Young philosophers from over 40 countries worldwide will gather in Tartu today to compete in the 23rd International Philosophy Olympiad.
This year's olympiad focuses on the theme of disagreements, with Estonia represented by students from various schools in Tartu, Pärnu and Tallinn, having previously proved their worth at the national philosophy olympiad.
The main task at the International Olympiad is to write a philosophical essay in a foreign language over the course of four hours. The theme for the essay is usually set by an intricate quote from a philosopher, with the writers having to identify the main problem from any aphorisms used.
Estonia is represented by Marta-Liisa Talvet, Liisi Voll and Lisanne Meristo from the Hugo Treffner Gymnasium in Tartu, Helen-Maria Raadik and Julius Koppel from the Pärnu Sütevaka Humanitarian Gymnasium, Andreas Palm from the Gustav Adolf Gymnasium in Tallinn, Kaisa Laur and Riste Kaaret from the Tallinn Secondary Science School, Mari-Liis Vähi from the Kadriorg German Gymnasium, and Alexander Rannar from Pärnu Co-educational Gymnasium.
According to the Director of the Tartu University School of Sciences, Viire Sepp, the participation of ten local students promotes critical, creative and analytical thinking culture in Estonia.
The winners of the Olympiad will be decided on the basis of anonymous grading from a jury. The best philosopher will be awarded gold, silver and bronze medals alongside special mentions. The world class philosopher will be endowed in Tartu on May 17.
The International Philosophy Olympiad has been held since 1993, with Estonian students participating in the event since 2005. Previous Estonian awardees include Heidy Meriste (2007), Paul Kuuse (2010), Märt Belkin (2013) and Marta-Liisa Talvet (2014).
The Olympiad is organized in order to popularize the teaching of philosophy and to encourage philosophical development amongst the youth, as well as to increase an ethical understanding of the world and promote world peace through international networking.
In addition to the competition, participants will be introduced to Estonia as a country as well as its culture and philosophy. Many events, including lectures and discussions, all held in English, are open to the public.
The International Philosophy Olympiad is the second international olympiad to take place in Estonia. In 2012, the International Physics Olympiad was held in Tallinn and Tartu. In 2016, Tartu is set to host the European Union Science Olympiad.
Viire Sepp added that the organization of international olympiads in Estonia is of great importance. “We can see that the delegation of our students to international competitions is essential in supporting their development. By taking on the task of organizing such large events, Estonia as a country is showing its clear support for the development of talented youth.“
Editor: A. Kaer