QatarDebate Centre has kicked off the 7th International Universities Debating Championship in Doha for the 2024 edition of the championship.

The 2024 edition brings together over 600 speakers and judges from more than 50 countries, including 100 Arabic and non-Arabic-speaking teams. Over 80 Qatar-based judges and 45 international adjudicators, along with 150 volunteers are participating in the tournament.

The opening ceremony was held at the Qatar National Convention Centre, where competitions will be held over the next five days.

Abdul Rahman al-Subaie, director of programmes at the QatarDebate Centre, said: “ QatarDebate Centre has become a leader in debate in the Arabic language and a leading institution promoting dialogue at a global level. This tournament aims to build awareness, critical thinking, and acceptance of differences in the participating debaters.”

Participants will compete in two categories: native Arabic language speakers and non-native Arabic language speakers.

Asmahan al-Kuwari, a former contestant and past member of Qatar’s national debating team welcomed the participants and said: “This global meeting is one of the largest and most diverse platforms for dialogue in the world. Today, nearly 600 participants who speak more than 20 languages, have gathered together to debate in Arabic language. Thousands of debaters have participated in the previous editions, and continue to benefit from the QatarDebate platform.”

To decide the debating teams, Qatar Debate Centre has adopted the power-matching format, an electronic random pairing mechanism, that draws lots to pair teams in the first round, before matching them based on scores in the subsequent rounds. This system ensures that teams with the same level of qualification are grouped after the first round.

Nadia Darwish, debate coach at the Arabic Language Programmes Department at QatarDebate Centre, said: “The importance of this system is that the draw determines whether each participating team will argue in favour or opposition of the topic at hand. In both cases, the participant must present rational arguments to support their position. This helps participating students gain the flexibility to understand and embrace the opposing side’s rationale and accept and respect different opinions without discrimination.”

An exhibition is also being held during the championship, bringing together QatarDebate Centre’s partners, and engaging the participants in various interactive activities. Visitors were also made aware of the Doha Forum - Youth Edition, and its upcoming international conference that will take place in partnership with the Doha International Family Institute.

Seven teams from Qatar-based universities - Qatar University, the University of Doha for Science and Technology, Texas A&M University at Qatar, Georgetown University in Qatar, Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Lusail University, and the Police Academy, are participating in this year’s edition.

The tournament is organised in partnership with the Doha Forum, Al Jazeera Media Institute, Translation and Interpreting Institute at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, and the Doha International Family Institute.
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