Damita Pressl

Damita Pressl

Get to know Damita personally and you quickly realise debating and the topics it deals with is just one of the issues dear to her heart. The Austrian education system, for instance, lags behind by quite a few years, she says. It still focuses on learning information by heart, the very same information that is easily accessible to young students in the form of books, newspapers, TV, radio and on their smart phones at the press of a button. This happens to the detriment of teaching critical thinking, which could start with questioning and arranging that information to make it the pupils’ own knowledge, Damita suggests. She speaks from her experience both as a student herself and a teacher working in adult education. Whoa, how is that possible considering she is one of the younger members of our crew? Yep, Damita managed to skip several classes of high school to soon later receive a bachelor’s and then a master’s degree in psychology from Goldsmiths and University College London (UCL), England. We believe she was always meant to then return to Austria to join DKWien in autumn 2013, where she now acts as secretary of the society and press writer of the Vienna EUDC team.

Coming from the background of the English university system with a lot of solitary cramming, she now makes great efforts to integrate every team member’s opinion into what the outside world sees in our written statements. This surely takes a lot of patience, especially when you consider the speed at which Damita finished an interview with our convenor Stefan – fifteen minutes. Yes, that includes interviewing him, writing and formatting the text, making him review and okay it and sending it off for publishing. And because teaching and debating still do not quite satisfy her appetite for education and work, she also studies translation with German, English, French, Spanish and Russian at the University of Vienna.

Damita is curious about how people think and render their judgements. Even with regards to debating, she would love to broadcast the debates of Vienna EUDC live on television and then having the audience call the result of the debate, in addition to the jury’s decision. The quality and the joy of the debates are also what is most important at Vienna Euros in Damita’s opinion: Fair and exciting motions, a fair break and outstanding judges and debates from which every participant and member of the audience can learn. A high-class final would be the cherry on top of the tournament. Taking this cherry rather literally, Damita would like to have every participant provided with Sachertorte, whipped cream and a cherry on top of it as a treat to show off Viennese hospitality. This would definitely serve to make every participant feel included and welcome at the competition in Vienna, which is Damita’s goal for Vienna EUDC 2015.

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