Europe’s first dedicated youth debating chamber to open at National Assembly for Wales

Published 16/04/2008   |   Last Updated 14/07/2014

Europe’s first dedicated youth debating chamber to open at National Assembly for Wales

The National Assembly’s brand new, state of the art, interactive learning centre, which includes Europe’s first dedicated youth debating chamber, will be officially opened by Lord Dafydd Elis Thomas, Llywydd of the National Assembly for Wales, with the help of children from Ysgol Pencae in Cardiff on Thursday April 17th at 10.00am.

Lord Elis-Thomas will welcome the children and chair a special inaugural pupils’ debate.

The new centre, based in the former Assembly debating chamber in Ty Hywel will be known as “Siambr Hywel” after Hywel Dda (Hywel the Good) who was the first to establish a National Assembly in Wales and introduce a standard set of laws throughout the country in the tenth century.

Visitors will begin their educational visit with a debate on a hot topic in the Siambr Hywel, under the guidance of one of the Assembly’s six Education Officers. The debate will be held under the same rules that govern Assembly rules, with speakers requesting and being called to speak. Groups will then vote on a motion linked to the debate using the electronic voting system, before taking part in workshops designed to teach about the Assembly and the way it works in the adjoining activity room, and visiting the Senedd to learn about the building and maybe meet their AMs.

Lord Elis-Thomas said: “This new learning centre is a major step forward for the National Assembly in engaging with the young people of Wales. The facilities we have here are groundbreaking, and I am very proud to be opening the first dedicated youth debating chamber in Europe.

“Engaging with the public and encouraging them to participate in democracy is one of the hardest tasks we as elected representatives have, but the Siambr Hywel and the work that will go on in it, provides the Assembly with a golden opportunity to start off on the right foot with our young people, to hopefully enthuse them and spark a lifelong interest in democracy and citizenship.”