Doha, Qatar, November 24, 2018:
Doha Forum and QatarDebate, a member of Qatar Foundation (QF), today hosted the Doha Forum: Youth Edition at the Education City Student Center. The event was attended by Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani, Vice Chairperson and CEO, Qatar Foundation, and Her Excellency Lolwah Al Khater, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Doha Forum: Youth Edition aims to enhance the debating skills of young people, and engage them in discussions on issues that are trending around the world, in preparation for the 18th Doha Forum, scheduled to be held on December 15-16 in Doha. Focusing on the importance of dialogue in addressing contemporary issues and challenges, the Doha Forum: Youth Edition is one of the most important events in QatarDebate’s 2018 calendar.
Her Excellency Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani said: “It has been truly inspiring to listen to the voice of youth being applied to such rigorous, constructive, and insightful dialogue about some of the key issues that our world is experiencing today, and will continue to experience.
“The Doha Forum: Youth Edition has focused on topics that are at the center of global discussions, debates, and agendas – the patterns, causes, and impact of mass immigration; and the effects of fake news on how we consume, and perceive, media – and challenged young people to approach them from different standpoints. These issues, and others like them, will impact on their lives and their societies. Through their participation in this event, they will be better equipped to represent the voice of youth in global conversations on topics that truly matter, and to encourage and empower their peers to ensure they also have their say about our world.”
In her opening remarks, Her Excellency Lolwah Alkhater, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said: “Today we celebrate the launch of Doha Forum’s new edition: the 1st ever youth edition, in partnership with Qatar Debate Center and Qatar Foundation.
Through this partnership, we revive the culture of dialogue and debate, which is rooted in the history of humanity and the region as well. We look forward to productive panel discussions featuring the leaders of the future.”
Dr. Hayat Abdulla Maarafi, Executive Director of QatarDebate, said: “The voices of youth are significant in this changing world – they carry hopes, dreams, and plans for building and developing the community. They need our trust, support, and guidance, in order for them to achieve their ultimate goals of justice and reason.
“Doha Forum gives these voices the importance they deserve, and provides them with an opportunity to create ideas and make decisions. This is because we want to see them at the forefront of community development and growth, as the leaders of a future that they themselves plan and execute.”
The Forum consisted of two panel discussions in both Arabic and English, led by an elite group of QatarDebate alumni who have trained for, and participated in, international championships held every year.
The Arabic panel discussion at the Doha Forum: Youth Edition addressed the topic ‘Mass immigration is the solution, not the problem’, including its causes, and its effect on immigrants, the countries that receive immigrants, their country of origin, and society. Arguments for and against the topic were highlighted, after which a conclusion was reached.
Thaer Farahat, QatarDebate ambassador to Jordan; Fahad Alsubaie, QatarDebate ambassador to Kuwait, from the Ministry of Education in Kuwait; Nour Al-Tamimi, member of the Youth Committee of the Ministry of Culture and Sports in Qatar, and Kiyara Aiyad, member of the Elite Academy at QatarDebate, and a researcher at the Reform Foundation in Paris, were the participants in the Arabic panel discussion.
Also, Professor Fatima Al-Sayyed, a women’s rights activist who contributed to raising awareness in society through her blog ‘My Nest’ on social media, was a previous debater who ranked sixth in the International Debate Championship 2013.
The English panel discussion addressed the topic ‘The role of the media in a post-truth era.’ It explored the theme of fake news, specifically the role of social media in spreading it, its definition, and the speed with which it spreads. The panel also noted how this leads to distrust in social media and politics, and polarizes different groups within a nation, and held a general discussion on ways to combat fake news.
Among the main panelists for the English discussion were Abdul Quddoos AbdulBasith, a PhD student at Qatar University and prominent debater; Khalid Al Khulaifi, a member of the national team representing Qatar in several international forums, from Qatar; Amr Dardur, an engineer from the UK; Narges Sadat from Iran, who is also a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, a QF partner university, and Fatima Farouqi, a Pakistani student from Georgetown University in Qatar, another QF partner university, and winner of the 2017-2018 English debate tournament.