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These are Past Events.

Reports and (sometimes) photographs are posted here.

If you have any additional comments or photographs, we would be happy to receive them.


12-12-2011 - Debating Competition semifinals 2011 Jyväskylä

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Semi-Final takes place in Jyväskylä


10-12-2011 - Debating Competition semifinals 2011 Kuopio

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Semi-Final takes place in Kuopio


09-12-2011 - Debating Competition semifinals 2011 Helsinki

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Semi-Final takes place in Helsinki


01-12-2011 - Debating Competition semifinals 2011 Turku

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Semi-Final takes place in Turku


30-11-2011 - Debating Competition semifinals 2011 Pori/Rauma

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Semi-Final takes place in Rauma



22-11-2011 - Debating Competition semifinals 2011 Tampere

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Semi-Final takes place in Tampere


12-11-2011 - Debating Competition semifinals 2011 Kouvola

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Semi-Final takes place in Kouvola


05-11-2011 - Stuttgart Debating Championships

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EurOpen 2011 Team Finland - Schools Debating Championship, Stuttgart, Germany.

We Finns are practical people and always ask what we will gain and benefit from something. So what did we gain from participating in the debating competition?

Networking, getting to hear experienced people’s advice, understanding how much we still have to learn, but also realizing we are confident enough with our English skills, will get the help that we need and are most welcome back next year.

What will have to happen during this year’s time?

Firstly, we will have to change the rules for Finnish national competitions. Secondly, we will have to pass the experience and information we gained there not only to other participating, but also new schools. Thirdly,we will have to take foreign and domestic networking more seriously than before. Last but not least, get the team members to spread the word because this is all about the students’ best interest, students’ improved logic, style and speaking skills.

The teams we saw in Stuttgart came from various types of schools, from very exclusive to regular state schools. This year the newcomers came from Finland, next year there will be the first group from China.

There are four debating competitions close to us that take place on a yearly basis, follow the world school rules and welcome (almost) everybody. Why we close the Stuttgart competitions was perhaps a coincidence; they had heard about our 15-year-long history in debating and contacted us. That got the ball rolling, we managed to get enough students at Tampereen yhteiskoulun lukio interested and off we went after a couple of months.

Why TYK, you might wonder. The answer to that question is simply because we won the nationals in Helsinki last January. Another reason is perhaps that we are an arts oriented school, our students are familiar with being the centre of attention, which clearly was an asset since the preparation time was so short.

About the preparation time; we will have to modify our timetables to suit those of Stuttgart if we decide to go on having this international practice. In our schools it means that we will have to set up  clubs after Christmas , ask the ‘experienced’ students to share their experiences with others there and start practicing the techniques.  Students from Team Finland are willing to come to other schools too to make new people interested in debating.

The rules in world school debating

The debating society in Stuttgart say the rules are not the best in the world. If we want to compete in Europe, however, we will have to get familiar with this set of rules. In case you got interested, send me a message and you’ll get your own copy.

What is different then compared to our Finnish system?

There are three members in the team, each speaker has a particular role. Let’s take a look at the Proposing house. The first speaker has to offer a clear definition of the motion . The motions this year:

THBT European interests are best served by an active campaign to promote democracy

THW promote EU citizenship

TH considers that the Commonwealth has outlived its usefulness

THBT the greatest threat to Western society is its ageing

The teams don’t only debate on the motions that are published months before the competition. They also do impromptu debating where the preparation time is one hour.

The second speaker (‘second affirmative’) tackles the ideas the first speaker from the opposition presented and goes on defending their case.

In the third speech the rebuttal (dealing with the opposition’s arguments) takes most of the time and if the third speaker brings out any new ideas, the first speaker must announce this in advance. The first three speakers speak for 8 minutes, the last rebuttal takes four minutes.

The role of the last speaker (summing up) is to clarify what the clashes are between the houses and why their side should win the debate.

In the best debates that we saw and I judged the clashes were clear, the logic could be followed and finding the winner was relatively easy. In many cases there were flaws on both sides , the definition not clear enough, points of information not used as they should have been and telling the winner harder.

It became quite clear to us too that practice makes masters and the more experience the debators had, the better all the areas (content, strategy, style) became.

