zondag 14 januari 2018

Goodbye BYP 2018

It's over. These two days have gone by so fast. The session was wonderful, frantic, stressful, sweaty, exhausting and so much fun.

There are too many people to thank.

The officials, many of whom had the privilege of leaving high school a long time ago. They really should be spending their weekend legally going to clubs, but they used their free time to organise this wonderful session.

The delegates, a group of teenagers unlike any other - concentrated, outspoken, dedicated, and incredibly fun to be around.

The biggest heroes of all are those entirely hidden behind the scenes: Reinier and Margriet, two people who no longer have to pay rent because they have decided to move into the school permanently. At every event you can see them working tirelessly day and night, fueled by nothing but love and beer. Thank you to them, for everything.

Congratulations to every delegate who made it through this grueling 48-hour ordeal without fainting, crying or leaving.

Congratulations especially to Rijk, Bibi, Radoua, Samuel, Mila, Machteld, Marijn and Ezra, who were selected to represent the Barlaeus in the preliminary round of the European Youth Parliament. We hope you enjoy EYP as much as we all have. And when you graduate we hope you come back to join BYP - we will be here to welcome you.

If you've been reading the blog at home: thank you for your attention!
Love from Charlotte, Flip and Francisca (The Media Team)

Final Video BYP from ifight on Vimeo.

GA day: TRAN

Amélie explains the resolution in her defense speech. Her diction is wonderful and her explanation comprehensive - we really are getting to see some quality speeches today. Attack speeches by Lina and Rosemarie are critical but very relaxed. All the nerves are gone now that they have been debating all day.

Katy starts off the debate again with a great point on diesel cars and fossil fuels. Samuel adds more factual evidence to the debate. Jaap defends his committee's resolution in his response to the point made in the first round of debate. You would think public speaking is easy, the way these kids just get up and speak comfortably in front of a hundred people.

Wolf and Ezra seem to have been napping for the past few debates but they are back with critical points. A desperate fight for the last point of the entire GA was won by Simon and put to good use.

In his summation, Richard told us that global warming should concern the Dutch especially because "you're gonna sink". Nora finished the GA calmly, and looked more awake than any of us. Good job TRAN!


A grim defence speech on the gravity of the food waste situation (the "profit-driven and waste-based society") by Clara. Meta follows with a perfectly structured attack. Pien van Nuland disagrees with ENVI's preconceptions about consumer behaviour in a constructive speech.

ENVI II uses a direct response so Katy can respond to the attack speeches. She does so very well, if a little angrily. The direct responses are flying so this might turn out to be a lively debate. Anna, Brechtje and Sarah, who have laying low until now, speak up with very nice points.

Eva responds to the open debate (which has almost exclusively covered doggy bags...) eloquently. Great points by Bella and Lina.

Isabelle easily knocks out an unprepared summation, responding to all the points made during the debate with facts and figures. This debate was quite full of opinions and guesswork, so a fact-based speech is wonderful. Fay emphasises once again the core of the issue, and reminds the delegates of the paradox in our society - mass food waste and 870 million undernourished people. Isabelle and Fay make a great team, and ENVI II has done well in their debate.


Anouk speaks calmly and confidently during her defense speech. She explains populism, a topic widely misunderstood, in brilliantly simple terms. She also warned the other delegates against possible pitfalls in the coming debate. Very impressive!
Adam has a chance to redeem himself with an attack after the fidgeting incident in his last speech, and does so with a lot of flair - a born diplomat. Juliette's attack focuses on the media's obsession with populist politicians.

The president once again urges the quiet ones to speak up and the loud ones to step down - "your pen is your friend", he tells them. Be a mensch and pass a note instead of hogging the mic, he means.

Boaz responds to the first round of open debate. I'm impressed with his use of the word "schism". Everyone is upset about the political education, just like I expected, but no one has said indoctrination yet. These kids are too friendly. Strong point by Mercedes with a strong response by Garen. Not as many direct responses as in the last debate. The afternoon sleepiness is getting worse - people are chatting among themselves, taking off their shoes and taking 30-second power naps. Wake up, democracy! This should be the most exciting topic today.

Bibi is consistently participating and makes a strong point in every debate. Kudos to her. Another titan is Machteld, who quickly responds to her. Lancelot offers some nuance by explaining that media framing is not inherently evil. These debates tend to be quite black and white, so thank you Lancelot.

Strong points from Viv and Amélie. These are the kind people who are refusing to lose focus and are keeping the debate going.

Viv and Simon finish the debate with a summation. A casual speech from Simon and a very well-rehearsed one from Viv.

Unfortunately the resolution did not pass.

