My name is Monica Forman, I live in Tel Aviv, Israel. I have a masters degree in the history and philosophy of science and ideas from Tel Aviv university, and a bachelors in sociology-anthropology, history and political science from Ben-Gurion university. I currently work as a presentation, content and rhetoric consultant. This, in short, means that I help people create/draft, perfect and deliver winning lectures, pitches, TED talks etc. At the same time I coach three Israeli debate societies: The Open University (which had a team in the ESL final of Athens EUDC!), Bar-Ilan University, and the Liberal Debate Society – an open course for non-students. I guess if I were to sum everything I do for a living I would say I work as debater full time 😉
I started debating over 8 years ago, when I started studying in university. I actually wanted to debate quite a while before that after watching the film “The Great Debaters”. A bit corny, I know, but I was eager to find an activity that facilitates engagement with important and relevant issues in a more effective and enjoyable way than school and at times than academia.
I was able to stay enthusiastic about debating by constantly trying to be better, by trying to prove more and more complicated ideas on the one hand, while trying to formulate arguments that might be persuasive in real life, by real adversaries (Isn’t it the purpose of debating, if we’re not being cynical?). I always see each round and each motion as if it were my first time doing it. Because of that I am still excited about the game! I hope this enthusiasm of mine catches on with my students and the community.
The tournament I remember the most would have to be Thessaloniki WUDC, since my partner Stav Singer and I were able to break the glass ceiling and be part of the first Israeli open break in worlds. The Partial Double Octofinal in particular turned into an emotional experience as it was about the holocaust. I dedicated that speech to my grandparents who survived. My first EUDC was also an unforgettable experience. While it was great to have made the ESL semis against all odds, the thing I most remember is watching the video Open Communication made about the importance of debating as a way of overcoming adversities and of the fragility of free speech (even the activity of debating was banned in Yugoslavia during the war). It was then that I realized how lucky I am, and what a truly remarkable, dare I say haven, EUDC is and should remain. That’s why it’s a true honor for me to be able to contribute to Euros this year.
I have many many people in Israel and abroad who influenced me and helped me in debating, to whom I’m afraid even a Facebook post wouldn’t be enough. I do want to mention here the Israeli debating community as a whole: it is a bunch of phenomenal people who are supportive of each other, extremely generous, and great friends to each other. My achievements would not have been possible if it weren’t for the Israeli League where I learned in theory and by example, practiced with the best, and found another home. I am fortunate to be able to give back to this community. And because credit is where credit is due, here are several individuals who I will mention by name because they taught me almost all I know: Anat Shapira – my first coach and role model, Michael Shapira, Sella And Omer Nevo – who fiercely led Tel Aviv and accepted me to the club, and Yoni Cohen Idov.
We could not miss a question about Noam 😉
Noam and I met through debating (it really is a gift that keeps on giving). Both of us started our second degree in Tel Aviv and debated there together, but our romantic relationship really took off at Warsaw EUDC. Besides allowing our paths to cross, I think debating makes you a better partner. I always joke when asked about this, that it doesn’t mean you necessarily argue less, but that you argue better. I also really enjoy talking to him about debating, ideas and generally everything. I think he makes me better at what I do and who I am.
About Debating position
I like to speak second in opening half, and extend in closing half. These are probably the roles that allow for most improvisation and creativity, and are less strict in terms of role fulfillment and structure. I actually whipped in my first year of debating but then rebelled.
The funniest motion
It wasn’t even the funniest motion I spoke on, but one of the funnier debates I was is was on the motion: Given that TH is stuck on a lonely Island, TH would prefer a toolbox over a spouse. Funnily I was debating this against Noam.
Besides Debates I like…
Other hobbies that I have include watching movies, playing computer games (mostly adventure and puzzle games) and board games, and I’m thinking of picking up squash again.
Expectations about Astana EUDC 2020
It has been said before me, but I expect Astana to be the best EUDC ever. I have no doubt in my mind that the organization will be fantastic. The entire org comm has the perfect combination of great planning, world class hospitality, and an honest desire to show the beauty of their country, any make this a fun experience for everyone. In terms of the debating experience, we have a wonderful CA-team team that is dedicated to make this EUDC challenging, thought provoking and enjoyable. We want this tournament to reward the smartest, wittiest, most knowledgeable and well spoken (in terms of using words to one’s advantage, rather than a language category) participants. We plan on doing that with our motions, and with the help of Europe’s finest judges who we will do anything to help get to Astana.