Integsem: The Debaters’ Seminar

By Kyle Go (G11G)
Photo by by Javy Pineda of Ateneo Senior High School

MANILA, Philippines – Another year of discourse and ideas start bright with the opening of the Integration Seminar (Integsem) 2017!

Last July 22, high school student debaters from all over Metro Manila flocked to one of the largest debate seminars, Integsem, held at the Philippine Army Officer’s Clubhouse. Hosted annually by the Interscholastic Debater’s Association (IDeA), the seminar is an avenue for new and young debaters to learn what it’s like to debate.

Formed 20 years ago, IDeA is a consortium of high schools in the metro that compete with each other over the course of the school year. Every year they have a rough estimate of 3-5 tournaments known as the “IDeA Invitationals”, alongside one seminar, Integsem.

This year Xavier school sent 30 student debaters to the said event not only to learn about the basic rules of debating etiquette, but also to introduce them to the larger community of debaters in the region. During the said event, the Xaverians listened intently to the various speakers and participated in meaningful discussions with other students from various high schools. Some of the topics in the seminar included development, economics, and geopolitics, which were discussed by the country’s best debaters, Carlo Borromeo (XS’09), Miguel Venture (UPD), and Andrei Buendia (ADMU).

When interviewed, Carlo Malonjao (9A) stated that he had learned more about the world around him and likewise noted the importance of building confidence in his argumentation. On the other hand, Martin Velasco (12D), commented that Integsem “taught him that debates exist in a world with grey areas. As debaters, it is our responsibility to clear things up.”

The seminar not only enriched the minds and critical thinking skills of many young debaters, but encouraged many to continue pursuing the art of debating, not only in competitions, but also to relevant social issues in everyday society. The event itself embodied the idea of friendship and unity with many other debaters as it promoted the importance of intellectual discourse and discussion in our modern day context especially with the rise of fake news and other distorting facts.

As the debate season opens up once again, let us all wish our student debaters the best of luck as they compete in numerous tournaments over the school year! Luceat Lux!

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