Stela Braje will be our Tournament Director.
Stela’s debate involvement started in 2005 when she discovered the existence of debate culture in primary school, followed by enrollment in high school. While debating Karl Popper and WS format, she was slowly transitioning to BP even before graduating from high school. Since 2010 to today, she broke at several international competitions, being a finalist or semi-finalist of most of them. At WUDC 2013 in Berlin, she broke to the ESL quarter-finals as an EFL debater, and as a judge she has broken at more then 30 different competitions (including WUDC and EUDC) and CA-ed more then 10 (including GWU 2018 in Washington, DC). She currently works as a debate coach at the University of Vermont, where she also runs the logistic of the Debate Union itself, and offers administrative assistance regarding finances, crisis management and other fields.
In the past couple of years, Stela has been working with debate societies of the region, delivering a variety of debate workshops and content lectures, while also offering logistic and organizational support regarding tournaments and debate clubs. At the same time, she has been working as a head coordinator of the regional project Modern International Criminal Court Western Balkans, that had the goal of achieving partial reconciliation among war-affected generations of the Balkans. After that, she has worked with Ljubljana Pride Association on the organization of Ljubljana Pride Festival 2017, that lasted for 7 days and offered a variety of activities and events, which were attended by thousands of individuals. Her convening experiences include local debate tournaments, but also the organization of this year’s North American Woman’s Debate Championship, which will be attended by more then 300 people (held in Burlington, Vermont).
During her years working in the region, Stela witnessed bureaucratic wars, the lack of recognition and non-existent institutional support that vast majority of emerging societies face even today. In this context, it will be invaluable to have worldwide recognized debaters, judges and coaches serve as an inspiration for those who are just discovering debate, or are planning to join local debate societies without knowing how. For Stela, such role models serve as her own inspiration after all these years, and as her moving power to never stop offering help, advice, or a word of support to those who need and want it.
Knowing that this EUDC will leave yet another mark on the emerging regional societies, hundreds of debaters struggling to find their path, motivates Stela to work as hard as she can to create an environment enjoyable to those who celebrate Novi Sad EUDC as yet another annual event, and those whose dreams revolve around attending EUDC at least once. For them, this year, we made the dream possible. And this is what makes directing Novi Sad EUDC an honor and a privilege.