From debates to gaming industry

IDEA CA empowers young people through debates and critical thinking. It attracts the youth from Central Asia and from other corners of the world, helping them form a community and share their experiences. Andrey Platonov is a debate enthusiast from Saint Petersburg, Russia who participated in IDEA International Aitmatov Debate Academy (IADA) in 2012-2013. His first exposure to debates had been through school debates that were organized by IDEA. Later on, Andrey formed a debate club in Saint Petersburg State University where he studied Political Sciences; he also taught debate skills to other university students and was involved in organizing debate tournaments.

Currently, Andrey works as a senior product owner at Gaming Innovation Group, a gaming company in Copenhagen that has offices in a number of European countries. He is in charge of the development of software projects. “This job is mainly about understanding how things work, listening to stakeholders and ensuring clear and efficient communication. Basically, it is about communication and debating skills,” - Andrey has said.

Andrey credits IDEA for empowering him through critical thinking, public speaking, argumentation, communication skills and the ability to collaborate with people from various backgrounds. IDEA International Aitmatov Debate Academy (IADA) was also his first main exposure to an international environment. The main purpose of the Academy is to provide participants with the skills to express their ideas confidently, to think critically, to check information, to argue and defend their position civilly, to promote the initiatives of their organization, and to bring together a bigger audience to solve real-life problems of their communities.

“When I heard about the IDEA camp in Kyrgyzstan I really wanted to go there to get connected with Central Asian debate community and of course to share my experience with others. Apart from improving my skills and enhancing my knowledge, this experience has given me a shared sense of comradery with other debaters. I truly felt that all debaters around the world form a community, where all people are friends and will always support each other and will always find something to discuss.”

Author: Aisha Jabbarova, intern at IDEA CA 

IDEA helps its alumni with career goals

IDEA CA continues to empower young people in the Central Asia region and turns them into valuable members of their communities.

Ulzhan Smadiyar (23) is from Kazakhstan and attended IDEA International Aitmatov Debate Academy (IADA) in 2013. The IADA was launched in Kyrgyzstan in 2010 and provides its participants with the skills to express their ideas confidently, to think critically, to check information, to argue and defend their point of view in a civilized way, to promote the initiatives of their organization, and to bring together a bigger audience to solve real-life problems of their communities.

The debate academy was a turning point in Ulzhan’s career as it taught her critical thinking, confidence, ability to debate, along with other important soft skills that are mainly left out of school curriculum in the Central Asia region.

“Debates helped me in my professional career. Although I was engaged in debates for less than a year, they taught me critical thinking, courage and many other things.”

After graduating from the academy, Ulzhan returned to Almaty and became a co-founder of "СпасиBeaucoup" language school. Today, the school teaches 16 languages, gives travel opportunities to its students and helps them to study abroad. Ulzhan says that the aim of the school is to “promote the establishment of a new generation of world citizens”. The next goal for "СпасиBeaucoup" is to open free debate clubs to equip young people with necessary soft skills.

“Debates will help young people to gain more self-confidence and fulfill their career goals,” Ulzhan is convinced.

Author: Aisha Jabbarova, intern at IDEA CA 

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