Under the patronage of HE Sheikha Hind bint Hamad Al Thani – Vice Chairman of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development – QatarDebate – member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development – is organizing the 2nd International Schools Arabic Debating Championship. The championship will be held from 23-26 March 2014 with the participation of 25 teams representing 21 Arab states and 4 foreign countries.
QatarDebate had previously organized the first edition of the International Schools Arabic Debating Championship from April 1 to 4, 2012 with the participation of 20 Arab countries in addition to Malaysia. The team from Lebanon won the title, with the teams from Jordan and Tunisia winning second and third places respectively.
In announcing the second edition of the championship, QatarDebate organized a press conference in the presence of Dr. Hayat Abdullah Maarafi, Executive Director of QatarDebate, Dr. Abdellatif Salami, Educational Program Manager at QatarDebate, Mr. Jamal Al Baker, Event Manager at QatarDebate, Mr. Ali Sultan Al Muftah, Communications Manager at QatarDebate, Mrs. Faizeh Abdelrazeq, Head of the Arabic Program at QatarDebate, and Mr. Frank Feghali, Vice President and Commercial Manager at ConocoPhillips, the Gold Sponsor of the championship.
The press conference commenced with a welcome note by Mr. Ali Sultan Al Muftah where he welcomed everyone and thanked them for attending for the announcement the 2nd International Schools Arabic Debating Championship. He also praised the role of media in helping QatarDebate implement its vision which aims to spread the culture of debate and dialogue in the Arab World.
Dr. Hayat Maarafi: The championship supports the efforts of QatarDebate to spread the art of debating
During her speech at the press conference, Dr. Hayat Abdullah Maarafi, Executive Director of QatarDebate, said, “We are happy to announce that QatarDebate, member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, will organize 2nd International Schools Arabic Debating Championship, which will be held from March 23 to 26, 2014 with the participation of 25 teams representing 21 Arab countries and four foreign countries.
“I would like on behalf of QatarDebate to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation for the important role that the media plays in delivering QatarDebate’s message to the local, Arab and international communities. In doing so this helps us achieve the vision and goals of QatarDebate. Special thanks also go to ConocoPhillips, the Gold Sponsor of the championship, represented here by Mr. Frank Feghali, Vice President and Commercial Manager of ConocoPhillips.
“This competition comes within the efforts of QatarDebate to support and promote the art of debate and dialogue in Arabic and to build the foundations of this discipline in the Arab World. The International Schools Arabic Debating Championship falls within the framework of our efforts to spread this art and raise awareness amongst youth of its importance in the preparation of future generations and shaping future leaders based on the foundations of the authentic Arabic language, which serves our language, culture and identity.”
She pointed out that QatarDebate seeks to promote the art of debating and its important use as an educational tool to encourage students to utilize critical thinking, research and study, and refines their leadership and language skills. Repeating the championship for the second time is tangible evidence of its success in specifically targeting Arab youth with the aim of raising the level of debating and encouraging dialogue, freedom of expression and open discussion in the Arab region in particular and the world in general.
She also referred to the wider goals of QatarDebate which seeks to deepen the relations and ties in the areas of Educational and Cultural Affairs for participating schools from different countries, presenting an opportunity to consolidate the bonds of friendship and closer links, work on the rapprochement between Arab youth, and embed a culture of peaceful dialogue, which produces knowledge and opens the door for rich diversity.
Dr. Hayat Maarafi said, “I assure you that our focus at QatarDebate is primarily the provision of care for and interest in Arab youth, as they represent our hope in a bright future that meets people’s aspirations for a decent life based on justice, equality and free debate which is encouraged within them through the art of debate and dialogue. We seek to raise the level of Arab thought to become more aware of all the blessings granted to us and which allow us to exercise our right of opinion, understanding our differences and being able to live with this reality. Doha embraces the doves of peace in its skies regardless of the differences in colors, flags and languages. ??Debating was found to bind us when politics divide us and this is our ultimate goal.”
At the end of her speech, Dr. Hayat Maarafi expressed her wish for the championship to be a resounding success and a new achievement added to the record of QatarDebate’s achievements in raising interest in the art of debate. She went on to say that she hopes participants will go back home carrying the debating banner, appreciating its importance and determined to spread the message among their colleagues.
Speech made by Frank Feghali, Vice President and Commercial Manager, ConocoPhillips:
In his speech during the press conference, Mr. Frank Feghali, Vice President and Commercial Manager at ConocoPhillips, said: “This is the second year ConocoPhillips is honored to offer Gold Sponsorship to the International Schools Debating Championship in the Arabic language, which is a special occasion because it represents many important values that are indispensable to the success of any individual or any action, and those values include integrity, teamwork and knowledge sharing practiced by all participants in this championship and which we also carry out at ConocoPhillips every day.”
He stressed that such initiatives enrich the Arabic language. Teaching the Arabic language in its correct form is a challenge facing us as parents. He also stated that ConocoPhillips believes that intellectual engagement and the exchange of knowledge is the basis for building the community, and for this reason ConocoPhillips been keen to support this championship and support all the efforts of its organizers and participants. ConocoPhillips’ message as a partner in building a bright future for the State of Qatar is fundamentally based on encouraging knowledge sharing and the development of innovation and creativity, to meet Qatar’s economic and social goals in its 2030 National Vision.
