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The Office of International Development and External Affairs launched the Arabic branch of the An-Najah University Debate Society this month. Over 50 current undergraduate and graduate students as well as local graduates attended a team orientation and have started virtual bi-weekly trainings. The society will conduct trainings introducing the trainees to the basic components of debate including argument construction, refutations, and motion analysis.

An-Najah has been involved in bringing debate training opportunities to students through many national and international initiatives and collaborations. This, however, is the first formal competitive Arabic debate training and organized team run by the University. The aim of this Arabic branch of the team is to increase access and inclusion to everyone regardless of English language skills and to promote the primary principles of debate among the University academic community: justice, critical thinking, and dialogue. The team also strives to develop the interpersonal skills and global competencies of all team members as this is becoming more and more of an imperative skill in the global economy.

Reflecting on the success of the team launch, Dr. Kherieh Rassas, Vice President of International Development and External Affairs, said: 'This is a great next step to the many we have taken to support the UN SDGs for creating global learners; I expect to see many great successes from this team.'

Hussam Abu Kaf, a third year student in the Faculty of Islamic Law, noted that ‘this experience is full of knowledge, I am learning to respect the views and beliefs of others, and feel proud about myself and my own views as well. Through this debate team, I am learning how to better use words and formulate arguments and create a positive change for myself and others in my community.’

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 2019 and 2020. Most recently, NNUDS competed in the Arabic Asian Debate Championship in Malaysia through the Qatar Foundation and placed in the semi finals as one of the top 8 teams in Asia.

To get involved with ‎NNUDS and learn about their upcoming programs, contact [email protected] or visit their site at

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