The multinationals have highlighted for years in the report of employability of Adecco the scarce dowries of the Spaniards to speak in public, but that is changing. Spencer Ma, 21 years old, general secretary of the Harvard WorldMUN speech tournament that ends today in Madrid, is amazed when these shortcomings are highlighted: "The Spaniards I've heard speak fantastically. I am traveling a lot and I see that they are among the most passionate and that the model of the simulations grows here quickly ".
In the Madrid simulation, 2,200 delegates – 300 of them from Spanish universities – replicate plenary sessions of the United Nations or recreate historical moments, such as the Transition in Spain. It is amazing to see an Indian incarnate a Santiago Carrillo who discusses with the doubles of Juan de Borbón and Manuel Fraga on whether it is necessary to control the armed forces in the Spain of the seventies. They have been documented for months, they argue with vehemence and they criss-cross little notes in search of pacts or to betray themselves. A room is intended for shouting discussions.
"There is a generational change in Spain. The culture of the debates has emerged and we have gained confidence by speaking in public. And that is achieved through practice ", says the head of this edition, Alba Gavaliugov, of Galician and Romanian roots. "The first time the UN was replicated was at Harvard in the 1950s, shortly after it was founded. It was a way of involving people in something that was new, "says Gavaliugov, a student at the Carlos III University and the second woman with this responsibility in the history of the tournament. There is no shortage of opponents from the West Point military academy or the Nepal Police.
As in an Olympic Games, a group of students from four public universities in Madrid launched a bid to host this tournament during the edition of Rome in 2016. They failed, but they did it a year later. The institutions have turned, aware of the need to encourage debates and public speaking. The City Council of Madrid has given them the space and Felipe VI attended the opening on Monday.
"There are a number of factors that allow us to place ourselves in the position they have occupied for 150 years in the United Kingdom or the United States, where debate is a natural thing that is learned in schools from a young age," he reasons. Antonio Fabregat, 23 years old, world champion of debate in English in 2018, among other international victories. "There has been a collective awareness that oratory is as important as knowledge, especially in public attention or when presentations are required. This month four very large companies have called us to train managers and we are in 25 schools, "says Fabregat, who has set up with two colleagues a consultant who offers training and is a professor in ICADE clubs, where he graduated, and the Polytechnic of Madrid.
In 2013, Spain participated for the first time in the world competitions and did not do badly. Since then it continues advancing. The pioneers graduated and became mentors of their campuses -Córdoba, Complutense or Santiago have very powerful clubs- or teachers in the schools, because the parents claim that their children acquire a competence in which they fail. Almost all private schools in Spain have a club and start to have them in the public and arranged. For example, more than 100 schools participate in the Madrid tournament, multiplying by five the figures of their beginnings in 2010.
Many private universities organize school tournaments that serve as a demand for competitors to continue their studies there. In some has participated the club José Saramago Institute of Majadahonda (Madrid), a center with great tradition in public speaking. Its coordinator, Víctor Fernández, has managed to get the European Union through the Erasmus + mobility program to grant them 130,000 euros to organize a tournament in English. Its 32 students will travel and mix with Greek, Turkish and Italian children in three debates. In Madrid students with learning difficulties (but with great interest) have been involved in the organization, thus achieving excellence and inclusion.
Since 2010, Venezuelan students are a superpower in international debates. So much so that, in the absence of their own means, the tournaments do not hesitate to award them. "It is a challenge to compete, we do not have help from our study centers, we prepare and we come here to give everything," says Andrés Rodríguez, of the Simón Bolívar University, who presides over a supposed meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency. "We feel that it is a window that we have to show the quality of professionals that are there, and that all the things that are perhaps not positive that are happening in our country do not mean that there are no worthwhile people."
"Venezuelans take the issue very seriously, it's cultural," says Harvard WorldMUN Secretary General Spencer Ma. "They are very charismatic and now they have a reason to speak out, especially with what's happening. That makes them more active. "