate in our newcomer phase at the beginning of the winter semester. Participants learnt the basics of making precise and convincing arguments, strategies on generating arguments and got an introduction into competitive debating and its different formats.

Debating isn’t just good for competitions: It’s an important soft skill for a lot of career paths and university courses – especially law, social studies and other arts - and plays a significant role in democratic processes. Therefore we are extremely pleased that a lot of university students attended and gave us positive feedback. We intend to repeatedly offer these workshops throughout the year.

Interested in joining us? Beginning with a show debate on the 22 nd of October, we’re hosting our regular newcomer phase, consisting of a five-week programme. More information on that soon, here on this page!

September 2015: Lazy but active!Hmmmm

There's absolutely nothing going on in this section momentarily - but there's a hell of a lot going on in the club! We're just too lazy to post in English... shame on us but "good job" to you for looking us up!

As described above you can find us on Tuesdays at 6 pm, at the Humboldt University (Dorotheenstraße 24, Room 1.601)! And if you have any need to contact us, find us on Facebook!

October - December 2014: Show debate and beginners phase!

Show debate

If your interested in debating but haven't had the chance to try it out, this is the perfect opportunity for you. The Berlin Debating Union is hosting its annual beginners phase in which we are offering a show debate and weekly seminars!

The show debate will take place on the 21st of October and albeit being in German, it will be an opportunity to see what a debate is like and also to meet up with our members.

Beginning on the 28th of October we will start our series of weekly seminars on interesting topics regarding argumentation, refutation, debate styles and similar. Afterwards we will have debates in Englisch especially for beginners. The seminars will take place for 5 weeks.

To find more information (in German) please follow this link.

November 2014: UCU Open in Utrecht

Christina, Lilian and AlexLast weekend (31.Oct - 02.Nov) our Team Berlin Habibi (Alexander Hans and Lilian Seffer) continued their WUDC preparation tour at UCU Open in Utrecht.

They were joined by Christina Dexel and Annabelle von Beusekom as adjudicators. Alex and Lilli were on track up till round 5 and only narrowly missed the break, whereas both Christina and Annabelle managed to break to the semis. We congratulate the winners from IIU Malaysia Syed and Ameera and express our thanks to UCU for what was a wonderful tournament!

The Motions:

R1: THW Would Legalise Polygamy.

R2: THW Legalize and Offer Substantial Rewards for the Capture of Elusive Criminals .

R3: THW Nationalize Pharmaceutical Companies (i.e. Glaxo Smith Kline, Pfizer).

R4: TH, as the USA, Would Significantly Cut Aid to Israel Unless They Withdraw to the 1967 Borders.

R5: THW Ban Players With Convictions for Violent Crimes From Playing Professional Sport.

Semi: This House Would Allow Parliaments, With a Two-Third Majority, To Pass Laws That Apply Retroactively.

Final: This House Supports Aggressive Atheist Proselytisation.

Oktober 2014: Breaking News! Our BDU Fan Wear Shop is now online!


We are proud to present our first online shop with BDU Merchandise. You can find a wide range of different T-shirts and other products with our Berlin Debating Union logo by clicking on the image. We're still working on the designs and products, so we're open for input, especially if you're missing a combination of a certain product and logo.

If you're willing to contribute with a design or an idea, just contact us at info[at]debating[dot]de.

Costs are production costs only, we don't make any profits on these T-shirts and do not intend to!

October 2014: BDU at Jacobs Open in Bremen

ShowdebatteThe weekend of the 24 th – 26 th of October led the Berlin Debating Union to Bremen where the international debating scene gathered for the Jacobs Open 2014. Despite being a rather small tournament overall, with only 16 Teams, the BDU was proud of its numerous participants. Tanja Hille and Moritz Altner participated as Berlin Dynamite and were joined byChristina Dexel and Philip Schröder as Berlin Wrecking Ball. With John Eltringham (competing with Pegah Maham for Bremen University) and Rebecca Irvine (competing with Ben Beaumont – Glasgow) two further BDU members came along to debate in Bremen. Our teams were joined by Alexander Hans and Frederick Aly as adjudicators.

Not less noteworthy was the fact that our former club president and two-times ESL EUDC-Finalist Niels Schröter was chosen to be a chief adjudicator. The tournament itself excelled specifically in the overall adjudication panel which was loaded with international exceptional debaters and our BDU teams did extremely well. After five preliminary rounds Moritz and Tanja only missed the break marginally – a win in the last preliminary would have secured their progression to the final. Similar can be said for John and Pegah who were tied on fourth with the team from Osnabrück (Jan Dirk Capelle and Stefan Torges) with identical speaker points but lost in the direct comparison.

Our team Wrecking Ball with Philip and Christina reached the final sovereignly on 11 points, coming in tied on second position with Rebecca and Ben, behind IIU B from Malaysia on first. In an exciting final with the motion This house believes that Barack Obama has not meaningfully improved the lives of African Americans in the United States, Rebecca Irvine and her team partner Ben from Glasgow won the debate from opening opposition. Congratulations to the winner and our big thanks to Jacobs University for organizing an enjoying tournament.

Motions of the preliminary rounds:

R1: This house as the feminist movement would actively speak out against make-up.

R2: This house regrets the rise of internet vigilantism. (Infoslide)

R3:This house supports Belgiums legalisation of euthanasia for children. (Infoslide)

R4: This house would ban video games in which players conduct illegal actions in an highly realistic setting (e.g. Grand Theft Auto).

