First Oxford-style debate successfully held at the University of Tartu
The event was held on the 10th of May and organised by five Master’s students from Skytte MA programmes as part of the Tartu Chapter of European Horizons, a non-partisan US-based student think-tank. The debate aimed to provide a platform to allow different stakeholders to exchange their opinions and arguments on EU-Russia Relations.
The recent Salisbury attack has raised tensions between Russia and the EU as Russia allegedly used a chemical agent to poison an ex-Russian spy and his daughter in the UK. More than 150 Russian diplomats from 27 countries were expelled as an international response. New sanctions are still arguably on the table. To discuss this scale of EU-backed diplomatic expulsion against Russia, the debate sought to discuss whether the EU’s actions have shown its understanding towards Russian foreign policy. The motion of the debate was set as “the European Union does not understand Russian foreign policy”.
Participants included former Estonian Prime Minister and EU Commissioner Siim Kallas, German historian Dr. Olaf Mertlesmann, student debaters Maria Kull and Erik Haamer and junior research fellows Thomas Linsenmaier and Eoin McNamara.
“I was inspired by the debates at the Oxford Union,” said NG Chun Sing, the main organiser and 1st year Master’s student of EU-Russia Studies. “Tartu is a city of good thoughts and there should be more debates on critical issues like EU-Russia relations.”
The event concluded with the audience siding with the opposition team (Erik Haamer, Thomas Linsenmaier, Eoin McNamara), believing that “the European Union does understand Russian foreign policy”.
For more information, please contact NG Chun Sing, president of the UT student chapter of European Horizons. chun.sing.ng [ät] ut.ee
About European Horizons
European Horizons is a non-partisan US-based student think-tank. It consists of some 60 European and American universities as regional branches, including Yale University, London School of Economics, and College of Europe. The University of Tartu’s branch aims at facilitating academic discussions through organizing debates on European affairs including EU-Russia relations, Eastern Partnership (EaP), and e-governance. The executive board consists of five Master's students from EU-Russia Studies, Democracy and Governance, International Relations and Regional Studies, and European Studies. The Chapter’s academic adviser is Dr. Stefano Braghiroli.
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