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The Office of International Development and External Affair’s University Debate Society (NNUDS) recently competed in the Asian Arabic Debating Championship in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia hosted by the Qatar Debate Foundation from January 30th to February 3rd 2020. 

An-Najah University Debate Society (NNUDS) placed in the top 8 teams in the whole tournament, now confirming them as among the best teams in Asia within the Arabic debate circuit.

The tournament included the participation of the top Arabic language debate societies from over 20 different Asian countries.  The teams who were invited to participate were selected based on their previous international and regional debate accomplishments, ensuring the top teams representing their country were in attendance.

This was the first tournament NNUDS has ever competed in in Arabic, as usually they train and compete in English, making this an even bigger accomplishment. In addition to their regular trainings with NNUDS, the debaters who competed received 8 hours over a week of additional Arabic debate and oratory training support by Arabic expert debate coach Mr. Adnan Al Bobali of the Nablus community center Hamdi Manko.

The debaters who participated from NNUDS included Iman Saraj, currently studying towards her degree in pathology linguistics in the Faculty of Medicine, Suhayb Sakran studying in the Faculty of Law, Layan Melhees of the Computer Engineering department, and Shehab Khader of the Mechatronics department.

Hearing of NNUDS’ accomplishment, Dr. Kherieh Rassas, the Vice President of International Development and External Affairs remarked, ‘I am very pleased to see the results of this tournament as they only reaffirm and solidify the work An-Najah has been doing towards developing the 21st century and soft skills needed to succeed in today’s interconnected world.’

Reflecting on their experiences at the tournament, Layan, who has been debating with NNUDS for 1.5 years, noted ‘I was so proud to be representing Palestine and excited to see so many diverse teams debating in Arabic. It brought a sense of true appreciation for my culture and language.’ Debater Suhayb, who has been debating with NNUDS for nearly three years, remarked ‘we have worked hard over the last couple years on our skills in debate, training and researching as much as possible. It is really a great feeling to see this pay off. We hope to do even better next year.’

The tournament was carried out in the Arabic version the British Parliamentary debate format.  This structure of competitive debate involves two teams competing against one another with three speakers per team. Each team aims to create the most persuasive case after only 20 minutes of preparation (which includes no access to the internet). The tournament included 5 in-rounds over two days in which all teams participated.  After the completion of the 5 in-rounds of debating, the top 8 scoring teams advanced to the Quarterfinals. NNUDS was among these top 8 ranking teams.

Since its founding in 2017, NNUDS has become the most active English debate society in Palestine, providing free training to over 250 university students and recent graduates in debate and argumentation skills and convening the first three international debate tournaments in Palestine, between 2017 and 2019. These tournaments included over 200 debaters from six Palestinian universities and over 20 international expert coaches and judges in addition to a multitude of other local and community workshops and events. Internationally, NNUDS has made history by being a part of the first team to represent Palestine at the European Universities Debating Championships (EUDC) in 2018 and by being the first and only Palestinian team to ever compete at the World Universities Debating Championship (WUDC) in both 2018 and 2019. To get involved with ‎NNUDS and learn about their upcoming programs, contact [email protected] or ‎visit their site at

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