Sophia Blackwell

marketing manager, Hodder Education

Sophia Blackwell works as a marketing manager at Hodder Education and as a freelance writer, editor, and radio journalist making arts programmes and podcasts.

Sophia holds a BA (Hons) in English Language and Literature from the University of Oxford. Shortly after graduating, she discovered the two main passions of her adult life – publishing and performance poetry. She has worked in publishing since then and is also the author of three collections of poetry and a novel, and her most recent non-fiction book, The Poetry Writers’ Handbook, was published by Bloomsbury in 2022. Sophia’s projects this year include hosting events for Migrant Help, teaching a 5-week online poetry course for Bloomsbury and performing at Camden People’s Theatre this summer.

Follow Sophia on Twitter @sophiablackwell

Lucy Chambers

freelance organisation designer and facilitator

Lucy Chambers works as a freelance organisation designer and facilitator.  She runs, a website dedicated to exploring ways to talk about technology in plain, accessible language.

Lucy holds a BA (Hons) in Modern and Medieval Languages (specialising in German and Russian) from the University of Cambridge. After graduating, she embarked on a brief career in journalism. This rapidly evolved into a career teaching journalists and NGOs how to leverage data as evidence. From there she moved into product management and tech consultancy for a broad range of clients from NGOs to multi-million dollar global enterprises. Her topics of life-long study are power dynamics, how the brain works and participatory decision making.  

Follow Lucy on Twitter @lucyfedia

Ben Daunter

Ancient History Undergraduate at Durham University

Jascha Krekeler

student of social work, Hochschule Darmstadt

Jascha was a student at Helmholtzschule Frankfurt where he completed his full time education in 2018. He has worked as a daycare worker and as an integration assistant in an elementary school. He is now studying social work at Hochschule Darmstadt.

Karen Speier

Key Account Manager, Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie GmbH

Karen is the Key Account Manager at Berlin Partner für Wirtschaft und Technologie GmbH. Berlin Partner supports economic growth, promotes business, technology and innovation, and presents the advantages of capital to companies, investors and talents.

Petra Küntzel

senior manager, Federation of German Industries

Petra Küntzel is a senior manager in the Research, Industrial and Economic Policy Department at the Federation of German Industries.

Petra lives in Berlin and she has a degree in economics from the University of Passau.

Samantha Weller

Senior Scheduling Advisor, University of Europe for Applied Sciences

Samantha Weller is the Senior Scheduling Advisor at the University of Europe for Applied Sciences. Having always had a passion for interculturalism and linguistics, she studied Translation Sciences at Heidelberg University, and received her Master’s in Intercultural Communication from Utrecht University. She specialised in the research topics of multilingualism, migration and education, with special focus on language assessment and acquisition of individuals with migration backgrounds.  Prior to this, she worked as an English teacher and academic language editor in the Republic of Ireland.

Anton Spahl

student, Kapodistrian University of Athens; DM alumnus

Anton Spahl is 22 years old and was born and
raised in Berlin. He is an alumnus of Debating Matters, competing in 2021 as part of the Eckener Gymnasium team.

In 2022 he successfully completed his apprenticeship in Stonemasonry, and received the award “best apprentice of the region” (Landessieger in Hamburg).  He is now studying modern languages (Greek and Italian) at the national and Kapodistrian University of Athens.

Alex McDermott

Outreach Officer, Durham Union Society, student, Durham University & DM alumnus

Alex is in his first year studying Politics and International Relations at University College, Durham. He is a Lord Kitchener and a Laidlaw Scholar and Outreach Officer for the Durham Union Society. Alex first competed in Debating Matters as a sixth form student at The Eccelsborne School where his team won the Debating Matters January 2021 Online Championship as first time competitors in the competition.

In 2018, when he was the Member of Youth Parliament for Amber Valley and Chesterfield, he spoke in the House of Commons on votes for 16 year-olds as part of the national campaign for the UK Youth Parliament.

Follow Alex on Twitter @alexmmcdermott

Adam Albazy

trainee lawyer & former president, Durham Union Society

Adam Albazy is a trainee lawyer at a commercial law firm. He holds a First-Class Honours degree in Politics and History from the University of Durham, specialising in Middle Eastern affairs.

At University, he served as President of the Durham Union Society, Durham’s oldest and largest society and sister to the Oxford and Cambridge Unions. As President, he hosted and interviewed notable speakers including Noam Chomsky and Ainsley Harriott, introduced the Society’s first Welfare Officer, held a 24-hour debate supporting charitable causes and created a new podcast featuring prominent guests. A keen debater, Adam has participated in various Durham Union debates on topics ranging from the impacts of COVID-19 to the merits of Western Interventionism. Adam has previously judged at the Debating Matters Durham Championship 2023, a sixth-form competition he helped organise in collaboration with Debating Matters and fellow officers of the Society.