The fifth International University Debate championship-2019, described as the ‘World’s largest university debate championship either in English or Arabic,’ will get underway at the Qatar National Convention Centre Saturday. 
Organised by Qatar Debate Centre, an initiative of Qatar Foundation (QF), the five-day event under the patronage of QF vice chairperson and CEO HE Sheikha Hind bint Hamad al-Thani, will have the participation of universities from 52 countries, including 37 non-Arabic speaking countries, around the globe.
“Either in Arabic or English, the championship is so far the largest in the world. We will have two categories of competition - one for native Arabic speakers and the other one for non-native Arabic speakers,” Dr Hayat Abdullah Maarafi, executive director of QatarDebate Centre told Gulf Times recently.

A US team with their national flag

“There will be separate prizes for the best speaker and best team in both categories. In many cases, we have teams from more than one university from the participating countries. About 110 teams are participating in the competition and the total number of participants is more than 600 including debaters and other officials,” explained Dr Maarafi.
The championship aims to strengthen educational and cultural relations among the participating countries and open up opportunities to strengthen the relationship and share experiences among Arabic-speaking and non-Arabic speaking youth.
It also aims to raise the open discussion standards, secure freedom of expression in the Arab world and the world as a whole and respect the difference of opinion. 
A trial round involving all the teams participating in the championship without recording any scores will take place today. Mohamed Salman, a coach from QatarDebate said that the trial round aims to familiarise the teams with the championship before the actual rounds begin.
This year QatarDebate has added a special award named ‘Pioneers Award’, which will be presented to the best project to spread the art of debate. During the championship, the organisation will also announce the new QatarDebate ambassadors.
The participating countries are Algeria, Austria, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Indonesia, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Macedonia, Malaysia, The Maldives, Mauritius, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Russia, Serbia, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, the UK, the US, Vietnam, and Yemen.

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