Comment from one of the most experienced judges in Stuttgart

We do not promote debating and debators do not practice debating in order to name a large number of specific instances at the top of the hat, but in order to increase general knowledge and to hone people’s skills of argumentation.’ (Chris Sloan)

This is what Team Finland students said:

Apart from international social contacts, we gained many things like understanding how the parts of definition influence the debate.’

How the points of information are important, how they must be responded to and divided between speakers.‘

Interaction within the team, which must be a cohesive unit sharing ideas both before and during the debate.’

For these reasons this house still believes that this trip was a success and debating is a sport of the best kind.’

Kristiina Leskinen (


16-09-2011 - Traditional Autumn Seminar 2011

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'National Identity, Multiculturalism and The Olympics'

was held at the British Embassy in Helsinki on 16th September 2011.

Once again, Professor Howy Jacobs provided some exciting speakers.

1200 Lunch at the Embassy Residence hosted by HM Ambassador Matthew Lodge

1330 Howy Jacobs, University of Tampere


1340 Rob VanWynsberghe, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Identity, Pride and Multiculturalism: Social Impacts of the 2010 Olympic Games

1415 Jouko Kokkonen, Sports Museum Foundation of Finland, Helsinki

Sports and nationalism - united forever? Case Finland.

1450 Coffee/Tea

1520 Mervi Tervo, University of Oulu

'Us' and the 'Others' in Finnish sports journalism

1555 Muhammad Abdul Bari, LOCOG Board Member, London

London 2012 and Britain’s Diversity

1630 Panel discussion, all speakers, chaired by Howy Jacobs

1655 Tarja Tuckett, Federation of Finnish-British Societies

Closing remarks

1900 Speakers’ dinner


The speakers:

Rob VanWynsberghe

Rob VanWynsberghe,

Department of Educational Studies, University of British Columbia, Vancouver.

Official rapporteur for the IOC on the social impact of the recent Vancouver Games.


Jouko Kokkonen,

Researcher of the Finnish Sports Museum Foundation,

A historian specialized in sports and nationalism, and who is currently researching the multicultural dimension in Finnish sport over the past 40 years,

Mervi Tervo

Mervi Tervo,

Associate Professor of Cultural Geography, University of Oulu
(also a Green Party city council member and deputy chair).

Currently studying the mobilization of youth in sports, her doctoral research looked closely at issues of racism in Finnish sport in the first half of the century, and the way it was shaped by the press. She will make a nice complement to Jouku.

Muhammad Adbul Bari, MBE

Muhammad Abdul Bari MBE,

a physicist, science teacher, Bengali immigrant and Chairman of the East London Mosque

Muhammad Abdul Bari is also a former Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Great Britain, and is currently one of the board members of the 2012 London Olympics Organizing Committee



10-09-2011 - Debating Skills Workshop 2011

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Debattikoulutus opettajille lauantaina - Debating Workshop 10.9.2011 kl 9.30 – 16.00

Kokenut kansainvälinen debattikouluttaja,  Former Vice President  of  EurOpens Debating Society Germany Michael Pates pitää tämän vuoden Debating workshopin Helsingissä. Osoitteessa FinnBrit Language School, Fredrikinkatu 20 A 9. Koulutuksen hinta 60 e. Ilmoittautumiset Kristiina Leskiselle viimeistään 5.9.2011. Hintaan sisältyy materiaali ja ap/ip kahvit.

Päivän ohjelma / Schedule for the Workshop

  1. Modelled on the House of Commons in Westminster - the to-&-fro of a debate.
    How do we formulate a motion?
    How can we speak for eight minutes without a text? Should we try spread sheets (as New Zealanders do), or use palm cards, as most of us seem to do?
    Central to our style. How often must we make or accept a 15' POI? What are we trying to achieve?
    Vocabulary: how do we best decline a POI? How do we deal with awkward POIs?
    Also central to any debating! (Say what we are going to say - say it - say what you have just said.) How can we phrase all this?
    How should we divide up the material / arguments? What role do we play as 1st, 2nd, 3rd speaker?
    How do we formulate our REPLY SPEECH?
    What must we consider in presenting our material?
    How do we judge our debates?
    Participants prepare and carry through a short debate, bearing in mind structure, POIs and roles, as above.
    Criticism, questions, suggestions.