GA day: EMPL

After lunch the debates always get slower and the points more repetitive. Let's hope this session is the exception. EMPL's topic is youth unemployment, so the young delegates should be able to get involved and angry.
Marijn's defense speech in intelligent and delicately worded. Isabelle Stad attacks EMPL stating that underpaying is never okay, not even under the guise of "education". Zoë's attack is less critical. She offers slight tweaks to EMPL's resolution.

The open debate starts with a point by a strong point from Dina on  contracts which elicits two(!) direct responses, one agreeing with her and one rebuttal from the proposing committee. This is a lively debate. The president has reminded the delegates that everyone should be speaking up by now. I'm not sure if it worked, I'm hearing a lot of the same people... Mila from the proposing committee is getting impatient with the amount of remarks on binding contracts. She quickly shoots them down with a direct response.

Hannah is the first to drop the S-word: "slaves". Very constructive point from Clara. All quiet in AFCO's corner. If they want to win the debate they better step up their game. Juliette's response to this round of open debate is good: she explains the issue clearly and quickly. 

Samuel gets the very first open-debate-applause for a truly moving point on the right to education. The level of the debate skyrockets, and the following points are louder, clearer and more passionate.

EMPL's summation is presented by Bella and Mila. A compliment to Bella for her clear explanation and to Mila for her wonderful English. Well done EMPL!

And EMPL's resolution has passed! It was a narrow victory but a well-deserved one.

GA day: SEDE

Samuel looks nervous but his defence is witty and rife with topical references. Rijk's attack is one of the best yet: well-structured, eloquent and powerful. Severin's attack focused on screening and included the quote: "saying you don't need privacy because you have nothing to hide is like saying you don't need free speech because you have nothing to say."

Bella makes the first point of the open debate and it sounds very smart indeed - I don't really know what PESCO is but Bella certainly does. Even though he is in sweatpants, Simon makes great use of the direct response placard. Lina from SEDE is patient and understanding in her response to the open debate.

The topic is tricky. Right now everyone is stuck on screening. The countries being discussed are called "the middle-east", "war-zones", "Syria or something", "those countries" - so it's unclear what exactly we're talking about. Lots of direct response placards in the air.

For the summation, SEDE sent two strong players to the stand. Adam, though he is fidgeting a little too much, responds to the points made in the debate in excellent English. Grace is back with as much fire as her first speech. The fact that she seems to be a native speaker makes her a force to be reckoned with.

Unfortunately the motion for a resolution by the committee on security and defence did not pass.

GA day: ENVI I

In a well-structured defence speech, Radoua explains the problem of urban infrastructure. She presents both her committee's resolutions and its limitation. Radoua's defence speech is followed by Hannah's perfectly timed attack speech, which urges the proposing committee to value humanity over economy. A bitingly sarcastic attack speech on tax breaks by Grace sets the tone for the open debate.

Amélie kicks off the open debate with a good point on the economic problems of some member states, who are already struggling to maintain their existing grey infrastructure. Rijk (who is wearing a great suit) responds to the first round of open debate. A sound suggestion from Lieve is met with a chain of direct responses.

Samuel joins the debate with some facts, which we can always use. The debate is constructive: environmental issues are always easier to understand, and the delegates feel confident enough to make their own suggestions instead of just criticising the resolution.

Andrea starts off the summation speech and shows herself to be an excellent speaker. Vince's final words are memorable. We will not forget about urban heat islands for a long time.

ENVI I did very well, but the resolution did not pass.

Fun fact: this debate was named "the liveliest debate as of yet" by Vice President Henok.

GA day: LIBE I

Another allegory (mountain climbing, this time) in the defence speech by Bibi, who speaks better than a real politician, calmly and in excellent English. Valerie thinks LIBE's resolution is too harsh on refugees, quoting "no one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark". Tabo urged LIBE to be more specific in their resolution. Both attack speeches were constructive and offered alternative solutions.

Richard who has joined us from Leipzig shows himself to be well-informed with a point on Polish refugee issues. Rosemarie responds to the first round of open debate confidently, and I must say very kindly. So far we have had no cursing or shouting, but I'm sure we won't have to wait long.

The debate is starting to get stuck in a cycle of scrutinising details vs. telling people to focus on the bigger picture. This cycle is broken by a good point (and not for the first time) by Marijn, who has been consistently offering practical solutions. Also a shoutout to Severin for speaking so courteously. Everyone is being very polite. I haven't seen a single mobile phone.

Mila brings up the point I was dreading - accepting fewer refugees - and is hit with a direct response from the proposing committee. LIBE I can't stop the stream of criticism now coming their way: every decision they have made in their resolution is torn apart. Clara makes a valiant effort to respond to each issue.

Ezra and Imaan close the debate with a summation speech that responds clearly and efficiently to the points raised in the debate. The debate was a bit all over the place but the summation speech brings it back to the core issues.

