“Ideas for Free Society”

“Ideas for Free Society”

The Tajikistan Free Market Centre is running a Debate League “Ideas for free society” launched in 29th of March, 2015 as a unique debate project with several education tours. The main idea of the League is promotion of liberal ideas to the young people.

 

 

 

NARRATIVE MID-REPORT

Public Organization «Tajikistan Free Market Centre»

Project: Promotion of liberal ideas among Tajik youth through involvement in the debate movement

Debate League “Ideas for Free Society”

March-May, 2015

 

Introduction

Debate League “Ideas for free society” launched in 29th of March, 2015 as a unique debate project with several education tours. The main idea of the League is promotion of liberal ideas to the young people.

This project is implementing by Tajikistan Free Market Centre with cooperation of Dushanbe Debate Centre and with finance support by Friedrich Naumann Foundation and Network for a Free Society”

Debate League will proceed four months (March-July) and involved to the project 16 debate teams from two main cities of Tajikistan – Dushanbe and Khujand, young people from 16 to 30 years old. The format of the Debate League is American parliamentary format. Debaters

The aim of the Debate League is raising awareness and involvement of young people to social discussion. The topics for discussion concern concepts of free society, the role of individual and state in the scope of policy, economic and social activities.

The topics of the League concern several issues like the concept of free society; culture does matter in economic development, freedom and law, individual and state, political power and market, civil society, pluralism and tolerance.

Unlike common debate tournaments or seminars this Debate League scheduled several education activities plus debate as a method for the period of four months. There are planned 14 seminars (7 in Dushanbe and 7 in Khujand) as many as debate tours. The League was designed by this way that each debate team should debate with everyone. That takes opportunity to identify the best of the best. Such kind approach has a good education impact.

This is a new, unique and big debate project in Tajikistan.

 

Activity description

There were conducted 5 seminars in Dushanbe and Khujand during of 2.5 months of Debate League.

In Dushanbe there were seminars with such kind of topics:

  1. Ideas, freedom, society;
  2. Cultural and religious precondition for economic development. Culture does matter;
  3. Rights, legislation and freedom;
  4. Individual and state. Human rights;
  5. Pluralism and tolerance.

In Khujand there were seminars with such kind of topics:

  1. Ideas, freedom, society;
  2. Cultural and religious precondition for economic development. Culture does matter;
  3. Civil society;
  4. Individual and state. Human rights.
  5. Pluralism and tolerance.

Note: Topics are the same in both of cities but the order of presentation can be variable because of personal schedule of speakers.

In the first seminar of League “Ideas, freedom, society” debaters learned from the presentation about the role of ideas to generation of policy, economic and social systems; how ideas rules, exert on impact on our lives. What we should understand by the concept of free society and how in different periods and different countries thinkers understand and interpret this idea – from ancient China (Lao-tzu) to western philosophers like Smith, Kant, Wilhelm von Humboldt and etc.

There were chosen several motions:

  • This House believes that democracy doesn’t lead to the free society;
  • This House believes that government should control of morality in society;
  • This House believes that government should make a decision concerning private life of people if the public interests will prevail over private ones.

The second seminar of the League dedicated to the concept of “culture does matter” or “Cultural and religious precondition for economic development”.  Participants learnt from presentation about the role of culture and religion for economic development. There were brought common concepts and examples concerning culture based on work of such kind philosophers like Ibn Khaldun, Machiavelli, John Calvin, and Max Weber.

There were chosen several motions:

  • This House believes that mentality is a key factor for economic development of society;
  • This House believes that economic globalization is a threats for cultural identity;
  • This House believes that religious conservatism make an obstacles for economic development.

The third seminar of the League was dedicated to the topic of “Rights, legislation and freedom”. During presentation participants learnt about what law and rights are, in what cases these concepts means the same things but in what cases its different. There was concept of law as process of discovery but not a set of officials orders, bylaws; there was drawn a parallel between market and common law and between despotism and legislation. There were demonstrated main differences between two core ideas: positive law and natural, intrinsic rights` concept.

There were chosen several motions:

  • This House believes that laws should fix common rules in society (natural rights, common laws) but government shouldn’t make new laws;
  • This House prefers case law than law-making by parliament;
  • This House makes compulsory licensing for wearing of beards, traditional Muslim dress code and other religious attributes.