Lunch and coffee breaks will be agreed in the beginning of the day!

Installment fee 60 euros

Federation of Finnish-British Societies
Annalantie 1, 33880 Lempäälä
Ref. Debate workshop 2011
Ålandsbanken Tampere: FI41 6601 0001 0932 85


27-08-2011 - Debating Competition Meeting August 2011

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Schools Debating Competition administration

A meeting has been arranged at Tampereen yhteiskoulun lukio on Hallituskatu 32 between between noon and 3.00pm on 27th August.

Regional debate co-ordinators or their representatives from across the country have been invited to listen to the current state of affairs and plans for the future.

A light lunch will be served and travel cost compensation will be made.  Plaese advise Kristiina if there is anything she needs to know - food allergies - late train etc.

JUNE 2011

07-06-2011 - Summer 2011 - British trip

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7th -  13th June,  2011

The 2011 trip, arranged by the Federation of Finnish-British Societies, is going to be headed for Shropshire.  Shropshire is located in central England between the city of Birmingham and the Welsh border.  We will have a chance to see and experience such treasures as unspoilt countryside, fabulous scenery, historic  towns, medieval castles and gardens, surprising treasures from Tudor times, and enjoy good food.


We are staying in a hotel in the centre of Shrewsbury, the county town of Shropshire.  From here a  private coach will take us on day trips to various places in the surrounding area and also into Wales.


The programme will include visits to e.g.:

-    Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site
-    Powis Castle and Hay on Wye
-    Chirk Castle and a boat trip on the Canals
-    Erddig and The Snowdonia National Park
-    Hawkstone  Park and the Follies
-    Sightseeing in Shrewsbury and Attingham Park

In the planning of the programme we have been offered the help and good advice of Tarja and John Tuckett - our hosts in the Lake District.  They have been living in Shrewsbury for the last year.

Travelling arrangements:
- flight  Helsinki - Manchester -Helsinki
- coach from Manchester to Shrewsbury
- private bus for daily trips
- hotel accommodation
Please inform us as soon as possible, by the 20th of October at the latest,  if you are interested in participating  - we need to know the group size.

Inform Henrik Ramsay:  e-mail <> or tel 050 585 55 91

As soon as we know the approximate group size and have the confirmed offers we will be able to
fix the final fee.
Further information will  be sent only to those who have preliminarily registered.
Wishing you welcome to join this 2011 venture!

Henrik Ramsay        Marja Salo

MAY 2011

10-05-2011 - Nick Hennessey

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Nick Hennessey vists Finland again for a tour of part of the country.

He will be visting southern towns between 10th and 24th May.


05-05-2011 - Liz Niven

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A scottish poet to entertain us.

Liz Niven will recite her own poems for us.  She is touring Finland in early May.

APRIL 2011

09-04-2011 - Annual General Meeting 2011

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  • 4.00 pm Coffee/tea Karpalo private room
  • 4.15 pm Committee meeting Karpala private room
  • 4.30 pm Annual General Meeting Karpalo private room
  • 7.00 pm Welcoming drinks and dinner Kallavesi private room
  • 8.00 pm “Pot-Pourri of English Music and Songs through the Ages
    Richard Nicholls and Tuija Oriola in Kallavesi private room


  • 10.00 am Sight seeing tour in town and over the Archipelago road to the Housing Exhibition area. The bus leaves from the hotel.
  • 12.00 am Lunch at Puijo Tower. Return to town by bus at 1.30 pm


Dinner on Saturday:
Shrimp Caeser salad
, Beef with red wine sauce, garlic potatoes and vegetables, Coffee/tea and chocolate cake.

Lunch on Sunday Salmon soup, Mustikkakukko”, blueberries in rye crust, a traditional dish from Savo district, Coffee/tea

Dinner 35 €, lunch 19,90 € includes the ticket to the tower and the bus back to town

Any questions or problems call Tuula 050-364 9988.


MARCH 2011

31-03-2011 - FINN-BRITS Magazine Spring 2011

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The Spring edition of the FINN-BRITS Magazine will appear at the end of March.


