The International Schools Arab Debating Championship, a first-of-its-kind debating competition organized by the Qatar Debate Centre, concluded in Doha last week after four days of lively debate and intellectual exchange.
The championship saw the participation of teams from 20 Arab states as well as Malaysia. Team Lebanon won first place, while Jordan came in second and Tunisia bagged the third place.
Addressing the audience at the closing ceremony of the championship, Dr. Hayat Abdullah Maarafi, Executive Director of the Qatar Debate Centre, stressed that the championship’s ultimate goal was not to have winners or losers, for “winning is but the celebration of expertise and skills that we have gained, mastered, and implemented in order to perpetuate and disseminate it”.
Dr. Maarafi congratulated all participants, noting that the championship “sought to drive people away from colloquial speech and bring them back, albeit for a short while, to using formal Arabic, and to train their tongues and develop their hearts, minds, and souls, and teach them to embrace others and their opinions.”
The closing ceremony also included the final round of debate between Lebanon and Jordan; the two teams debated whether judicial immunity should be given to tyrants in exchange for their abdication, with the Lebanese team supporting the premise and the Jordanian team opposing it.
Great skills and close competition were on display during the debate, with the Lebanese team positing that heroism is not achieved through bloodshed, and that the tyrant’s blood does not equal that of a thousand people, adding that if tyrants are given immunity, they will undoubtedly step down, thus giving Arab people what they want. In return, the Jordanian team was firmly opposed to the theory, stating that it is not acceptable for tyrants not to stand trial, and affirming that giving them immunity would only help them thrive.
After the debate, H.E. Saad Bin Ibrahim Al Mahmoud, Dr. Hayat Maarafi, Dr. Abdullatif Salame (Head of Education Programs) and Jamal Al Baker, Events Manager, honored the winners and best speakers.
The championship, which was sponsored by ConocoPhillips, Qatar First Investment Bank, and Qatar Airways, sought to tighten the links between Arab youth and spread a culture of refined debating to help develop their intellectual and literary capabilities, and to instill a culture of calm, constructive dialogue to help unleash their potential, and train them in the art of real debating and accepting each other’s differences.
The championship logo stands for the youth’s optimism in the future as well as the importance of tolerance and accepting one another in order for everyone to be able to coexist despite any differences in their opinions or viewpoints.
Qatar Debate sought through the championship to promote Arab debating and unlock the students’ potential and creativity to help them express their opinion and interact with others by grasping the principles of dialogue and having them etched in their minds. The whole debate idea is based on having 2 rival teams arguing over a certain idea, with each team presenting their viewpoints and solutions backed by convincing arguments and evidence, while the jury gives each team a number of points based on their ability to debate and use persuasion methods.
Last year, Qatar Debate Centre hosted the international universities debates in Arabic from April 23rd to 28th, which was attended by 40 teams from 17 universities in 12 Arab nations as well as Malaysia, and won by the International Islamic University from Malaysia. Also, in February of 2010, Qatar Debate Centre hosted the 22nd World Championship for school debates, with the participation of 57 nations from all over the world – the largest turnout since the championship’s inception.
Qatar Debate was established in 2007 in order to promote the level of open discussion and debate for students in Qatar and the Middle East, thus helping build universal citizens and thought pioneers for the future.
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