Debate empowers. MUNDO takes a step further and uses it to create change.
Written by Ruhan Kartik, finalist of the 2022 Young Changemaker of the Year award
Ruhan Kartik: For me, Ruhan Kartik, an 18-year-old from India, the path to becoming a changemaker has been through debate. I began debating at the age of 12. At first, I did not quite understand its value, until I noticed the cornerstone of society, that is argument, logic, and perspectival analysis.
Knowing that, I have always wanted to empower others through debate, which led me to start my school’s debate club. However, the ambition to reach a diverse audience persisted, and the pandemic revealed holes in our present systems.
Hence, a friend from Brazil and I co-founded MUNDO - which means the world, both literally and figuratively. We began this online international debate programme to impactfully address two major objectives.
- Firstly, debate is a powerful tool for deep critical dialogue:
That’s why we aim to nurture intercultural dialogue through MUNDO debates. These conversations broaden worldviews, and through topics based on the Sustainable Development Goals, help us understand how various challenges manifest in different ways across the globe.
- Secondly, our policy debates enable solution-building, the crux of which lies in youth understanding our own history, the history of our communities and their challenges:
This is vital to connect what we learn in school to what happens in our societies to create effective change around us. We view these topics as a door for youth to engage with their own communities and its unique challenges, that can be addressed through our post-debate real-world projects.
Such projects are of growing importance in today’s world, as youth engagement in our own communities and its history is vital for future change. They highlight the bridge between debate and changemaking.
In these projects, MUNDO debaters consider the debated solutions and look to implement some of them in our own communities. These efforts range from articles about mental health to donating educational equipment to a village school struggling due to the pandemic. Hence, from a purely debate platform:
Here, we offer schools the opportunity to debate against other institutions from across the world, such as an Indian school debating a Finnish one, something that would not normally be possible. Through this connection, youth can broaden their understanding, and then work on projects based on the debated topics, creating real change.
With that, we aim to make youth more connected with their communities, heading these projects as they seek to better grasp the nuanced challenges around them.
Furthermore, before the debating process begins, we provide training about our more pragmatic style of debating. This empowers youth to improve their argumentation in the context of real-world relevance shifting to an online friendly model of discussion.
Through these efforts, we hope to expand the community of changemakers, and develop more effective and fruitful projects, as we reach a broader audience through recognition and support.
After being selected as one of the finalists for the 2022 Young Changemaker of the Year award, we realized how well our ambitions and goals suit the global Ashoka community. It has given me much confidence and our team hope that we are headed on a blossoming path.
Finalists of the Young Changemaker of the Year award 2022. Meet them all here.
This also gives in to the thought of other to-be changemakers, starting their own initiatives. When we started MUNDO, we took a topic (debate) that we were really passionate about and organized a session with a few friends: “I would love to encourage youth hoping to become changemakers to do the same.”
Just asking people who are facing the challenge you wish to tackle about what kind of initiative would most benefit them is an extremely impactful way of creating an initiative.
I would like to come back to the beginning of this piece, where I ventured into who a changemaker is. Another element vital to us, and exemplified by this community, is supporting other changemakers and contributing to the community.
Collaboration is vital, and it brings about the best change.
Through MUNDO, we hope to create change through the avenue of debate, but the possibilities are infinite.
If you’d like to sign up for the round starting in September 2022,
You can sign-up through the following form: https://forms.gle/489dEZyYG5e4aTJj8
Or contact us:
Email: [email protected]