R5: This house would stop free movement of labour within the EU.

September 2014: BDU at Red Sea Open in Eilat, Israel

Up till the 18th teams from all over the world are competing at the legendary Red Sea Open. Respresenting the Berlin Debating Union are: Anna Mattes and Matthias Winkelmann, joined by Kai Dittmann as an adjudicator.

We wish them the best of luck! So far after round 4 our team is on 7 points and still in the game of breaking.

Stay tuned for more Information on Motions and the Break!

The Motions so far:

R1: The Dalai Lama can choose to be reincarnated. This house, as the Dalai Lama, would reincarnate outside of China and Tibet.

R2: This house would re-ratify constitutions every 25 years.

R3: This house would exempt discriminated groups of anti-discrimination laws.

R4: R4: This house, as consumers, would not consume Art by eg. Woody Allen Roman Polanski or Chris Brown.

R5: This house, as the feminist movement, regrets the use of sex boycott.

R6: This house believes that it would be better for (the rest of) the united states of America if the southern states were to secede.

August 2014: BDU reaches EUDC ESL Finals!!!

The Berlin Debating Union, represented by Dessislava Kirova and Kai Dittmann, reaches the ESL finals of the European Deabting Championships in Zagreb - for the third time in a row. In an exciting debate on the motion This house would, assuming it was technically feasible, remove the ability of soldiers to feel fear, the team from Belgrade was able to secure the titel of EUDC Champion 2014. We congratulate Stefan Siridzanski and Helena Ivanov and are extremely proud of our teams from Berlin!

EUDC The German delegation at Zagreb EUDC 2014 ©Zagreb EUDC

Juli 2014: Niels Schröter will be CA at Jacobs Open 2014

Niels The Jacobs University Debating Society has anounced that Niels Schröter, long-term member and former president of the BDU, will be Chief Adjudicator of the Jacobs Open 2014 in Bremen. The tournament will be taking place from 24th till 26th of Oktober and is a great opportunity for german teams to debate internationally.

Niels will be joined by a panel of highly distinguished CAs: Cerys Bradley from Kings College London, Peer Klüßendorf from Lund Debating Union and Bionda Merkens from Roosevelt University. Additionally, ESL european champion 2013 Emilia Carlqvist and european champion 2014 Adams Hawksbee are known to be invited as independent adjudicators! We can be excited to see a great tournament with interesting motions!

Congratulations to you Niels!

Juli 2014: Berlin Debating Union wins the Boddencup 2014 in Greifswald

Sieger des Boddencups 2014The last tournament of the season 13/14 was a victorious one: Bastian Laubner and Lena Schneider won ahead of two other teams from Berlin and one from Marburg. The motion of the final was This house believes that the United Nations as an idea has failed in the short to medium-term. We pride ourselves on the fact that six of eight teams from Berlin managed to break, as well as three adjudicators, of which Christina Dexel reached the final.

Breaking BDU teams:
Lund A (Dessislava Kirova und Yannick Lilie)
Sternklarer Morgen (Lena Schneider und Bastian Laubner)
Rotkäppchen (Tanja Hille und Christof Kebschull)
Vaterkopf Abschiedstournee (Anna Mattes und Elisabeth Gniosdorsch)
Breaking Bad (Felicitas Hoster und Jan Fischer)
Die großen schlanken kurzhaarigen Mainzer Juristinnen (Alexander Hans und Agnes Ebenberger)

The Boddencup is one of our (if not THE) favourite national tournaments and ends the season of the german circuit. Despite being a smaller debating society, the debaters in Greifswald do a tremendous job in organising a great small and cozy tournament!

Juli 2014: Semester break

Please take note that our debating times currently shifted to 6 pm as it's vacation time. Debating will start punctually and we will have to leave the building by 8 pm as it closes. Enjoy your holidays and join us on tuesdays!

Juli 2014: The BDU general assembly has properly elected a new board!

This years general assembly took place the 8th of July and the old board, consisting of the chair Julian Ohm and of Marijana Todorovic, Jan-Felix Schneider, Sylvia Hartmann und Christof Kebschull, was discharged.
The new board consists of Tanja Hille, filling in as the new chair of the BDU, Moritz Altner, responsible for finances, Lilian Seffer, taking care of tournament affairs,Philippe Holzey, responsible for sponsoring and the alumni network, and Philip Schröder, in charge of the regular training.

We would like to thank the old board members for their dedicated work and wish the new boards members the best of luck and a bright upcoming year.

Der neue Vorstand

From front left to bottom right: Moritz Altner, Tanja Hille, Lilian Seffer, Philippe Holzhey, Philip Schröder

Januar 2014: We are the champions! BDU wins ESL Finals at WUDC 2014 Chennai

The new year starts with a bang! Dessislava Kirova and Kai Dittmann win the World University Debating Championships in Chennai. We are extremely proud of the two and are excited of what is to come!

Team Berlin A
ESL 2014 Winners © Henrik Maedler

If you would like to meet our champions or would enjoy seeing them in action, you should join us at our regular debate nights on Tuesdays....

Upcoming Debates

Our Tuesday Debates
We meet for debates in both German and English every Tuesday at Dorotheenstr. 24 in room 1.601 (house one, sixth floor) at 7 pm. Beginners are always welcome!


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Unterstützt durch Das Salzprojekt: Fleur de Sel und Schwarzer Pfeffer