An-Najah Debate Society Makes History Participating in the World Universities Debating Championship
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 www.facebook.com/NNUDSPALESTINE