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The An-Najah National University Debate Society (NNUDS), represented by Sanaa Aslan, Radi Baraq, and ‎Mohammad Jubeh, participated in the World Universities Debating Championship (WUDC) from December ‎‎28th 2018 to January 4th, 2019. Their participation marked the first time since the creation of WUDC in 1976 ‎a Palestinian team competed in the prestigious tournament. During the tournament, NNUDS made history ‎by being granted official recognition as a competing debate organization by the WUDC Council.‎

This year, the championship was hosted by the University of Cape Town in South Africa and included over ‎‎500 top international debaters, and over 1000 participants, volunteers and judges from across the world. ‎

The tournament was carried out using the British Parliamentary debate format. This structure of debate ‎involves four teams competing against one another with two teams per side and two members per team. ‎Each team aims to create the most persuasive case after only 15 minutes of preparation. The tournament ‎included nine in-rounds over three days followed by two days of out-rounds where teams were eliminated ‎until the final rounds.  ‎

NNUDS considered the participation important as it gave a voice to the Palestinian experience within the ‎international debate community for the first time, raising awareness of the conflict and the challenges ‎faced within Palestine.  ‎

Asked about his experience at WUDC, Radi Baraq commented: "I’ve been debating for over a year and a ‎half with the NNUDS team and prepared a lot for this tournament. It was very challenging, but in the end it ‎was worth it. I’m honored to have been a part of the first team to represent Palestine at the World ‎Universities Debating Championship and look forward to supporting my team’s efforts to compete in more ‎international tournaments."‎

Prof Maher Natsheh, Acting President of An-Najah National University, commented, “the NNUDS debate ‎team plays an important role in achieving our University’s strategic goals of developing our students’ ‎ability to compete in the global economy. The trainings focus on critical thinking, team work, and ‎challenging conventional ways of thinking, all important skills for our graduates to master in order to be ‎successful after graduation.”‎

Another student who attended the tournament as a trainee judge, Mohammad Jubeh noted, “the ‎tournament really was eye-opening. I had no idea how huge the international debate community was. I’m ‎excited to share what I learned with the team to help us become more competitive internationally.”‎

This is the third international debate competition NNDUS has participated in.  In July 2018, NNUDS was ‎part of the first Palestinian team to ever compete at the European Universities Debating Championship ‎‎(EUDC) and in November 2018 NNUDS also brought three debaters to compete in the Huber Debate ‎Tournament at the University of Vermont in the United States.  Currently the team is preparing to send two ‎debaters to the La Verne University tournament in Los Angeles in March 2019.  ‎

The An-Najah University Debate Society (NNUDS) was established in 2017 and has trained over 200 ‎students and recent graduates in debate and argumentation.  NNUDS has held two international ‎tournaments and numerous smaller competitions and community training workshops.  To get involved with ‎NNUDS and be a part of their upcoming International Palestine Open Debate Tournament, contact ‎[email protected] or visit their site at

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