جامعة النجاح الوطنية
An-Najah National University

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On Wednesday May 29th 2024 An Najah University Debate Team achieved first place in Qatar Debate’s 7th International University Debating Championship (IUDC) after winning the final round, a prestigious competition that saw participation from 100 teams worldwide. An-Najah National University ranked 6th overall after six qualifying rounds that covered topics on society, foreign relations, policies, and human rights.


The team advanced through the competition with notable performances. After securing a rank of 6th in the qualifying rounds, they faced Brigham Young University in the Octofinals, debating the topic of tightly integrated families. Their success continued into the Quarterfinals, where they debated the leadership of the post-revelation countries against Al-Ahliyya Amman University, and further into the Semifinals, debating isolated indigenous people against Georgetown University in Qatar, ultimately reaching and winning the final where they debated the migration of Muslim youth to the west against the University Of Sciences And Arts In Lebanon and won.

The team, consisting of Farah Atatri, Zaina Hurani, and Hammam Jallad, and Saeed Baker whose visa was denied and could not attend in-person has undergone an intensive training program under the supervision of Mrs Alia Gilbrecht and Mr Shehab Khader over the past seven months. The training included in-depth research on current events, international relations, international organizations, human rights, and philosophy. Debaters engaged in regular practice spars against other teams in the region, detailed drills, and case studies to hone their skills. Zaina Hurani brought over four years of training and competitive experience since her freshman year on the team, while Farah Atatri has been training for three years through the team’s competitive debate competitions and Hammam an academic year.

“We are incredibly proud to win this prestigious competition. It has been an intense and rewarding journey, training fully remotely due to the movement restrictions and violence in the West Bank. We knew this year was the most important opportunity to represent the Palestinian people, humanize their experiences, and bring attention to the ongoing genocide in Gaza.” said Farah.

The University’s competitive debate training program was founded in 2017 by Mrs. Alia Gilbrecht, who has co-led the debate training sessions with Mr. Shehab Khader over the past seven months in preparation for this competition. Since its founding, the An-Najah Debate Society has advanced the university to become the first Palestinian institution represented at the World Universities Debate Championship (WUDC) and the European Universities Debating Championship (EUDC). The preparations for this competition also included guest trainers from MENA, including Mr. Iyad Ghazal and Ms. Sana Aslan and Mrs Fatmah Hammad. The team has achieved quarterfinal positions and top speaker honours in the Asian Arabic Debate Championship in 2020 and 2023, as well as at the 6th IUDC in 2022. The society is supervised by the Academic and Professional Development Center, with competition participation coordinated by the Deanship of Student Affairs.

The An Najah University Debate Team’s success at the 7th IUDC highlights their dedication, skill, and the university’s commitment to fostering excellence in competitive debating.


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