Ani Kovacheva, a first-year student at AUBG and a co-founder of the AUBG Debate Club, shares her journey in the world of debating – from establishing an online debate club with friends to being a judge of the World Universities Debating Championship.
On Creating Opportunities
In the last year of high school, due to the absence of a debate club in her hometown – Kyustendil, Ani, together with a few friends, established an online debate club. “Its primer goal was to be accessible to people who do not have a debate community in their cities or schools,” Ani said.
Wishing to continue popularizing the art of debating, Ani, in her first semester at the university, co-founded the AUBG Debate Club. When talking about the reasons behind the establishment of the club, Ani highlighted two points – the university’s well-known student club culture and the potential to become a leader in the Balkan debating circuit.
“The board of the club and I thought that the university is a great place for trying to form a debate community,” she said. “The majority of us were coming from a debate background and we wished to continue debating in university. We were convinced that expanding what we do would bring more benefits both to us and the AUBG community – by providing a place for eager students to express themselves on hot topics.”
On the Preparation Process
Currently, the AUBG Debate Club consists of 15 people who are either debaters or members of different departments, such as Events, Marketing, and Sponsorship. As Ani explains, during the training sessions, any club member has the opportunity to receive guidance and individual coaching sessions from more experienced members of the club. Thus, they not only develop their personal skills but also build strong relationships with one another.
“To prepare for a tournament one must first find a suitable partner,” Ani said. “From that point on, they need to start “prepping” different motions. This means that they look at a variety of topics that have been given on previous championships and they think about what strategy they would use in a similar motion, they come up with arguments, etc. (…) It not only allows you to explore different motions, but it also helps build a team dynamic between the two people – something that is very important, having in mind that in a competitive environment, you only have 15 minutes before entering a debate.”
On Past, Present, and Future in Debating
In Fall 2022, one of two teams, which were representing the AUBG Debate Club at the Bulgarian national debate tournament’s final, won the competition. As Ani highlights, members of both teams were recognized as the best individual speakers. Shortly after, the AUBG Debate Club showed similarly high results at the “Sofia Open 2022” international championship.
Over the winter holidays, Ani represented the Bulgarian delegation as a judge at one of the biggest and most prestigious debate competitions – the World Universities Debating Championship (WUDC) 2023 – in Spain, Madrid. In addition to her role as a judge, Ani took part in the competition, representing AUBG among 160 other universities, and reached the final within the public speaking category.
When talking about future plans, Ani highlights two Spring 2023 events of the AUBG Debate Club and her participation as a speaker at the upcoming European Universities Debating Championship. “This is also the first time an AUBG team is going to represent the university in such a major debate competition,” she said.