Building a Shared Future: QatarDebate Center wraps up Doha Forum’s Youth Edition 2023
Doha, Qatar – QatarDebate Center
Held under the theme “Building a Shared Future”, the Doha Forum: Youth Edition 2023 concluded on Sunday, November 19, at Georgetown University, where participants came together to tackle a variety of issues. Speakers also seized the opportunity to express their appreciation for innovative young minds to come together and discuss some of the most prominent challenges facing the world today.
Through engaging dialogue, the forum served as a platform to exchange diverse viewpoints and generate ideas to shape a better world.
The closing session brought together Her Excellency Buthaina bint Ali Al-Nuami, Minister of Education and Higher Education and His Excellency Mr. Yalchin Rafiyev, Deputry Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan and several other senior figures along with members of QatarDebate Center, led by Executive Director, Dr. Hayat Abdullah Marafi.
Keynote speakers featured in the closing session included Sarah Almaadeed, a Qatar accomplished speaker and debator for Team Qatar; Bo Seo, a two-time world champion debater from South Korea and a former coach of the Australian national debating team and the Harvard College Debating Union; Omar Al Shogre, a Syrian public speaker and human rights advocate; and Reem Ali, a Sudanese-American advocate.
Inspiring the attendees, Sarah Almaadeed noted, “Thanks to good coaching, incredible teammates and a lot of hard work on my part, we made it to the World Championships and achieved success there like no ‘Team Qatar’ had before us.”
Speaking on the importance of effective debating, Bo Seo, commented, “Debate is a community; it is an activity premised on at least three commitments. The first is that disagreeing is a skill, we are not powerless against the differences that we have with our loved ones and our peers.”
He continued, “The second commitment is to lift every voice and to hear people for who they are. Finally, debate resolves in the end, to try providing a set of skills and a set of answers to the questions related to how do we live with those who disagree? How do we make our differences work for us, rather than against us?”
Meanwhile, Reem Ali told participants, “I am the product of resistance, and its very essence is ingrained into my bones.” Encouraging the delegates to make a difference within oppressed communities, she said, “When we live in societies where we are not directly suffering from oppression, we have a moral responsibility to lift the voice of the voiceless.”
Reflecting on his personal life journey, Omar Al Shogre said, “You need to accept being right, but also being wrong. You need to be in your own shoes, but also in the shoes of someone else.”
The forum attracted a strong turnout with over 100 participants from over 75 countries attending the last day of the event, which featured a lineup of activities, including a skills session focused on policy drafting and an expert panel discussion titled “Cyber Security, Data Privacy and Artificial Intelligence”.
The panel comprised Dr. Houda Bouamor, from Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar; Dr. Halima Bensmail, principal scientist at the Qatar Computing Research Institute; Dr. Mohamed Aburawi, founder and CEO of Speetar, an AI-enabled telehealth platform; and Mr. Abdul Abdulrahim, co-founder & COO of Stears, a venture-backed data and insights provider.
In reference to the ongoing situation in Palestine, Mr. Abdulrahman Al-Subaie, Outreach Programs Manager at QatarDebate Center, said, “Without a doubt, when the issue is returning occupied land, we embrace the cause. When the issue is protecting humanity, we embrace the cause. The Palestinian cause is our cause.”
Mr. Al-Subaie stressed the necessity of building effective skills to tackle growing global challenges, adding that the forum’s theme “Building a Shared Future,” highlighted the importance of reflecting on how to move forward to address these issues. Encouraging constructive dialogue to resolve issues is important, he said, “but we go beyond that to embody the role of youth and their centrality in influencing and formulating public opinion on many issues. Today, we reproduce the Doha Forum in its youth format, and we look forward to making a future impact on policy makers and decision-making circles.”
Speaking to delegates at a glittering closing ceremony held at National Museum of Qatar, Mr. Mubarak Al Kuwari, Executive Director of the Permanent Committee for Organizing Conferences at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Qatar, said, “This Youth Edition has not only provided a platform for open dialogue and debate but has also underscored the importance of fostering a culture of discussion among youth. We believe in the transformative power of ideas and the impact that young minds can have in shaping the world.”
The Doha Forum: Youth Edition has brought together young bright minds, change-makers, and future leaders who have explored innovative ideas, and engaged in thought-provoking discussions on pertinent global and local issues that affect today’s generation. They were given an opportunity to share their valuable insights, perspectives, and solutions to address the challenges of today and shape a brighter future for tomorrow, with policy and decision makers.
The Doha Forum: Youth Edition represents one of QatarDebate’s leading events, providing a platform to tackle contemporary issues and examine pressing challenges through dialogue with future young leaders from across the globe.