Think! Critical Thinking Workshop, March 3What is an argument? A series of premises, followed by a conclusion. Simple. Or is it? The objective was to equip participants with the analytical tools to analyze and challenge arguments – and construct their own. To see these concepts in practice, we looked at how Polish foreign minister Radoslav Sikorski used emotional references to Europe’s turbulent history in his famous appeal to Germany to assume her leadership role in Europe made by in 2011. This contrasted with the neutral, fact-based arguments laid out by senior economic adviser Sir Nicholas Macpherson to make his case to British chancellor George Osborne against the creation of a monetary union between Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom in the event of Scottish Independence.
Our guest speakers Erik Dale and Pia Huettl from Bruegel think tank gave participants a brief overview of their most recent policy briefs and publications on major economic and policy issues such as the European Banking Union, net neutrality, talent training and immigration in Europe.
The afternoon sessions covered practical aspects of international negotiations, using the examples of clean coal financing to illustrate the current dynamic of environment and climate change negotiations and the example of youth unemployment to stress the role of critical thinking and the importance of cultural and national preferences in the way policy makers and civil society organizations are addressing this issue.
Speak! Public Speaking Workshop, Tuesday March 4
How can you use your whole body to support your message? How do you enter a room calmly and with dignity? How do you cope with difficult journalists heckling you at a press conference?Flóra Rétfalvi led the sessions covering all these questions and more – giving each participant individual feedback in front of the group in order to help them and the whole group learn more effectively. Participant Sabrina Göschl commented, “I love that we have do it ourselves, not just sitting there getting confronted by a lot of theories… we learnt about how to position ourselves, how to work with our hands and our bodies… Flóra told us that we should use our natural movements, and that really helped”. Putting into practice what they had just learned, everyone divided into groups, each one representing Russia, France, Germany, Hungary and the United States. In the space of a few minutes, each group presented its position on the situation in Ukraine, with each team member presenting part of their country’s position. Nicholas Wolkonsky, a Y20 delegate and French national who has spent a year living in Moscow commented, “I learned how to move, how to react, how to keep an audience’s attention”. Commenting specifically on the Crimea debate exercise, he adds, “I was representing Russia, so it was very interesting because I had to understand the Russian point of view on the situation in Ukraine”.