LEPL Centre for Electoral Systems Development, Reforms and Training (Training Centre), in cooperation with the Faculty of Law of Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University (TSU) and Electoral Systems and Representative Democracy Institute, conducted the project "Student Debate - Club 2023”. The information-educational program is aimed at fostering of youth electoral culture and raising their civic awareness about the importance of constructive, argument-based debate.
As a result of the contest announced in the framework of the project "Student Debate - Club 2023”, I-III grade 36 students of the TSU law faculty were registered to participate in it. They were divided into 12 teams (3 participants in each team). The Training Centre trained young people involved in the project on the techniques of debate; emphasis was placed on elements such as: structure and rules of the debate; research and processing of arguments and evidences; public speech techniques. Within the program, students were also introduced to the technological innovations implemented in the voting process due to the reform in Georgia and were directly involved in the simulation of voting using electronic devices.
The debate tournament was conducted according to the following system: 8 out of 12 teams advanced to the quarterfinals; according to the results of the quarterfinals, 4 teams were selected for the semifinals. The final of the debates was held between the 2 teams with the best results.
The winners of the tournament were revealed by the judges, which included: CEC Deputy Chairperson, Deputy Director of the CEC Training Centre and persons invited from the TSU academic sector. The debate topic of the final included the discussion about the following election issues: "The unified list of voters should not be permanent and should be formed before each subsequent election" (evaluation criteria included consideration of the issue, including the use of electronic devices, in the context of conducting elections).
At the end of the tournament, the participants' awarding ceremony was held. CEC Deputy Chairperson Giorgi Sharabidze and Deputy Director of the CEC Training Centre Nino Berulava awarded the finalists with the memorable gifts. Dean of TSU Faculty of Law Tamar Zarandia awarded the winning team with the transitional cup. The final was held on June 27, 2023 in the second block of Tbilisi State University.
The CEC and the Training Center, in partnership with the higher education institutions of Georgia, continue to implement such information-educational projects which aim to deepen the interest of young people in the electoral process and promote their formation as active citizens.