The resolution passed!

GA day: AFCO

AFCO starts off with a strong defence speech by Anastacia, who used a motorcycle club as an allegory for Britain's relationship with the EU. Eva from ENVI II was also unfazed by the microphone and savagely attacked AFCO's resolution. She was followed by Abel, who quietly expressed his disappointment. So far: three great speeches.

So far in the open debate the delegates are critical of AFCO's approach. Machteld from the proposing team manages to respond to all the criticism. AFCO has truly understood the spirit of debate with a direct response from Wolf, which starts a chain reaction of direct responses including a very eloquent one from Ezra.

This year's debate includes confident speakers and some quality English. All committees are participating equally, which is not always the case. This dry, constitutional issue has turned emotional as the debate becomes one on strong economy vs. strong identity. Some want to punish Britain for even considering a Brexit, others want to ensure lasting friendly relations between the UK and the EU.

Lina and Machteld finish up the debate with a human approach, including the refugee crisis in a well-researched summation speech. Well done AFCO, on your "soft Brexit with a hard approach.

Sadly, the motion for a resolution by AFCO was voted against by a whopping majority and did not pass.

The General Assembly has been opened.

To kick off GA-day, principal Alwin Hietbrink gave a thought-provoking speech on democratic values. Thank you Alwin! You can read the speech below. Now the GA has well and truly started. We’ll keep you updated all day while the delegates exercise their democratic rights.

Dear members of the board, delegates, Reinier and Margriet,
Let me start by expressing my profound gratitude for the invitation to open the Barlaeus Youth Parliament 2018, even at this early, ungodly hour on this Sunday morning! In my opening statement I would like to invite today’s delegates – all of you - to prove Margriet wrong. Just for once. Let me explain.
When I started as principal two years ago I was somewhat surprised to find out that the Barlaeus does not have a student council. Of course there are several students in the representative advisory board (the so-called MR, Bibi is one of them) and we have a student committee organising all kinds of activities. But there is no student council that consults with the board on a regular basis about important subjects like the availability of wifi in the building or our policy regarding exams. When I asked Margriet why, she told me that she had tried to start such a council a number of times to no avail. Barlaeans are simply not very interested in participating in such a council, she said, and attempts to start such a council were doomed to fail. As often, Margriet has been proved right until today. I am deeply committed to proving her wrong - just this once - for a reason. Let me take you to Poland for a few minutes to illustrate my point.
Last month thousands of Polish citizens marched the streets of Warsaw in protest against new legislation issued by the Polish Senate threatening the independence of the judiciary. To no avail. Several bills have been signed into law by the Polish president enabling the government to send almost half of the countries’ Supreme court judges into forced early retirement while at the same time giving Poland’s parliament the authority to elect the members of the so-called National Council for the Judiciary. This body is responsible for the appointment of judges in Poland, thus giving parliament direct influence on the election of judges in the future.
This Polish legislation constitutes a serious threat to the independence of the judiciary and has been widely condemned. Frans Timmermans, vice-president of the European Commission concluded that “the country’s judiciary is now under the political control of the ruling majority” and that Poland’s government has put at risk fundamental values expected of a democratic state. For that reason the commission has advised the EU member states to issue a formal warning to Poland under the first clause of an, until now, unused article 7 procedure. A majority of 22 of 28 member states has to vote in favour of this proposal. More serious sanctions – including the possibility to suspend the member state of its voting rights - require unanimity among member states. As Hungary’s right-wing government has already pronounced that they will never support such a move, a deadlock is Europe’s foreseeable future.
After Brexit, the increasing divide between East and West is a new and major challenge for the EU. The assault on an independent judiciary by the Polish government raises questions not only about the core values of the EU but also about the separation of powers between the legislature, executive and judiciary – the so-called trias politica - which is one of the most fundamental principles of our modern democracy. Questions raised not by some totalitarian or authoritarian state somewhere on the other side of the globe but by a member state of the EU.
That brings me to our own country and to our own school. Ninety percent of the Dutch population says that they are in favour of democracy, when asked. More in-depth research suggests however that about a quarter or a third of the Dutch population has a cynical or even hostile attitude towards democracy and democratic values. The good news - one could argue - is that two-thirds of the Dutch citizenry is in favour of a democratic society and the values it embodies. But this response is not enough. If democratic values and skills are not self-evident or given as the Polish example illustrates, they need to be taught to and learned by each new generation. Schools have an important part to play in this education and for that reason social science (maatschappijleer) is compulsory for every student in the Netherlands. Other activities like today’s BYP proceedings are also of the utmost important in fostering democratic values. I am convinced however that the best way to learn about the importance and relevance of these values is by participating in a student council, because it gives you the opportunity to experience the democratic process while deliberating about issues in which you have an interest.
You still have two years before your final exams. More than enough to form a student council. You are in a unique position to prove Margriet wrong. Just for this once!

zaterdag 13 januari 2018

Partytime and sleepytime

 The first day is finally finished after a short but lively dance party. Now the delegates are off to bed. Nine hours until the General Assembly.

