GIBS @ the Winter Holidays Open

As the Christmas holidays approach, our highly motivated and successful students took it upon themselves (with some encouragement from Mr Ó Cribín Soldo) to again represent GIBS and indeed Austria at the incredibly competitive international debate tournament, the Winter Holidays Open 2023, in the iconic city of Zagreb. Despite a busy end of year 10 students gave up their weekend to attend this demanding tournament. Valentina Stock, Sofia Schuppler, Igor Kizik, Joshua Polt, Bence Wesseling, Anna Demus, Emile Bullens, Ferdinand Dorschl, Nils Maletz & Felix Fintl from 7i, 6i & 6b formed 2 Teams to compete against the best debaters from across the globe. Their commitment and dedication has helped to establish GIBS as a strong presence in the debating world.


While debating interesting topics on social, legal and philosophical issues, they had a chance to debate against and meet some of the 85 teams from interesting places such as USA, Canada, China, Netherlands, Germany, Turkey, Singapore and South East Europe. We can be very proud of our performance since many of the teams included the national champions from USA, Canada, Czechia, Germany and more were participating at this tournament.


1 of our teams won 4 out of 6 debates with the other Development Squad winning 2 debates, wowing judges who rewarded them with impressive speaking scores.  Along the way they had to take stock with some honest constructive feedback improving each time for the next round. They were ultimately ranked 25th out of the total 85 teams. Given the extremely high standard our team missed out on qualification due to tie breaking criteria. In fact they were ranked 7th in the ESL category and 5th in the Novice Category. Igor Kizik deserves a special mention for being ranked 9th in the Novice (out of 200) and receiving a very high score for his speech on Power Sharing Post-Conflict societies.


They duked it out with some of the best debaters from across the Globe and each member of the team had a role to play, contributing to their success and seems to have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. They were also able to socialise with their peers, making friends with fun and interesting people from around the world. We could not be more proud of their achievements and they obviously should be proud of themselves that hard work and dedication paid off.


A special thanks, of course, goes to Mr Ó Cribín Soldo who not only coached them to this level but was also asked to judge the Grand Final of the entire tournament, as well as the Novice Final. This in an incredible honour since there were many very experienced and high qualified coaches and judges at this tournament. As part of our GIBS delegation he also arranged for his brother, Dónal Ó Cribín, a law graduate, to be a judge and offer his experience and advice to the team. This demonstrates our commitment at GIBS to the values of learning, critical thinking, & engagement on a wide range of issues and topics. It also emphasizes how we are building a reputation as a respected debating institution in Europe. As we continue to grow we are also hoping to participate in more competitive international tournaments, where we can put our best foot forward representing GIBS, Graz and Austria at this highly competitive stage.



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