In November 2011, the ESU sent a pair of Delegates, Charlie Morris and Akash Mukerji, on a five day tour of Denmark, where they delivered speech and debating workshops to students and teachers. The pair also worked closely with the country’s newly-formed World Schools Debating Championship team, training them for their first competition in South Africa. One of the delegates, Charlie Morris, reports:
We touched down to an unnerving scene; a storm was blowing across Copenhagen and the wind-chill factor had hit -10C. Thankfully, our worries were immediately soothed by our wonderfully hospitable hosts, Claire and Jill from ESU Denmark who welcomed us to Copenhagen. The following day was spent at Skt Annæ School where we were introduced to the students who would be battling it out for the right to represent their classes in the competition between themselves and Herlufsholm – the school in Nævsted in the south of Zealand that we would also be visiting. While Akash met the first group of students taking part on Thursday, Charlie was introduced to the 5 students heading to Cape Town in January. At the end of the day, we reconvened and headed to the Hard Rock Cafe (for some traditional Danish cuisine, obviously!) and could only remark on the stunning level of potential that we both encountered. The students were talented, enthusiastic and wonderful to teach.
The next morning was comprised of much of the same before we took the train south the Nævsted to visit our second school – Herlufsholm. Here, at the only school in Denmark to have a compulsory uniform, we were assigned the task of moulding experienced Model United Nations (MUN) speakers into debaters – not the easiest task by anyone’s measure. Once again though, their willingness to learn and, perhaps most importantly their quick-fire wit, meant they were offering mind-shredding Points of Information in no time.
The final event was the competition that the tour had been building up to. The final, on the motion that “This House would ban Pornography” – only appropriate in the country that was the first to legalise it – did not disappoint with both teams doing their institutions proud. After a lengthy discussion between us and the 3 ESU Denmark members that kindly agreed to lend their time, the competition was won from opposition by the rookie underdogs from Skt Annæ.
Though the level of debating had been exceptional and the country a joy to visit, we both agreed that the aspect of the trip that we would most remember was the incredible hospitality we received from all involved. Everyone at ESU-DK was fantastic and the teachers in charge of the programmes at their respective schools – Charlotte at Skt Annæ and Ann at Herlufsholm – went beyond expectations in every possible way. When we got on the plane back to England, we both agreed we would eventually forget the weather, but would never forget our experience of Denmark.