Unfolding Global Issues and Space Exploration at the NESDA Tournament
On Friday last week, ASH hosted the 2022 NESDA tournament, with 85 participants coming from 7 international schools to our campus to compete, from grades 9 to 12. NESDA stands for New European Speech, Debate and Acting Association. Participating teams compete across five disciplines: debate, duet acting, original oratory, oral interpretation of literature and impromptu speaking.
The day opened with an exciting performance from the ASH Cheer team, and an inspiring talk by astrobiologist Nicol Caplin where she shared stories about her projects and ambitions within the European Space Agency. For this tournament, the topic students prepared for was: public funds are better spent solving global issues than on space exploration. The prompt is always connected to current events that students can learn from, research and explore.
In front of an audience and board of coaches, we heard the debate teams express their points and positions. Spanish teacher and ASH Debate Club leader Paula shared a few words on debate: “It’s all about communication. In any career path, it's essential that kids learn to communicate orally. It's going to open a lot of doors for them.” Debate is something that students often feel nervous about. To this, Paula explained how students can gradually work their way up confidently through lots of practice and enrichment courses until trying for the debate team. In her words: “The more they do it, the better they get. And by the time they’re seniors, they just love it and want to come back for more’’.
This is the first NESDA tournament that has taken place since the start of the pandemic in 2019. Paula shared “We’re so glad that it’s live again. There’s so many amazing connections; students start forming part of this NESDA group and want to keep coming to all these events, so it’s great”. Some students who volunteered to organize NESDA this year said that they felt inspired to participate in the tournament next year in Berlin.