Morfís

Established 1984
Competition type: Debating
Chairman Geir Finnsson
Location Reykjavík, Iceland
Website Morfis.is

The college elocution and debate competition of Iceland, in short MORFÍS. Contestants in MORFÍS are known to become celebrities in the Icelandic community. Morfís was founded in 1983 by debating clubs of the schools and Junior Chambers. From 1985 it has been run only by students in the gymnasiums of Iceland.

It is one of the three major contests (the others being a singing contest and a knowledge contest) Icelandic gymnasiums hold but the only one which is not supported and financed by the national television station. This has caused protest and disgruntlement by many students involved in Morfís.

The title in full is "Mælsku- og rökræðukeppni framhaldsskóla Íslands" (Morfís) which translates directly as "The speech and debate competition of high schools in Iceland".

Many participants in MORFÍS have later on become nationally known, for example in television and at the Icelandic parliament Alþingi. Whether this is because of, or rooted in the same personality traites as, their involvement in the contest, is uncertain.

Controversy

The competition is controversial because it does not revolve entirely around intellectual arguments, but also power of persuasion and the ability to appear confident and trustworthy when defending your cause. As a result, positions on topics which are generally considered to be more ethically and logically right (such as against "eating children", pro "girls" and against "Gay men are chairs") do not always prevail.

Therefore some have deemed it "mindless sheeping of herds" and false debating, as they do not believe it to reflect true logical reasoning and truth-seeking. <http://mengella.blogspot.com/2007/02/morfs.htm>

The value of reasoning against showmanship and persuasion in the contest is a popular source of debate within the Morfís community. <http://www.morfis.is/bbspjall/viewtopic.php?t=2>

Morfís nonetheless seems to be an excellent platform for practising writing techniques, logical thinking, linguistic skills and how to talk in front of other people without losing ones nerve. This can be seen in the many participants becoming politicians and other popular icons, and also from the personal testimony of many who have taken part in the contest. Most seem to agree that it has helped them improve those skills vastly.

You can learn more about MORFÍS by visiting their website, www.morfis.is (Icelandic only).


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