The Society organizes weekly debates throughout the year. These training events are held on Tuesdays at 18:30 in the city center. Weekly debates help our members develop their debating, public speaking, argumentation and English skills by providing a chance to practice and receive feedback from experienced judges on a regular basis. The trainings are open to all, as we believe everyone should have the chance to train and improve these vital skills. We match beginners with more seasoned speakers and provide them with training material to get started.
The society organises workshops, which range from teaching about debating-related skills, such as developing arguments or judging, to introducing specific topics, such as feminism or diplomatic sanctions. The workshops are usually held jointly with weekly debates. Workshops are the best way to impart constructive advice, examples and exercises on how to debate. They are useful to both newcomers and more experienced debaters, and are tailored to the needs and suggestions of the participants.
Apart from regular workshops, Helsinki Debating Society (HDS) organizes more intensive training days and weekends, where we invite internationally acclaimed debaters to share their wisdom. These events consist of workshops, debates and other exercises, and provide a unique chance to learn from some of the very best debaters out there.
In order to raise awareness of academic debating, the importance of good argumentation as well as significant societal issues, HDS arranges public debates. They feature introductions or panel discussions by experts in the field, and are followed by a debate by our experienced debaters. Previous public debates have examined the refugee crisis, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and the Israel-Palestine conflict, to name a few.
HDS both participates in international tournaments and organises them. Debating competitions are organised all over Europe and the world, and offer a wonderful chance to practice debating intensively as well as meet other debaters from all around the world. It is possible to take part in a tournament in a team of two debaters, or as a judge.
HDS organises various tournaments throughout the year, usually in cooperation with Aalto Debating Society (ADS). Our biggest tournament is the Helsinki Open, which attracts almost two hundred participants annually. We also organise many other tournaments such Helsinki Mini, Ota Open and the Freshers’ Tournament. These competitions are vital in offering our members opportunities to debate against international teams and receive high quality feedback from acclaimed judges invited from different parts of the world.
After our practices, debaters go out to discuss and spend some time together. We also host dinners, movie nights, picnics, parties and other socials where members old and new come together to mingle, have fun and connect with each other.