Our Club: The Berlin Debating Union

The Berlin Debating Union is the debating society of the universities of Berlin, Germany. We meet every Tuesday at 7 PM in the seminar building Dorotheenstr 24 in the 6th floor. In addition to these weekly meetings, we regularly travel to tournaments throughout the world, where we debate competitively against other universities.

It is the goal of the Berlin Debating Union to pursue three main objectives:

The analysis of political and social issues

Members of the Berlin Debating Union in a debate at the headquarters of the German Railway.

Debates are typically held in the British Parliamentary (BP) format, which has become the international standard for competitive debate at the university level. In this format, eight speakers are organized into four teams of two, with two teams representing the proposition and two teams representing the opposition side of each topic. The goal of debating is not to reach a consensus, but rather to persuasively articulate carefully reasoned analysis of the given topic. Debates are judged on the merits of this analysis and the overall persuasiveness of debaters and not on their specific knowledge of a topic. Because positions are drawn randomly, speakers are forced to engage not only with unfamiliar topics but also with unfamiliar arguments relating to well known issues.

The Improvement of Individuals' Ability to Express Themselves

Expressing oneself in public: a skill learned in debating

Citizens in a democracy must be able to develop their opinions on issue and present these positions in a clearly structured and convincing manner. Truely persuasive argumentation, however, requires the ability to understand and find answers to opponents arguments. We practice these skills in our debates, which are not merely a sequence of eight seven-minute speeches, but rather a dialogue between teams representing opposing positions.

International Exchange


Making friends from around the world: a discussion at a debate tournament

Debating originated in England, but has since spread throughout the world. The Berlin Debating Union regularly represents Berlin and Germany at numerous English tournaments in continental Europe, the UK and Ireland and across the world. This years European Universities' Debating Championship was held in Amsterdam in July, and the World Championship will be held in Botswana in January.

In addition to our travel abroad, the Berlin Debating Union has organized several large tournaments - including the Central and Eastern European Tournament in 2002, 2003 and 2004, with about 100 participants from 20 countries, the European Universities Debating Championships in 2006, with over 350 participants from across Europe and the Humboldt Berlin Intervarsity in 2010 with around 150 participants.

Upcoming Debates

Time Change on Feb 21:
German and English debates at Dorotheenstr. 24 in room 1.502 at 6 pm. Beginners are always welcome!

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