World’s largest debating championship kicks-off in Qatar
More than 100 teams representing 51 countries from around the world have convened in Qatar to participate in the fifth edition of the International Universities Arabic Debating Championship, hailed as the largest university debate competition in the world.
The five-day championship that began in Doha yesterday is organized by Qatar Debate Centre, an initiative of Qatar Foundation, and is held under the patronage of Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice Chairperson and CEO of QF. The competition will continue until Wednesday, the 20th of March.
At least six teams from Qatar are competing in the event which saw more than 600 local, regional and international participants at the opening ceremony held yesterday at the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC), reported Gulf Times.
The participating teams are from both Arabic and Non-Arabic speaking countries including: Algeria, Austria, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Indonesia, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Macedonia, Malaysia, The Maldives, Mauritius, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Serbia, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, the UK, the US, Vietnam, and Yemen.
Aimed at strengthening the educational and cultural relations between the countries in attendance, the competition provides a platform to Arabic-speaking and non-Arabic speaking youth to engage in discussions and share their experiences with each other, The Peninsula reported.
"The championship is an opportunity to learn and practice Arabic language, which is fast becoming a language of research, literature and creativity,” Dr Hayat Maarafi, Executive Director, QatarDebate, said at the opening ceremony.
“Debating is an art that promotes critical thinking and well-reasoned communication. This year’s edition is unique because of its large and broad international participation,” she added, highlighting other benefits of debating such as learning critical thinking and well-reasoned communication.
Among the teams from Qatar, two are from Qatar University, two from the Community College Qatar, one from Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar in addition to a team from Police Academy.
Noor al-Dulaimi, part of a four-member team from the University of Utah in the US, said she was excited to compete in such a great championship.
“We are participating in the championship for the first time and we are all excited about it. With my fellow teammates, we started the preparations for the competition from November 2018. The championship is also an opportunity for us to learn more about the Middle East and interact with several university students from around the world," explained al-Dulaimi.
At a press conference held on the sidelines of the event, representatives of the teams from Qatar shared their views on the championship and highlighted their experiences while gearing up for the championship.
The representatives said that apart from debating the opportunity to experience different cultures and interact with teams from different countries is particulalry attractive about the event.
They further mentioned that the championship allows them to hone their public speaking skills, and become more tolerant to various ideas.
Dr Hafsat Abiola, President of the Women in Africa Initiative and a Nigerian civil rights activist who is currently in Qatar, also attended the first day of the championship.
Dr Abiola delivered an inspirational speech shedding light on the challenges faced by her family and herself during political tensions in Nigeria. She stressed the important role women must play by actively participating in all walks of life.
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