Debating Matters Championship Berlin 2019

Having arrived at the University of Applied Sciences at 9 AM, we were all very excited for the day as we expected many interesting debating topics. We, Anna Pöggeler, Cecile Schuster, Lisann Kirmße, Janek Uhlich and myself, Loris Halama, all debated different topics. Janek and Lisann started off debating about the motion whether tourism benefits the world. They said that tourism does not benefit the world; however, due to their good research and especially their flexibility they won this debate. From tourism Anna and Cecile moved on to the question whether constant health monitoring does more harm than good. Their amazing debating skills enabled us the participation at the semi-finals although they had to deal with many difficult questions from the audience. At lunch, we talked to other schools and properly prepared for the semi-final debate about whether it is wrong for countries to offer tax incentives to attract investment. This debate was on a quite difficult topic and the arguments from both our school and the Eckener high school were very convincing so we were even more excited about the results of this debate. Our heart rates steadily increased as we were waiting for the results. When our school was announced we were on one hand extremely happy but on the other hand, the tension for the final debate rose as well. Anna and I could not believe that we had made it to the finals; luckily, we had prepared this debate thoroughly as well. Now, we were sitting in front of about 100 people, including well educated judges and people from different high schools all over Berlin, trying to convince the audience that Western museums should repatriate cultural artefacts whereas the Leibniz high school said Western Museums should not repatriate cultural artefacts. With very good team cooperation, Anna and I found appropriate answers to the audience’s questions but we also impressed the judges with our knowledge we acquired from deep research. Having controversially debated for approximately one hour, we had the honour to hear mostly positive feedback by the judges. The relief was big when we left the stage waiting for the final results which will have an impact on our school’s reputation. As the judge was about to present the results, we could already anticipate that those aspects mentioned by him comply with our achievements. When the winner’s name of this year’s Debating Matters Championships, Bertha von Schuttner, as it was written on the certificate, was announced we were absolutely over the top. We received many precious gifts and a lot of applause. In addition, Anna Pöggeler was honoured with the Best Speaker Award and received a partial scholarship for the University of Applied Sciences. We, as the 2019 Champions, were leaving the University at 6.45 PM exhausted but very happy having spent more than eight hours debating. In the morning we did not believe at all that we will leave this competition with a trophy but we, as the Bertha von Suttner high school proved again that we are among the best schools in Berlin. Being told that we were outstanding and that everyone was impressed by our high intellectual level of contributions satisfies us rather much.

Of course, we also like to thank Mrs. Brehm for giving us this wonderful opportunity. We are already looking forward to next year’s Debating Matters Championships!

Besides Mrs. Brehm, we all like thank the judges as well. Firstly, there is John Battersby, past New York Times South African correspondent; secondly there is Pascal Heymann, founder of “Berlin Speaking” and lastly Barbara Klimke, an editor of the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”. Additionally, big thanks also goes to Mrs. Beppler-Spahl who organised the entire competition as well as Mrs. Duchow of the University of Applied Sciences Europe for the amazing Catering and the gifts.


Loris Halama, 11. Jahrgang