Georgetown Arabic Debate Team Wins Best Speaker and Earns Top Four Ranking at the 2nd Asian Arabic Debating Championship in Oman
First-year Qatari student Moza Alhajri at Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q), was named Best Speaker at the 2nd Asian Arabic Debating Championship held in Muscat, Oman, with the team’s semi-final finish earning them a spot on the top four winner’s circle. The team also earned accolades with third-year student Hamza Al-Sioufy’s 4th Best Speaker win. Abdullah Hussein and Yousuf Salem, also third-year students, ranked among the top performers at the debate to round out the university’s successful showing at the international event.
The tournament was co-hosted by Qatar Debate and brought together teams from universities across the Asian continent for five days of intense debates. Hamza, the team’s president and an International Economics major, has been recruiting students and organizing the intensive training needed to win since he began his studies at GU-Q. “We’ve been working toward this for three years. Looking back at what we’ve done, all the tough nights and effort this team has put forth, it feels amazing to see how it all paid off.”
Moza, an International Economics major, began honing her debating skills in elementary school in Doha, then on her high school’s national team before joining the GU-Q team in her first year of study. Arabic debate provides an important platform for intellectual discourse in the Arabic language as well as its cultural context, she said. “You get to meet Arabic speakers from all over the world and discuss topics and issues from a uniquely Arab perspective. That has an important role in shaping an informed and intellectual Arabic-speaking society.”
An International Politics major minoring in Arabic, Yousuf was convinced by his friend Hamza to join the team in his second year at GU-Q. “Since joining, I’ve taken part in two league championships, one national championship, a competition in the U.S., and an international debate in Istanbul,” he said, adding with a smile: “It turns out that I’m passionate about making winning arguments.”
Abdullah Hussein’s passion for debate began and grew at GU-Q, along with his pride in having the opportunity to represent both his university and Qatar. And he credits the combined strengths of each team member’s academic field of interest for their success. “The diversity of our curriculums and majors really contributes to our debate, because we know who to turn to for a topic on economics, or politics, or culture and society.”
Hamza is quick to point out that the national season isn’t over yet. The top teams from an upcoming league competition will qualify for an even higher goal: next year’s international Arabic debating championship. “Our goal is to be one of them,” he said, with Moza echoing his confidence. “This is what we want to do. To make it cool to speak Arabic.”