by Ivan Vuksanovic, Alumni Coordinator for Montenegro
The national debate tournament “NATO, what do you say about that?” organized by the Montenegrin – American Youth Alumni Association (MAYAA) took place from October 18 to October 20, at the University of Donja Gorica in Podgorica, Montenegro.
The tournament brought together 18 debate teams from across Montenegro, and one of it’s goals was to help and motivate youth to research and gather information about NATO and encourage critical thinking about Montenegrin Euro – Atlantic integration process through structured discussion based on facts.
During the first day of the tournament, more than 70 participants visited the Army’s base ‘Milovan Saranovic’ in Danilovgrad. Participants had the opportunity to tour the base, hear about current processes the Army of Montenegro is going through, learn about cooperation with NATO and plans for the future from Major Radivoje Radovic, which helped them gather valuable information for the debate competition.
Later that day, at the University of Donja Gorica, participants had the opportunity to hear pro et contra panel discussion regarding Montenegro’s future in terms of our NATO membership and ask representatives of the Government, opposition, NGOs and Universities questions.
The second and third day were days for competition. Teams had to go through four qualification rounds and debate on four different topics:
1. This House believes that NATO should be disbanded;
2. This House believes that NATO membership contributes to environmental preservation;
3. This House believes that Montenegro should continue participating in the ISAF mission;
4. This House believes that NATO should continue its expansion.
The semifinal debate was an impromptu debate, where participants learned what topic they would debate on shortly before the debate took place. The topic of the final debate was: ‘This House believes Montenegro should become NATO member.’
The team from “Slobodan Skerovic” High School in Podgorica (Marija Dedic, Dea Đebric and Jovan Pavlovic ), won first place; SMŠ “Danilo Kis” (Aleksandar Knezevic, Irena Gigovic and Kristina Radjenovic) won second place; the this place award went to “Slobodan Skerovic” High School’s second team (Milica Music, Andrija Klikovac and Đorđije Strugar.)
This project gave the opportunity to youth from all Montenegrin regions to learn more about NATO in general, exchange opinions, learn from people involved in the NATO integration process and ask all the questions they wanted to ask. It also gave them the chance to learn more about the civilized exchange of arguments which had to be based on facts and reserach.
This project was funded by the U.S. Embassy in Podgorica through a grant awarded to MAYAA.