Jugend debattiert international is the only international German-language debating contest for students. Beyond supporting language acquisition, it strengthens conversation skills and promotes a deeper understanding of democracy. Thus the project not only encourages democracy, but also works towards the formation of an international young elite. The debates revolve around topics such as school life, fundamental rights, history (especially historical experiences of injustice), and European politics. Jugend debattiert international targets students from 9th grade onwards who master German at least to the level of B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference. The project is integrated into the curriculum. In class students are trained in the rules of debating and enter the competition on a school level. The best students compete the next stages of the competition: regional and national level. In the International Final the best students meet to present their skills to an international audience.
In the following twelve minutes the four debaters can exchange their arguments without strict regulations. During the final round the participants have one minute each to reflect on the arguments and summarize their final position in the light of the debate. A jury of three evaluates the debate according to the following points: expertise, eloquence, conversational competence and persuasiveness. Language skills are not included in the assessment.
Jugend debattiert international is a mutual project of the Goethe-Institut, the Foundation “Remembrance, Responsibility and Future” (Stiftung Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zukunft”) and the Hertie Foundation (Gemeinnützige Hertie-Stiftung) as well as the Central Agency for German Schools Abroad (Zentralstelle für das Auslandsschulwesen). In the participating countries the projects is also supported by national partners.