Youth debate team, designed to strengthen civic fabric in Rwanda, to speak at Bates


LEWISTON — The iDebate Rwanda Team will speak at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3, at the Bates College Edmund S. Muskie Archives, 70 Campus Ave.

Part of the Harward Center for Community Partnerships’ Civic Forum Series, the free event is open to the public. For more information, call 786-6202.

iDebate Rwanda is an organization founded in 2012 that teaches young people in Rwanda and other East African countries how to debate in an effort to strengthen critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Through debating, the members of iDebate Rwanda learn approaches to leadership that, its founders hope, will help them in their professional lives and inspire them to create change.

At Bates, members of the iDebate Rwanda team will speak about the emergence of the younger Rwandan generation’s voice in creating their own sense of identify and leadership aims.

They will discuss how they are using debate to overcome the consequences and legacy of genocide to provide a new path for their nation and how they deal with those consequences in the representation of memory in debate, literature and other artistic forms.

In 1994, war and genocide against the Tutsi and moderate Hutu in Rwanda killed as many as 1 million people. More than 40 percent of Rwanda’s current population is under the age of 15.

iDebate Rwanda’s trip to Bates is part of a United States tour. Six of its members are spending two months traveling to schools, fundraisers and other events across the country.

The Harward Center for Community Partnerships at Bates promotes mutually beneficial collaborations between the college and the local community.