The first debate in the 2012-2013 Jersey College for Girls Debate Society Series, which is sponsored by local trust company Hawksford, took place this week, at which the audience voted against the proposition that ‘protesting is a sign of a healthy society’.
On Monday 26th November, Hawksford staff, JCG students, teachers, governors and parents gathered at JCG to take part in an enthralling debate entitled ‘Protesting is a sign of a healthy society.’ The series, which was launched at a Hawksford reception event at the House of Commons in October, has been organised in order to encourage public speaking, the voicing of opinions and to create a bridge between today’s leaders with the leaders of tomorrow.
The case for the proposition centred on the argument that we can’t improve our society without protesting and used China as an example of an unhealthy society which does not allow protest. The team against the proposition argued that protest is ineffective, disrupts lives, is often violent and costs economies money. It was suggested that protesting only occurs when there is unrest – healthy societies do not need to protest. The team also cited China as an example of an economy that is prospering, while Europe flounders and is subject to mass protests daily.
Chief executive of Hawksford, Peter Murley, who hosted this first debate and who actively encouraged audience participation, said: ‘I would like to congratulate the students who took part in the first debate, they did a marvellous job and really got the audience thinking about an important topic,’ said Mr Murley. ‘The students, who are also busy with exams and coursework, conducted thorough research and presented their arguments in an articulate and persuasive manner, so much so, that I would have struggled to decide which way my vote would have gone had I been a member of the audience. The audience all enjoyed the experience and they shared some very interesting comments.’
He went on to add: ‘Our aim is to get the girls thinking ahead to the future, to ensure they’re always challenging and hopefully inspiring them to become the thought-provoking people we all aspire to be.’
The series will focus on the key theme, and Hawksford’s positioning statement, thinking beyond tomorrow. Some of the debates will be topics covered in Hawksford’s thought paper of the same name. ‘Our positioning statement, thinking beyond tomorrow, is incredibly important to us as it underpins everything we do for our clients. By immersing ourselves in the possibility and challenge of tomorrow, we become more prepared for today. It also ensures we look at the past for lessons and direction for the years ahead. It seems fitting that the youngsters of JCG, the leaders of tomorrow, will be debating these articles throughout the series,’ added Mr Murley.
The Hawksford thought paper publication, which was launched at the House of Commons in October, has brought together leading individuals from the realms of business, society, education and culture to look at the trends, issues and opportunities which might affect the world’s future. Hawksford specifically asked these leaders to look at the big picture and ask the big questions. High profile contributors include Edmund King, president of the AA, Mark Field MP for cities of London and Westminster, Lord Flight, Lord Filkin and Darren Caplan, chief executive of the Airport Operators Authority.
‘The event was a fantastic success and we’re grateful to Hawksford for giving our students the opportunity to take part in such a meaningful debate,’ said Carl Howarth, Principal at JCG. ‘The ability to articulate and pursue an argument is an essential life skill, as is the ability to engage and persuade an audience. With the world as it is, the desire to debate ideas of significance is more important than ever.’