In concluding his speech he said: “On behalf of all my colleagues at ConocoPhillips, I extend my sincere gratitude to the organizers of this unique tournament, and I wish luck to all the participants who always display a great level of intellect in the debates, and provide a great example of the high knowledge and intellectual level of Qatari and Arab youth. I would like on this occasion to renew our commitment to support national social initiatives targeting youth, to show their potential and recognize their talent and positioning Qatar as a global center that brings students from all around the world to receive training in the debates in both Arabic and English.”
Addressing the championship, Gary Sykes, President, ConocoPhillips Qatar, highlighted the company’s support of QatarDebate: “We are honored to be sponsoring such an invaluable and important initiative. Not only does this championship enrich intellectual vitality and promote linguistic competency amongst Arab youth; but it also helps position Qatar as a center for the art of debate in the region, preparing a confident and intellectual generation to lead the future of Qatar towards the National Vision 2030.”
He went on to say, “ConocoPhillips is keen to invest in community initiatives which reflects the company’s values and contributes to the human and social development of the Qatari society.”
Jamal Al Baker: QatarDebate is keen to communicate with all Arab countries
In his speech, Mr. Jamal Al Baker said, “QatarDebate was keen to communicate with all Arab countries ahead of the championship in order to secure participation. QatarDebate is also keen on extending the bridges of communication with all countries and strengthening cooperation in the fields of science, education and culture with different educational institutions in Arab and foreign countries.” He added that such tournaments allow for transferring QatarDebate’s unique experience in spreading the culture of debate in Arabic.
Participating Countries in the Championship
This edition of the championship sees the participation of 25 teams representing 21 Arab states and 4 foreign countries. The participating countries are the State of Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Algeria, the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, Turkey, Tunisia, Syrian Arab Republic, Lebanon, Iraq, Kuwait, Jordan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United States of America, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Comoros, Djibouti, Singapore, Arab Republic of Egypt, Libya, Oman, Palestine, Malaysia, the Kingdom of Bahrain.
In her speech, Mrs. Faizeh Abdelrazeq, Head of Arabic Program at QatarDebate explained that the debating topics during the course of the championship are characterized by diversity and inclusiveness to cover multiple areas and deal with contemporary issues of common interest among all participants, as well as being related to the Arabic societies.
Academy to train and prepare debating coaches from participating countries
In preparation for the championship, QatarDebate organized the sixth Academy to train and prepare Arabic debating coaches from Arab and foreign countries which took place from November 17 – 19, 2013. 24 participants attended, representing 19 participants from Arab countries and 5 participants from foreign countries, representing 20 Arab and international countries in total. The aim was to give them sufficient information that would qualify them to prepare students for the 2nd International Schools Arabic Debating Championship.
Announcing a new publication for QatarDebate
Dr. Abdellatif Salami announced that QatarDebate will issue its third publication on the art of debating, during the championship. QatarDebate continues its efforts to become a center for programs that promote and intensify this important art in the Arab world.
He explained that this new publication focuses on debating mechanisms and techniques and will address rhetoric, targeting those who seek to learn and understand the art of debate and dialogue. He expressed his pride in adding it to the Arab library, pointing out that the previous publications of QatarDebate achieved great resonance among the masses interested in the art of debate.
QatarDebate Twitter Competition – sponsored by I Spot
During the press conference, a QatarDebate Twitter competition was announced. Abdulrahman Al Subaie, Marketing Coordinator at QatarDebate announced that the competition is sponsored by I Spot, on the occasion of The 2nd International Schools Arabic Debating Championship.
He pointed out that the contest targets those who follow QatarDebate on social media, and is set up using the league system where the winners will be selected depending on the number of points they get. The competition will start on March 16 and will continue until March 26, 2014. Following QatarDebate on Twitter is the only prerequisite for participating in this social media competition. Winners will be announced at the closing ceremony of the championship where they will be given valuable prizes from QatarDebate and I Spot.
Abdulrahman Al Subaie went on to thank I Spot for sponsoring the competition and for their eagerness to support youth through supporting such initiatives that aim to develop the skills of youth.
Media Q&As during the press conference
In response to reporters’ questions, Dr. Hayat Maarafi said, “The championship has a big role in bringing Arab youth closer to exchange experiences and information and strengthen the bonds among the youth of different countries.”
She stressed that the most important goal of the championship is to focus attention on the Arabic language, in addition to strengthening the ties of cooperation between the various Arab countries in order to facilitate further exchanges in various fields.
She noted that the center continues to organize tournaments and international conferences because of their important role in spreading the culture of Arab and international debating, and that QatarDebate will also participate in tournaments and conferences abroad on a regular basis.
And on the Qatari debating team’s preparations, Dr. Hayat said, “The team is preparing intensely for the championship, especially students who have been nominated to join the team. Their training has been intensive, and during next week we will officially announce the names of all the Qatar Debating team members who will represent the country in the international championship.”
Mr. Jamal Al Baker stated that the championship is characterized by the participation of all Arab countries except for Morocco, pointing out that he has been communicating with the Ministry of Education in Morocco ahead of the championship, but QatarDebate believes that there are special circumstances preventing them from participating, although they were contacted in advance. No responses have been received to confirm attendance which forced us to inform them that they would not participate in the championship.
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