On 9 June, the British embassy supported the first English language debating tournament in Kyrgyzstan. Students from several Kyrgyz universities competed for the British Embassy Cup at the American University of Central Asia. Teams of four debated whether it’s sometimes rights for the government to restrict freedom of speech and the pros and cons of using force to make peace in regions prone to conflict.
Former Kyrgyz President Roza Otunbaeva and British Ambassador Judith Farnworth judged the final debate on whether, as Churchill had it, democracy is the worst form of government, except for those other forms that have been tried. The judges awarded the Cup to the team arguing that democracy was in fact the worst form of government - and added that they nonetheless supported democracy!
Both the former President and the Ambassador stressed the importance of public debate in furthering the development of democracy and encouraged young people to engage in debating.