Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, February 5, 2020: In the presence of H.R.H. “The Regent of Pahang, Crown Prince Tengku Hassanal Ibrahim Alam Shah Ibni Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah”.
The Asian Arabic Debating Championship concluded on Monday February 3, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with a Jordanian team taking home first place. The event has been organized by QatarDebate (QD) a member of Qatar Foundation (QF).
The team from the Princess Sumaya University for Technology (PSUT) was crowned champions after the final round of debating on Monday, February 3, while a team from the Gulf University for Science and Technology (GUST) in Kuwait came second, and a team from Lebanese American University (LAU) came third.
Dr. Hayat Abdulla Maarafi, Executive Director, QatarDebate – a member of Qatar Foundation – said: “Through the Asian Arabic Debating Championship, we seek to spread the Arabic language and restore its historical prominence through the debate gate. We aim to achieve this through the art of debate, enabling the youth to learn as well as explore ideas that can serve different people and different communities.
“The competition itself is not our goal. Rather, our goal is to provide a space for growth, and to come together to share our ideas and experiences. This tournament featured 30 teams from 20 Arab and non-Arab countries, demonstrating that the Arabic language is a language and does not necessarily belong to an origin or a race.
“We are proud of all the participants, especially those who speak Arabic as a second language – they reached this far by striving to learn. They mastered the language, discovered its secrets, and prevailed until they reached the final stages.”
Syed Saddiq, The Malaysian Minister of Youth and Sports, said in his speech: “I am always happy to encourage debate as it is a sport that had a huge impact on me growing up. Before I entered the debating world, I was very uninformed. I had to work twice as hard compared to my peers as they had less of a language barrier and had more experience than me.”
Adding that “It was the best decision I ever made. Debating encourages critical thinking and builds curiosity of the world around you. To be well informed of current issues. It teaches you how to be persuasive, how to understand issues from the other side, and the art of negotiation. To have compassion and empathy. To never fear failure. Just because you lost one round does not mean you cannot win the next.”
“As brothers and sisters of this earth, we need to focus on building bridges instead of walls. And events like this is a step in the right direction.” He said.
“Qatar will always have a special place in my heart. I have attended tournaments and workshops hosted by QatarDebate; and each time I have been met with nothing but warmth and hospitality.” He said.
He extended his thanks to QatarDebate and Qatar Foundation for all the amazing work that they do. “You truly have enriched dialogue and empowered minds.” he said.
Abdulrahman Al-Subaie, Head of the Outreach Program at QatarDebate, emphasized that the Asian Championship included the best participating teams from the 5th University Arabic Debate Championship, held in Doha 2019.
Therefore, the Asian Championship will be repeated after every University Arabic Debate Championship, which QatarDebate organizes annually with rotation of the Schools Arabic Debate Championship.
He added: “It is an experience that encourages teams to stand out in their performance, to master competing in Arabic language and to have a unique experience.”
Outlining the value of QD’s Elite academy member’s role in the championship participation and their role to implement the visions of QD, Al-Subaie said: “We have chosen the best two members in the academy third batch, Khadija Kumgar from Morocco and Omar Abdel Aziz from Algeria to participate in the Asian Championship as Adjudicators and to observe the championship closely and transfer the adjudication experience to their countries and to the African continent in the future.” he said.
Bilal Bahaa, a member of the victorious PSUT team, stressed that winning the championship was the result of a lot of training.
“Hard work pays off,” he said. “Our win is very important to us, encouraging us to keep working hard and achieve our goals. We hope we can give back something back to our country after this achievement.”
During the award ceremony, the top ten Arabic-speaking participants were also honored. Rayan Al-Rifai, from Kuwait University who won fourth place in the category, said: “I am happy with today’s results. The competition was tough, but I enjoyed it and feel that I have benefited from it.
“I also learned new debating methods, including how to present ideas and arguments in different ways. The tournament also gave me the opportunity to meet people from other countries, and learn about their way of thinking, especially in terms of the topics and issues discussed.”
A team from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies took the title for best team in the non-Arabic speaking category. Im Dong-kun, a member of the team, said: “We did not expect this result, but we are very happy with it, as it will motivate us to continue learning Arabic.
“This is the first time that I have participated in an Arabic debating tournament. It was a valuable experience for me, and I would like to thank all our colleagues and the judges who came from various countries and who helped us on our journey.”