Nelson-Mandela-Schule emerge victorious at the Debating Matters Berlin Championship 2022

An enthusiastic and well-researched team from Nelson-Mandela-Schule saw off competition from seven other Berlin schools this year to emerge as victors in the Debating Matters Berlin Championship 2022.

The team competed in three group-stage debates and, in the final, took on fellow group-stage winners Schadow-Gymnasium to argue against the motion “Tech companies should act to stop online misinformation”. Both teams were well-prepared and argued passionately for their side of the motion. That meant the panel of judges – Professor Stefan Chatrath, Professor Oleg Dik and DM alumnus Julia Dannemann-Freitag – had a tough job on their hands coming to a final decision! However, Nelson-Mandela-Schule eventually emerged victorious, rounding off an intellectually thrilling day of debate organised by Freiblickinstitut and hosted by University of Europe for Applied Sciences (UE) on its Berlin Campus.

Judges Stefan Chatrath & Julia Dannemann-Freitag present Nelson-Mandela-Schule with their winners’ prizes.

During the final, Robert Leonhardt and Vasco de Menezes from Schadow-Gymnasium offered a range of convincing and well-researched arguments for how tech companies could do more to address online misinformation. But ultimately, it was Emily Reid and Luis Rosefeldt’s impassioned and consistent defence of free speech that tipped the judges, who awarded them overall winners of the competition.

The Schadow-Gymnasium team receive their runners-up prizes.

Students from across Berlin arrived at UE’s Berlin campus to take part in the competition, ably supported by their dedicated teachers from:

· Eckener-Gymnasium                         · Gottfried-Keller-Gymnasium

· Hans-Carossa-Gymnasium             · Humboldt-Gymnasium

· Nelson-Mandela-Schule                   · Paulsen-Gymnasium

· Schadow-Gymnasium                      · Werner-von-Siemens-Gymnasium

Judges from UE joined others from the worlds of publishing, journalism, arts & culture, business, public services and many more, to put the young debaters on the spot to develop and justify their arguments and compete for a range of prestigious prizes. This year, the prize partners were World and Press, Stadtwandel Verlag as well as co-hosts Freiblickinstitut. A German, liberal think-tank, the Freiblickinstitut stands for freedom and progress, and regularly hosts debates on a range of current issues from politics and the economy to science and art. The institute has been a longstanding champion of DM Berlin and its ethos of open debate.

The judges awarded Emily Reid of Nelson-Mandela-Schule the coveted Best Individual prize for her tenacious approach and attention to detail, Thi Quan Tinh Tran from Humboldt-Gymnasium received a Highly Commended prize and Werner-von-Siemens-Gymnasium’s Ferdinand Johnen was awarded the Commended prize.

Clockwise from top: a warm welcome to the UE Berlin Campus; Best Individual Emily Reid with Freiblickinstitut’s Sabine Beppler-Spahl; Highly Commended Thi Quan Tinh Tran & Commended Ferdinand Johnen.

Mr Fischer, Head of the English Department at Werner-von-Siemens-Gymnasium, said of the competition:

“We have really enjoyed taking part in the competition and the students were extra motivated by the setting and the people present and the care taken and by the schedule. Everything has been put together so neatly with an eye for detail and I was really impressed by the passion and energy displayed all day, which really made it a memorable event. It really has been the best competition we have taken part in in a while, and we are extremely motivated to come back!”


For further information about the event, the Debating Matters competition or to request photos or interviews with students, teachers, judges and other participants, please contact Mo Lovatt on  

Created in 2002, Debating Matters is a UK-based debating competition. DM offers a fresh, accessible and engaging format for debating contemporary real-world issues, with an emphasis on substance, not just style of debating, and the importance of taking ideas seriously. Follow Debating Matters on Twitter: @DebatingMatters

Debating Matters is a project of the boi charity. For more information on the charity, please visit

For further information about the competition, visit

For further information about Freiblickinstitut, visit