Sunday, December 27, 2015

2016 First North America Chithue Debate: Was it really a Debate?


        The first North America Chithue debate was organized by the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) Minnesota and was held on Dec 12, 2016. A complete video recording of the event is available here

       Before you read further, I must congratulate the regional TYC in doing a great job organizing this event, particularly their moderation and time keeping during questions was quite good. However, I did not really see an actual debate, where there are rebuttals, counter-views and a focus on delivering a precise set of messages by each candidate. What I mostly saw was an opportunity given to the Chithue candidates to give their answers to a certain set of questions and wallow in niceties to each other. There was time given for rebuttal, but none of the candidate really took it to critique or dissect their opponent's views. 

        When I am watching a political debate, or for that matter, any debate. I expect individuals to be on either side of an aisle, this does not necessarily mean having opposing views or ideology, but it simply means having a set of unique perspectives. But they somehow all seem to agree on everything.

      Similarly, a debate is also a platform where you can dissect and critique what other candidates' views are and how you differ. Rebuttal somehow has a negative connotation in our political debates, a rebuttal is not necessarily an indication of you trying to offend someone, but an opportunity for you to showcase your ability in articulation, your depth of thinking and your presence of mind. Qualities I consider key for any leader to succeed and qualities I am looking for in my North America Chithue. 

       I understand there are barriers to what the candidates want to do. The manner in which a question is phrased or asked, the amount of time given etc. all affect one's answers.

     I would request all future debate organizers to phrase questions in a way that aid in generating a debate. Questions that  seek ideas, solutions to a problem and questions that point to faith, background, past experiences and controversies, are the one's that generate a debate. Questions about campaign budget, who and what is the source of their campaign budget, these things need to come out earlier in the campaign than later. The Washington and Toronto debates have the opportunity to ask different questions rather than repeating the same questions from Minnesota debate.

     Perhaps, how about quoting some of the major things the candidates said in the Minnesota debate and asking them about specific plans, actions and their stand on key issues. The answers in Minnesota debate should be used for generating more questions to achieve this. 

   So all that aside, following is how I thought each candidate did when answering the questions asked during the Minnesota debate. I have tried to highlight what I considered were the major points for the sake of brevity.

Read the piece here!

*** These are part of a series of articles aimed to stir conversation/interest/discussion for the upcoming North America Chithue elections. For more visit

What is the Role of a North America Chithue?
10 Questions for the North America 2016 Chithue Finalists

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