An-Najah Concludes its First Organized Debate in the Arabic Language
On Monday, July 20th, 2020, An-Najah University Debate Society's Arabic Branch completed the first Arabic language debate tournament ever to be organized by An-Najah National University.
The tournament was created for the new novice debate team members who have completed a 2.5 month online debate training that marked the beginning of the development of the Arabic branch of the debate team.
With the participation of over 30 debaters from both An-Najah and Al-Azhar University in Gaza and 8 judges, the tournament took place on the online platform called mixidea, which is specialized for online debate, and consisted of three rounds followed by a grand final for the top four ranking teams. The first place team was Hammam Rehan and Mohmad Nayrab and the top speaker was Dana Barakat. The topics that were debated included motions related to individualist vs. collectivist cultures, balancing personal well-being with the importance of improving your society, the future of the information technology economy in Palestine, and Arab nationalism.
Mohmad Nayrab, reflecting on his experience ''As the coordinator of political science for the Student Union, this experience was wonderful for me because I benefited from the skills I developed through debating including the strengthening of rhetoric and learning more about international current affairs as well as the rules and basics of the debate. I also benefited from the community participation of youth and by learning how they think and view the world, especially since all of the debating teams and their participants were respecting the other opinion and working together within their team defend their case.'
Omar Atatrah, 5th year Mechatronics Engineering, said 'I was very excited when I heard that the University English Debate team would create an Arabic branch, opening up significant opportunity to study debate in Arabic and spread the culture of debate within the community, which lacks many basic elements of dialogue. For this reason, as a member of the English debate team, I decided to volunteer and help train the novice members with the experience and knowledge I gained throughout the last two years. The experience of serving as an Arabic language debate trainer was enjoyable and also a very useful experience for me, as I was able to solidify and deepen my own understanding of debate in order to teach in a simple and clear way. After over two months of novice Arabic debate trainings, I have witnessed the progress achieved by the trainees, which was quite evident in the competition. I wish all of the Arabic debaters good luck in their contributions towards raising their level in debate and seeking a better society based on logic and analysis rather than the prevailing conventional thinking that often goes unchallenged'
Although English NNUDS has existed since 2017, it has long been a goal to expand the team to offer trainings and activities for debaters who are not proficient in English and/or prefer to develop their debate skills in their mother tongue of Arabic.
The success of the Arabic training is owed to the debate members of the English team who have two or more years of experience who volunteered their time and expertise to work with the novices in weekly 2-3 hour trainings on all aspects of debate (argument construction, refutations and argument engagement, comparative case analysis, and motion analysis).