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Qatar Foundation member kicks off the Qatar-American Year of Culture by signing agreement with leading US university
January 17, 2021 0

Inlight of pursuing common visions, QatarDebate and Western Kentucky University sign a memorandum of understanding

Doha, Qatar, January 18, 2021: Aligning with the U.S.-Qatar 2021 Year of Culture, Western Kentucky University (WKU) is to name one of its halls the QatarDebate Majlis.

The accolade reflects the efforts of QatarDebate – a member of Qatar Foundation – toward promoting a culture of debate and dialogue through various programs, in cooperation with Western Kentucky University WKU), and several other American universities. QatarDebate seeks to promote the Arabic language and enrich the experience of its learners, by employing debate as a tool for developing their language skills.

2020 represented a milestone in the partnership between QatarDebate and WKU, as both parties were scheduled to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in March on the sidelines of the 5th International Schools Debating Championship. The pandemic put a hold on those plans, yet both sides remained committed to the partnership, and signed the MoU in December 2020.  

WKU team at the 5th International Universities Arabic Debating Championship – 2019

Timothy Caboni, President of WKU, said: “The relationship between QatarDebate and Western Kentucky University is rooted in an infinite quest for knowledge. We value critical thinking in the rigors of reasoned discussion, through constructive and open dialogue.”

The agreement will provide a basis for future cooperation to spread the culture of debate and discussion in the Arabic language at WKU and in the US.

Dr. Hayat Maraafi, Executive Director of QatarDebate, said: “In the fall of 2020, we worked with WKU to offer debate skills courses to students, with a focus on developing their Arabic speaking skills.

“In February of 2020, we also organized the first edition of the U.S. High School Debating Championship in Arabic, with the participation of four schools vying for a coveted league title and to represent the US  at the QatarDebate-organized 5th International Schools Debating Championship in Doha.

“After the success of the first US Universities Arabic Debating Championship 2019, QatarDebate will be organizing the second edition of this tournament in 2021, with final dates to be confirmed .”

With the goal of advancing the Arabic language, QatarDebate in collaboration with several US educational institutions, delivered university courses that teach debate skills for Arabic language learners at four US universities: the University of Utah, WKU, the University of Illinois, and the University of Chicago. QatarDebate developed a close relationship with many US educational institutions, in particular QKU, which participated at the International Universities Debating Championships in 2017 and 2019, both held in Doha.

“We’ve been welcoming students from Qatar to WKU for more than three decades, and we are thankful for QatarDebate for hosting Western Kentucky University students, both in Doha and in the United States,”, said Mr Caboni.

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