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On Friday and Saturday February 22nd and 23rd, 2019, the Office of International Development and External Affairs' An-Najah National University Debate Society ‎‎(NNUDS) had eight teams participate in the Al Quds Bard Open Debate Tournament in Abu Dis. The ‎tournament also included debaters from debate teams across the West Bank including Birzeit, Bethlehem, ‎Al Quds, and Al Quds Bard Universities and the Good Shepard Swedish High School.

The two-day tournament followed the British Parliamentary debate format which 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. This year, the tournament included ‎four rounds before eliminations to semifinals and a final round. NNUDS took home many high honors ‎including the top speaker award, shared by Iman Sarraj and Sanaa Aslan.  Six of the eight teams that ‎progressed to the semi-finals were from NNUDS and three of the top four teams who competed in the ‎final round were also NNUDS teams. In addition to Iman and Sarraj taking home best speaker, another five ‎of NNUDS team members placed in the top 8 speakers. Coming in as third best speaker, Suhayb Sakran, ‎fourth best speaker Radi Baraq, seventh best speaker Omar Yousef, and both Nawal Aljayyousi and ‎Mohammad Ali tying ranking eighth best speaker.

With a very close final round and split final judge decision, Dalia Alayassa and Ramez Hayek of Al Quds Bard ‎College won the tournament.

The Chief Adjudicators of the tournament included Sharmila Parmanand of the University of Cambridge ‎and Kallina Basli, Head Coach of the Hellenic American Educational Foundation. Winta Mehari, Head Coach ‎of Al Quds Bard College served both as the Convener and Deputy Chief Adjudicator and Alia Gilbrecht, Head ‎Coach of An-Najah National University Debate Society (NNUDS) also served as a Deputy Chief Adjudicator.

Tariq Asedih and Shatha Arafat of Nablus Debate Community; Lara Kasbari and Sajeda Khaled of Bethlehem ‎University; Tamara Abdellatif and Mohammad Salhi, Omar Douglas, and Ismaeel Suwan also served as ‎judges.‎

NNUDS semi-finals teams included Omar Yousef and Shehab Ali-Khader, Nura Qasrawi and Layan Malhees, ‎Mohammad Ali and Ahmad Thaher in addition to Iman Sarraj and Sanaa Aslan, Nawal Aljayyousi and ‎Mohammad Jubeh, Suhayb Sakran and Radi Baraq who made it to the final round.‎


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