QatarDebate Center (QD) a member of Qatar Foundation (QF), recently organised US Universities Arabic Debating Championship, from October 25-27, hosted by the Harvard Society of Arab Students USA. Twenty-four teams from 23 American universities participated in the championship. The closing ceremony was held at Harvard University.
Harvard University debating team won the championship after putting on an impressive display against University of Chicago debating team in the final debate round on the topic of ‘How far are we willing to go to reach vulnerable groups, especially children, in conflict zones?’.
Dr Hayat Abdullah Maarafi, Executive Director at QatarDebate Centre, said: “The American Championship is a new beginning for receiving useful luminous doses of thought that help young people consolidate the Arabic language”.
“If the signs are true and the evidence is not mistaken, the American championship is the starting point towards spreading the Arabic language as a global language of communication, the language of dialogue and the language of reason and logic throughout America and the world,” Dr Maarafi added. Dr Maarafi also expressed pride that QatarDebate through this championship has marked an achievement that will mark the history of Qatar Foundation, which crossed the continents to spread the Arabic language through debate.
Speaking on the occasion,
Dr Ahmed Ferhadi, Clinical Professor of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University, and one of the championship’s adjudicators; emphasised on the importance of debate using the Arabic language. He pointed out that the Arabic language is the fastest-growing language in America because it is a meaningful component representing the culture of many people around the world and it has a high position among languages; and because of its importance, the US State Department has classified it with international languages as a ‘dynamic language’. This is due to the strength of the language and seen as much by the United Nations when it recognised Arabic as one of its official languages in 1973, and a working language of the General Assembly and its Main Committees.
“There is a great outbreak of ignorance in America regarding the Arab world, so learning the Arabic language through debates desires them to understand the reality of Arab and Islamic culture away from the claims published in social media,” Dr Ferhadi said.
During the closing ceremony, Abdulrahman al-Subaie, Head of Outreach Programme at QatarDebate, said, “We conclude the championship to begin a new era of projects and initiatives that encourage academics and students to activate debate in American universities as an educational tool to facilitate the practice and proficiency of Arabic”.
He added: “We were delighted with this combination that embodied human progress in a championship that blended different cultures, nationalities, religions and forms in the Arabic language container and added an atmosphere of co-existence among the participants”.
Al-Subaie extended his thanks to Qatar Foundation for its invaluable support and thanked the Community Development Sector at QF for the unwavering support shown to QatarDebate, alongside any support intended to contribute to or assure success of this championship. He also extended a special thanks and appreciation to his QatarDebate colleagues, led by Dr Hayat Maarafi, the Executive Director of QD.
Recently, QatarDebate strengthened its ties with various US educational institutions by conducting debate workshops and aiding in establishing debate clubs as well as discussing the introduction of debates to their educational curriculum.
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