The fourth seminar of the League was dedicated to the topic of «Individual and state. Human rights». There were touched upon questions concern human-state interrelations, individualistic and etatistic approaches, the question where the red line of official power and personal freedom and in what kind of cases state can lock down social actions.

There were chosen several motions:

  • This House believes that government can change (extend or restrict) civil or political rights of individual if national interest requires it;
  • This House provides reforms even though this contradicts to the democratic electorate;
  • This House believes that only elite can successfully govern a state.

What civil society is and what role does it play for social progress were the main questions of above-mentioned seminar.

There were chosen several motions:

  • This House believes that social progress is possible without civil society;
  • This House prohibits use foreign funds for financing of civil society organization;
  • This House believes that social security system should replace by organizations of civil society.

The fifth seminar of the League was dedicated to the topic of “Pluralism and tolerance”. This theme was touched upon issues concern diversity of opinions, ideas and approaches. What difference between tolerance and indulgence? In what cases we should be loyal and tolerable but in what cases we should act and say stop it.

There were chosen several motions:

  • This House prohibited to publish/spread in mass media anecdotes, cartoons and other media content which expose into satirical or mocking way some ethnic or religious groups;
  • This House believes that tolerance is a manifestation of civil/secular radicalism;
  • This House restricts cultural pluralism.

 

Many motions were developed by provocative, sensitive vein therefore create fervent debate battles. Many pros and cons were there. Moreover, referees and experts of Tajikistan Free Market Centre after each debate round provide detail feedback concerning content and technique of presentation and speech. The average number of the Debate League participants is reach to 20-30 people in every city. Common audience of the League is about 40 people.

 

Photos:

Also there are two photo reports which are attached to this mid-term report. Also visit our web site www.freemarket.tj or our group “Ideas for free society” at Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/1812011095689737/

 

 

Media cover:

Each seminar and new tour of the Debate League is usually announced by press-release to our partners and mass media.

This project was announced in many mass media, in foreign as well:

International debate education associationhttp://ru.idebate.org/events/95144

Project activity are also mentioned by state media and even in blogs:

Khovar, National information agency of Tajikistanhttp://www.khovar.tj/rus/regions/44824-start-debatnoy-ligi-idei-dlya-svobodnogo-obschestva-v-hudzhande.html

International debate education associationhttp://ru.idebate.org/news-articles/96003

http://sogdiana.tj/main/637-start-debatnoy-ligi-idei-dlya-svobodnogo-obschestva-v-hudzhande.html

We published in our web site www.freemarket.tj articles with the comments of the League participants. Several times our articles re-published to the pages of our partners. We can enforce our PR activity however there are several things which can make a barriers for it. Government of Tajikistan tries to control all activities with young people.

Mid-term project result:

The main objective of the project was focused to provide of liberal ideas, concepts and knowledge for the League participants. We consider that our activity is leading this project to the pointed aim. Each seminar of the Debate League has a good impact to young people appreciation of the issues of free society. Doing debate they fix the ideas of free society more deep and robust.

Definitely we can say that at the end of Debate League participants of the project will have at least general comprehension of the concept of free society; they have got different approaches and aspects of interpretations: cultural, political, economic, etc.

Education aspect of the project has been accomplished. League participants should search read that literature what is necessary for the motions. That point that winners of the Debate League will take diplomas and good prizes makes them more active and responsible. For that reason they take participation for all seminars and rounds of League. There they have got new and unknown before knowledge and facts.  The main advantage of League unlike tournament is time by time continual impact to project audience. That makes education impact more efficient.

The main short-term impact to the project is raising interest to debate, but through debate to liberal thoughts. The other upside of the project was in our capacity building, good image and access into debate community of Tajikistan

Without any doubts we can say that this project demonstrated its efficiency and effectiveness in the aspect of “value-cost”. Next time in the case of fund availability we suggest providing such kind of activities every year.

 

 

Mr. Konstantin Bondarenko,

Chairman of Board  of

Tajikistan Free Market Centre»

Photo Report – Debate League in Dushanbe

Photo Report – Debate League in Khujand

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