Team Qatar – trained by QF’s QatarDebate – are participating in an international tournament that is bringing debating into the virtual arena
Young debating stars from Qatar have begun their bid to shine in a global contest with a difference – it is being held completely online.
We annually seek to attract Qatari students from all schools so we can train and qualify them to participate in debating championships, and representing Qatar in international forums is the highest accolade for them
Team Qatar – trained by Qatar Foundation member QatarDebate – is among the debating squads from around the globe who are participating in the Online World Schools Debating Championships, which began this week and will continue until August 2.
The national English debating team got off to the perfect start on the opening day of competition, winning their first round against Team Sudan in a debate on drug legalization, as months of intensive preparation begin to be put to the test in the online debating arena.
Following the restrictions and preventative measures put in place around the world amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the decision was taken by the World Schools Debating Championship’s tournament committee to arrange a 17-day online event, which is seeing 72 teams from 72 countries take part.
Speaking about how Team Qatar has been equipped to represent the nation in global tournaments such as this, Abdulrahman Al-Subaie, Head of Programs, Communication and Marketing at QatarDebate, said: “We annually seek to attract Qatari students from all schools so we can train and qualify them to participate in debating championships, and representing Qatar in international forums is the highest accolade for them.
It is different for them this year with the championship being held online
“This is the 12th time that the national Qatar debating team have participated in a world debating championship, having begun its successful in these competitions in the US in 2008, but it is different for them this year with the championship being held online.”
The opening six rounds of the Online World Schools Debating Championships see teams pitted against each other in competitive debates. They are drawn against each other at random, with one team selected to speak in favor of the motion and the other to put the argument against it. The topics are only announced close to the start of each day, and in the first preliminary round, Team Qatar and Team Sudan debated the motion ‘Designate specific non-residential areas in which drug users and dealers are legally allowed to buy, use, and sell drugs’.
Further rounds this week have seen Team Qatar debate whether families whose children perform well in school should receive additional welfare benefits with Team Hong Kong, and whether criminal sentencing should be based on computer algorithms rather than human judgment with Team Estonia.
The team comprises Turkia Al-Thani, Alanoud Al Thani, Moza Al Hajri, and Reem Al Kubaisi, who have been trained by QatarDebate coach Mubarrat Wassey. They were originally preparing to participate in the World Schools Debating Championship in Mexico City, which was due to be held this month but has now been postponed until January, leading to the alternative online tournament being organized.
Their training has included over 120 hours of online preparation, to familiarize them with the virtual debate setting and hone their skills, and their build-up to the Online World Schools Debating Championship, they won the Helsinki Online Open Debating Championship.