How debating at IE University is helping shape our future global leaders

@Robert Wagner

To truly become an innovative changemaker on a global scale one must be able to work outside of their comfort zone and express their opinions and ideas with ease. They must be able to communicate, adapt, and listen to anything thrown their direction.

Although IE University demands that its students put in a high standard of hard work and effort in all their university work, it also values its students abilities to acquire external knowledge and be able to discuss topics away from the classroom setting. IE University helps its students to follow their desire to learn outside of classes and put to use their learned experience in other educational fields. The university achieves this by promoting clubs and events that help foster intellectualism and dialogue. This is the case of Political Think Tank (PTT), an IE club aimed at encouraging political discussion and debate within a formal environment.

The club is currently run by a team of PLE students: Marc Rimond; Lea Mathies; Kaius Telaranta; and Ricardo Angel, all of whom are running the club for the 2018-2019 academic period at the  Campus in Segovia. So far, they have hosted several events, all of which have been a huge success from the club’s leaders perspective as they all achieved the goal of encouraging a wide range of opinions within a formal dialogue.

Robert Wagner attended one of these events to gain an essence of what the club was all about.

The topic up for discussion was “The Future of Warfare.” Any conversation involving the military is always controversial, so the upcoming debate was set to be interesting. The meeting started off with Mr. Rimond introducing the topic and then opening up the floor to the participants. The debate soon came to heads when several participants began discussing the future of nuclear weapons. This quickly created tension as some participants argued in favor of Nuclear Proliferation, and others against its permanent destruction. All parties used examples and thought-out responses to add to the discussion. Furthermore, the amount of information being used in discussion was highly impressive. It was evident that the participants had spent some time preparing beforehand to help elevate their points and opinions.

When the event ended, the conversation moved out to the hallway, cooled off and eventually subsided. Having spoken with the club organizers afterwards, it was clear that the meeting was a huge success as it achieved its intended result.

PTT brought together a studious group of individuals who were eager to participate and elaborate their ideas and opinions with everyone. All of their arguments were backed up by research and were fully developed. The students who attended proved themselves to be of a high caliber when it came to politics.

These students help define the ideal PLE student; they promote the ideals of reason and debate to come together and share their ideas. These events help someone’s seemingly controversial or different ideas to become known in the mainstream edifice of political thought. The club’s aims are designed at integrating these ideas and allowing the participants to think about the subject under a deeper level of scrutiny. Participants in these PTT events walk out having gained some thoughtful insights which perhaps they had not thought of prior to the debate. Although they may not agree with everything (or anything) discussed at the club meeting, they leave with a new set of questions worth considering under the focused lens of individual inspection.

PLE students should be able to adapt and work under scrutiny, without necessarily submitting to it. The course requires students to think and act using their own knowledge. In addition, it requires students to work in an environment out of their comfort zone. PLE students are always required to use reasoning to navigate other’s dissenting opinions, all the while reinforcing their own knowledge and applying it to what they have just learnt. Organizations like PTT, with the help of their organizing team, are great at reminding students of these unspoken commandments which the university highly desires its students to possess.