Men are more vulnerable to trafficking than women; children are protected from trafficking in Armenia. These are the topics of the debates that started 28 November in Yerevan, Armenia.

The national debate contest, organized by the Jinishian Memorial Foundation (JMF) with the support of the OSCE Office in Yerevan, gathered 40 students from six Armenian universities, in Yerevan, Idjevan, Gavar, Gyumri, Goris, Kapan and Vanadzor. The contest gave them an opportunity to improve their public speaking and debating skills.

To prepare for the final debate contest, they were trained by an OSCE expert on trafficking issues, as well as on research skills and good practices in debating.

“The debates create a platform for professional or amateur speakers to exchange opinions and defend their own viewpoint,” said Meline Gevorgyan, a second-year student of the International Relations Department from Yerevan State University, participating in the debates. “It also teaches you to listen carefully and respect the arguments of your opponents.”

The debate participants were divided into eight teams with five people in each team. The two best teams will meet in the finals tomorrow where the winner will be announced. The contest is assessed by a jury composed of NGO representatives and OSCE representatives.

Debate clubs have been set up in several Armenian universities by the Jinishian Memorial Foundation with the aim of promoting civic engagement among students.