28-01-2011 - National Debating Competition Final 2010/2011

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The English Debating Competition Final for nationwide Lukio students was held at the British Embassy in Helsinki on 28th January 2011

Joan Nordlund writes:

The finals this year were held in the embassy residence, which somehow made the atmosphere cosier and less formal than it is in the conference facilities.
The set-up was a little different, too, in that the judges were sitting behind the debating teams,  facing the audience. In my view this turned out very well: the contestants had to make contact with the audience rather than perform to the judges, and the judges were able to observe the debates
closely without distracting the protagonists.

The eight finalist teams represented Helsinki, Rauma, Turku, Tampere, Kuopio, Kouvola, Jyväskylä and Joensuu.
The topics under debate included banning the sale of cars capable of exceeding 120 km per hour, making adultery a criminal offence, banning hoodies from shopping malls and paying drug users to get sterilised.

The overall standard was very high. All the teams were well prepared, and regardless of the topic, presented their cases with conviction, enthusiasm and determination.
The use of humour and dramatic effect was particularly pleasing. Some people relied rather heavily on their notes, but everyone spoke freely - some more fluently than others.
We were impressed with how well many people picked up the arguments of the opposing team,  and dealt with the flow of contributions from the floor.

A couple of proposers did not introduce themselves or their team, which would be an area for improvement. Most teams defined the topic and how they would deal with it very well, but again this would be worth working on. Some of the motions were easier to defend or attack than others, which may have caused a couple of the teams to reiterate rather than develop their arguments.

The final result was extremely close. The prize winners were:-

First prize:
Tampere - Tampereen Yhteiskoulu
Students: Laura Blagoev and Aino Lehmus

Second prize:
Helsinki - The English School
Students: Irinja Vähäkangas and Julia Laitinen

Third prize:
Jyväskylä - Jyväskylän Lyseon Lukio
Students: Krista Sirola and Aarne Rissanen

Individual prize:
Turku - Raision lukio
Student: Juho Vainio

The jury consisted of HM Ambassador Matthew Lodge, Joan Nordlund, Jaakko Mäki and Tuija Peussa.
Marja Salo represented the Federation of Finnish-British Societies and Tuula Penttilä chaired the proceedings.
Michael Davies did a wonderful job as competition coordinator.


26-01-2011 - English Essay Writing Competition 2011

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The Federation of Finnish-British Societies annual English Essay Writing Competition was held for the 27th time on the 26th and 27th of January, 2011. The essay titles were posted on the Finnbrit Website for download on the exam dates. Teachers then sent in the best essay from each class, and in all 167 essays were received from a total of 58 schools.
The jury was composed of five judges, including representatives from the Helsinki Finnish-British Society, the Finnish Matriculation Examination Board, and the University of Helsinki English Philology Department.
The judges gave first prize to Ester Bálint from Kallion lukio for her lively, amusing and well-expressed essay – the nice twist at the end of the tale was especially appreciated. (Read the essay
The judges also wished to specially commend Joona Knorn for his atmospheric and sophisticated essay which communicated an eerie and effective science-fiction feel.

The standard of essays was as usual high, and the judges would like to congratulate the runners-up and thank all those who took part in the competition.
Mark Shackleton, Chairman, Essay Writing Competition.

Essay topics:
1. Write a story beginning: Nobody knew where he/she had come from...
2. Are computers killing conversation?
3. My ideal companion.
4. Life in 2020.
5. What can we learn from the past?

First prize, a trip to England    
Ester Balint Kallion lukio Topic no. 1
Special commendation prize (dictionary)    
Joona Knorn Etelä-Tapiolan lukio Topic no. 1.
Runners-up prize, an English dictionary:    
(in alphabetical order)    
Tuuli Haapanen Mikkelin lukio Topic no. 2.
Katriina Kenttämies Tampereen lyseon lukio Topic no. 3.
Sami Kotasaari Haminan lukio Topic no. 4.
Kauri Laine Luostarivuoren lukio Topic no. 5.
Sebastian Lindström Mattlidens gymnasium Topic no. 1.
Ananya Tanttu Helsingin kuvataidelukio Topic no. 2.
Heikki Toivanen Joensuun yhteiskoulun lukio Topic no. 4.