The Qatar Foundation member, in collaboration with the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), officially launched the championship during an opening ceremony where Abdulrahman I. Al-Subaie, Head of the Outreach Program at QatarDebate, said the focus of the tournament is on “reviving the art of debate”
“This important event signifies how far QatarDebate’s efforts to invest in youth, who make up one of the most important pillars of our societies, have reached,” he said.
“This championship is the fruit of QatarDebate’s goal of taking the art of debate to the rest of the world. We continue with our mission to organize international championships outside Qatar, by launching the first Asian Arabic Debating Championship.”
Al Subaie emphasized that the five-day championship is helping to preserve and promote the Arabic language around the world, saying: “Through this championship, we seek to promote the power of dialogue and to revitalize the Arabic language, which has become entrapped by other languages, and by the colloquial dialects in various countries.
“For that reason, we have made it our mission to restore and defend the Arabic language with the weapons of dialogue and debate.”
Speaking at the ceremony, Dr. Zulkifli bin Hasan, Associate Professor and Deputy Director of Student Development & Community Engagement at IIUM, said: “I am grateful to QatarDebate for choosing the International Islamic University Malaysia as the hosting partner for this championship, and I wish all the students a pleasant intellectual journey through it.
“There is no doubt that debate has many benefits, as it teaches the skills of persuasion that people can use in most areas of their lives. Through debate, people employ their cognitive skills to provide a convincing argument in a constructive tone.”
The ceremony was also attended by Her Excellency Zuraida Kamaruddin, Malaysia’s Minister of Housing and Local Government, Dr. Hayat Abdullah Marafi, Executive Director of QatarDebate, and young participants including Maryam Al Hani, a student at the American University of Beirut, who said: “This is the second time that I have participated in a championship with QatarDebate, and the reason is that I believe that young people have to place dialogue and debate at the center of our agendas.”
Outlining the value she gains from participating in debate championships, Al Hani said: “Through my experience in debates, I have gained many skills, including public speaking, building arguments, and refuting arguments, as well as social skills that have helped me build a network with students from other countries and cultures.”
On the first day of the tournament, teams participated in competitive debate sessions, some of which see students arranged in teams made up of contestants with similar debating levels, while the first round saw participants being randomly placed into teams. The motion in the first round discussed the topic of organ donation, with the second round’s motion being “Adapting to climate change is better than combating it”.
Three rounds took place on the second day, with debates focusing on companies employing ex-prisoners, whether organizations addressing female-focused topics and issues should employ males, and the motion: “Labor strikes in education and health jobs are a crime”. The Asian Arabic Debating Championship continues until February 3.