The Liberty Debates on Individual Liberty and Freedom

January 30, 2016 marked the completion of Samriddhi’s first ever venture into debate engagement for the young. We, in association with Debate Network Nepal, hosted The Liberty Debates – 1st engagement at King’s College, Babarmahal on the last Friday and Saturday of January. The theme of the month was Individual Liberty and Freedom and training was divided into two parts – on day 1, participants were introduced to ideas of individual liberty and freedom and British Parliamentary (BP) debate format. On day 2 – interested participants registered for a debate on a motion related to the theme and were judged by experienced adjudicators.

On the first day of the engagement, we saw a turnout of almost 30 interested young students, mostly new both to the idea of liberty and BP debating. Participants were introduced to the historical roots of liberty and to ideas on the same as proposed by John Stuart Mill, Ayn Rand and John Locke. Participants were then trained on the cores of BP debating techniques and technicalities.

On the second day of the same engagement, we had 8 participants competing in a BP debate on the motion ‘In light of recent events, this house would allow individuals to import fuel without licenses’. Participants speaking from the government side spoke on how it would make sense to legitimize this policy in trying times like the recent (with the ongoing blockade and recovery post-earthquake in Nepal). They expressed how allowing individuals to import fuel could be the only way to fulfill demand. The opposition in turn opposed the idea stating that monitoring would be a problem post-legitimization on such a massive scale and that the profit motives may be high causing unaffordability.

Post-debate on the second day, participants were given useful feedback on role fulfillment as speakers and brushing up content and execution. Audience members consisted of interested college and university students. Participants expressed the need for more such opportunities and were grateful for the opening of such a platform.

The first engagement was also used to announce prizes for the upcoming Liberty Debates Championship in April 2016, which will be a month-long debate league in BP format. Debates shall be run in both Nepali and English language categories and final scores shall be used to identify winners. The winning team is to be awarded Rs.30,000 and the runner-up Rs.20,000. The Best Speaker shall be awarded Rs.15,000. All prizes are subject to tax deductions.

The next engagement series is set to take place on the last Friday and Saturday of February (the 26th and 27th). The theme for the next month is Market Economy. You can register for the next engagement by emailing us at info@samriddhi.org or contacting us here!