What is IDP?

Intermediate Debate Practice takes place every Thursday and is for members who are familiar with the rules and conventions of British Parliamentary debating and are looking to take the next step. Training consists of tactical seminars, content specific training and practice debates with plenty of feedback.

“For someone with no prior debating experience before University, IDP really helped me grow as a debater this year- the seminars covered an array of useful subjects, the debate motions were always interesting, and most importantly the feedback was insightful and specific!”

Anasuya Narasimhan, European University Debating Championship Breaking Judge

Meet the Trainers

George Filippopoulos

IDP Trainer

George recently ranked as the 8th best English as a Second Language speaker (and 30th overall) at the European Universities Debating Championship 2019. Since starting debating at Durham he has reached five finals, winning three of them in multiple categories, at competitions in Oxford, UCL, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Durham. Abroad, he has reached the semifinal of the Trinity IV and Quarter Finals of the Athens Open. He started debating in school, where he won 4 competitions, including the Greek National Championship and was a part of the national team.

What’s your favourite thing about debating at Durham?

Everyone is super approachable and friendly and I always felt welcome as a fresher! We were always invited to the pub with our trainers after practice and I was always comfortable to ask for additional feedback after a debate. This welcoming atmosphere is what makes debating at Durham so special.

What advice would you give to someone nervous about coming to training because they have no experience?

Come along anyway! Everyone starts out not knowing how to debate but once you get the hang of it it’s great fun. Admittedly, your first few speeches will probably not be your best, but trainers are always there to give you pointers on how to improve and you’ll be debating confidently in no time at all.

Joel Nee

IDP Trainer

Joel started debating in secondary school and represented Singapore at the 2016 World Schools Debating Championships, where he was ranked the 8th best speaker. Since coming to university, he has broken at the World Universities Debating Championships 2019, the Birmingham IV, and the Durham IV. As a judge, he was part of the CA team of multiple debate competitions in China and judged the finals of Durham Schools 2019.

What has been your favourite moment?

Debate is not all serious intellectual business – a big draw is the awesome socials and wonderful places that debate competitions allow you to experience. Celebrating with friends on New Year Eve at the World Universities Debating Championships in beautiful Cape Town has probably been my fondest memory.


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