Global thinkers unite to enrich knowledge at the International Conference on Debate & Dialogue
Doha – Qatar Debates Center
Yesterday, Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Qatar Foundation and CEO of the Foundation, inaugurated the first International Conference on Debate and Dialogue 2023, organized by QatarDebate Center. The conference will continue for two days at the Qatar National Convention Center, with the participation of 800 people from around the world.
The opening ceremony, presented by Qatar Debates Ambassador Moza Al Hajri, witnessed the attendance of a select group of dignitaries, ministers, and senior figures.
Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani stated in her speech: “The first International Conference on Debate and Dialogue organized by Qatar Debates Center aims to build an empowered and influential young generation in the field of thought and dialogue. It also contributes to preparing young minds and talents to face future challenges. It is a valuable opportunity for youth to interact and exchange ideas with experts and learn from the best research and specialized discussions in the field of debate.”
Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani also toured various interactive spaces and stations, where she visited the exhibition halls accompanying the conference in its first edition.
Her Excellency Lulwa Al Khater stated: “Dialogue has always been present in all sciences and arts of different civilizations and nations.” She emphasized that debate is a science, art, method, and a mental and ethical discipline, not just a mere skill of speech and linguistic expression.
She highlighted the role of Qatar Debates Center in reviving the universal tradition, providing platforms and spaces for dialogue, and focusing on youth and expanding partnerships across different continents. She also mentioned her meeting with the director of a major research center for Oriental studies in Australia, who informed her about the role of Qatar Debates Center in establishing the Australian National Debate Team in the Arabic language.
She added: “I have seen Qataris and Arabs living in Qatar who have joined Qatar Debates and have mastered the language.” She expressed her pleasure at the launch of the center’s unique Master’s program in partnership with Al-Zaytuna University in Tunisia, congratulating Qatar Foundation on this achievement and wishing Qatar Debates further progress and success.
Dr. Hayat Marafi, Executive Director of Qatar Debates Center, delivered a speech at the conference’s opening, expressing her pride in contributing to planting the first seed of Qatar Debates in 2008, under the guidance of Her Highness Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser (may God protect her). She mentioned the first national team representing Qatar in the World Schools Debating Championship in English. She said, “Today, we have become one of the most important institutions concerned with debate and dialogue worldwide. Our experience has become the center of attention, and we have had the honor of spreading the message of enriching dialogue and empowering minds through organizing and hosting the largest international and continental competitions in school and university debates in Arabic and English.
She continued, “After the great success we achieved at the Qatar Debates Center in the field of competitive debating, the center is determined to enhance the competitive debating programs with other programs that complement each other and provide our community with the greatest possible benefit.”
She added, “Over five years ago, we started forming partnerships with universities inside and outside Qatar to offer university courses. I can mention, for example, the course ‘Debates for Police College Students in Qatar.’ We also collaborated with prestigious American institutions such as the University of Utah and Western Kentucky University, among others. Our efforts culminated in a high-quality partnership with Ez-Zitouna University in Tunisia to design and launch a master’s program, the first of its kind, titled ‘The Art of Debating in Comparative Jurisprudence.’ Last summer, we also launched the Qatar Debates Research Fellowship to support researchers interested in knowledge development in the field of debating.” She praised the importance of the conference to serve as the nucleus of an academic network that studies the experiences of dialogue and debating in its past and present, and she expressed appreciation for the significant support from the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development to the center.