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What the student debating culture could mean for a future Palestinian state

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Between 16 and 20 March, the debating team of Jerusalem’s Al-Quds University was at the forefront of the 5th International Universities’ Debating Championship held in Qatar. The team, made up of five Palestinian students studying at the university – Dalia Alayassa, Yasmin Arda, Ahmad Toukan, Amani Ahmad and their coach Rania Al-Muhatadi – not only finished as top Palestinian university but also won the competition overall.

The rigorous annual competition, with 107 teams from 51 countries this year, includes participants from both Arabic and non-Arabic speaking countries. One of its aims is to promote Arabic as a language of innovation, as well as to provide young Arabic-speaking adults and students with opportunities to engage with participants from other cultures and backgrounds in a meaningful way by fostering their critical thinking, listening and debating skills.

According to Dalia Alayassa, the debating clubs in Palestinian universities are hugely important. “They bring students together and create an amazing sense of sisterhood and brotherhood,” she explained. “This is especially apparent given that in the majority of universities in Palestine most of the students focus more on their academic life than their social life.” The clubs, she........

© Middle East Monitor