Still preparing...

Even though the resolutions are finished, the delegates are far from done. They have to check the other committees' resolutions for weak spots, and write speeches for tomorrow's debate. It's beginning to wear them down. Save a little bit of energy for the party, guys.
An impression of the mood in the committee rooms:




The resolutions are here!

All that hard work has paid off. The resolutions are finished and they look very promising. Tomorrow's debate is sure to be exciting, especially because there are some controversial clauses in there. Will LIBE I run into trouble with their suggestion to reduce the size of refugee camps? Who will be the first to dub LIBE II's political education "indoctrination"? We'll find out in the General Assembly tomorrow. Meanwhile, check out all the other spicy clauses the delegates came up with.

Video: team building

While the delegates scramble to finish their resolutions, take a look at the fun they had this morning:

BYP'18: Team building from ifight on Vimeo.

Committee work: policy-making and coffee-breaking

The first symptoms of fatigue set in
Hannah guides EMPL towards a finished resolution
We can smell the brains frying behind the committee room doors. It's impressive: rarely do you see 70 teenagers this concentrated. And on such difficult topics, too - "comprehensive frameworks", "budget restrictions, and "governing bodies", whatever that means.

Time is of the essence, because the committees need to turn in their finished clauses at 18:00. ENVI II has already finished the introductory clauses, and the other committees are close behind. Our hearts go out to the hardworking delegates trying to solve unsolvable issues without snapping the necks of their committee-mates out of sheer frustration. Some are shouting, some are silent, and all are ready for a break.

Video: arrival and opening games

The morning has flown by. In this video you can watch the delegates arrive, get settled and play games at the opening ceremony.

BYP '18: arrival & opening from ifight on Vimeo.

Team building: to awkwardness and beyond

Team building is a unique phenomenon; it includes a lot of yelling, odd movements and strange assignments. Fighting, dancing, running, lying on the dusty classroom floors, telling secrets, singing and solving riddles are among the team building exercises.

Needless to say, the delegates have to let go of any form of shame (especially when on the Leidseplein) and for most of them this is something to get used to. Yet they easily got the gist of it and loud laughter was shared. In the end, it is out of our comfort zones where to most interesting situations occur.

Believe it or not, every single one of these games serves a specific purpose that will eventually help the delegates in the more serious process of committee work. From what we have seen, communication is now effortless and unashamed.

Lunch is taking place at the moment. We hope the delegates use the time to recharge, because the hard part hasn't even started. After lunch it is time to solve some of the most pressing European issues of this time.

Off we go!

 The delegates have arrived, carrying sleeping bags and looking apprehensive. Quite a few of the men have garment bags with them, so we can expect some well-dressed debating tomorrow at the General Assembly. President Thijs Veltman opened the session with a speech and a couple of games - getting the delegates to embarrass themselves as soon as possible is the key to a constructive debate. Now the delegates are headed to their committee rooms for teambuilding, where further humiliation will hopefully turn them into life-long friends. 

Be sure to check out all the photos under the "pictures BYP '18" header!

vrijdag 12 januari 2018

The night before

The chairs are undergoing a last-minute training session. The organisers have filled the school to the brim with brain food, arranged the classrooms, and are mentally preparing to feed, entertain and keep safe 73 delegates.

The chairs practice their skills one last time.

Securely in their own beds, the delegates have no idea of the challenges they will face this weekend. Not in their own beds or even in their own country are the delegates from Leipzig, the first international delegation to join a BYP session. A warm welcome to them from all the officials!

The school is ready. The officials are prepared. Now let's hope the delegates are, too. Nine hours until BYP '18.

So much bread

donderdag 4 januari 2018

One week...

Dear delegates,

Only one more week and BYP will be off and running...time to get your engines started, practise your English, research your own and other resolutions, find your suit, sharpen your pencils & your tongue and in general, prepare yourself for one of the most fatiguing, educating, stimulating, frustrating, communicating and exhilarating weekends of your life.

The officials’ team is looking forward to organizing, boarding, chairing and journoing for you: now it is up to you to make it worth our while!

One more week. Get ready.

Margriet & Rein

dinsdag 19 december 2017

Reply to mail chairs!

Dear delegates,

Eventhough it is testweek, we expect you to send a reply-all to the email of your chairs: it literally takes five minutes of your time, but is important for the chairs.

For the people who haven't subscribed yet, please join the Facebookgroup for delegates!


zondag 12 februari 2017

zondag 3 april 2016