For the second year in a row, the Georgetown Debating Union (GDU) at Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) has once again dominated the debate circuit by winning the National and League Champion titles at the Qatar Universities National Debating Championship held on March 26, 2022 at Qatar University. Organized by QatarDebate (QD), a member of Qatar Foundation, the National Debating Championship event concludes the universities debate season for the 2021-2022 academic year.
The top performance of the tournament was from the GDU team of Pragyan Acharya (GU-Q’23) and Muhammad Saad Ullah (GU-Q’23) who bested Qatar University’s team for the National Champion title. They were one of two GDU teams that made it into the Grand Finals after three rounds of debate, setting them up for the final debate and marking an impressive finish for Alanoud Al Thani (GU-Q’24) and Maha Al Haroon (GU-Q’23).
“This win represents just one part of the rich legacy of excellence that we have here at Georgetown in Qatar: students strive to be the best at what they do and debating is no exception,” said Muhammad, who is now in his third year as member of the GDU and the second year as president.
During the closing ceremony of the Nationals competition, their victory was followed by the announcement of GDU’s League win, an award given to the team that has garnered the most wins across the season’s three tournaments.
Pragyan, the team captain and lead organizer of training for the team, credited the team’s success to their dedication to constantly challenging themselves. “It is definitely our prior experience with training and tournaments that helped us win both the league and the national championship. It really feels good, and validates our team’s hard work and effort in preparing for every tournament.” Pragyan also remains undefeated, winning both the National Best Speaker Award and League Best Speaker Award for the second year in a row.
Their university education plays a major role in their success, explained Muhammad. “GU-Q’s academic culture consistently contributes to our debating skills through the core curriculum. It fosters knowledge on a wide range of debate topic issues, from historical to political to economic. The culture of open discourse in Georgetown further encourages students to critically think about the ongoing dilemmas in the world.”
The majority of the GDU is made up of first-time debaters, many of whom came home with accolades for their performance. The QUDL Best Novice Speaker award was won by Gaebriel Joseph Olsen (GU-Q’25), with Georgetown students also clinching 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th, and 7th place. According to Pragyan, the team dynamic is what makes the experience so rewarding. “Seeing them succeed makes me very happy, and it is through their success that the union succeeds too.”
Qatar Universities Debate Season 2021-2022
Debate teams from WCM-Q, TAMUQ, CMU-Q, Northwestern Qatar, QU, and Team Qatar in the World Schools Debating Championship (WSDC) competed against GU-Q throughout the League and the National Championship.
Qatar Universities National Debating Champion: Georgetown University in Qatar.
Team: Muhammad Saad Ullah (SFS’23) and Pragyan Acharya (SFS’24)
Qatar Universities Nationals Runner Up: Qatar University
Qatar Universities Nationals Best Speaker: Pragyan Acharya (SFS’24)
Qatar Universities Nationals Other Speaker Awards:
Tied 3rd Best National Speaker: Al Anoud Al Thani, (SFS’24)
Tied 3rd Best National Speaker: Maha Al Haroon, (SFS’23)
5th Best Speaker: Muhammad Saad Ullah, (SFS’23)
The Qatar Universities Debate League results were also announced during the closing ceremony. A culmination of three tournaments held across the academic year (2021-2022) determined the league champion and speaker awards.
Qatar Universities Debate League Champion: Georgetown University in Qatar
Qatar Universities Debate League Best Speaker: Pragyan Acharya, (SFS’24)
Other League Speaker Awards:
3rd Best Speaker in the League: Gaebriel Joseph Olsen, (SFS’25)
4th Best Speaker in the League: Asma Shakeel, (SFS’24)
5th Best Speaker in the League: Raed Asad, (SFS’25)
6th Best Speaker in the League: Yaseen Muhammad, (SFS’25)
9th Best Speaker in the League: Adrian Lopres, (SFS’24)
Novice Speaker Awards in the League are awarded to those for whom it was also their first year of debating.
Qatar Universities Debate League Best Novice Speaker: Gaebriel Joseph Olsen, (SFS’25)
Other Novice Speaker Awards:
2nd Best Novice Speaker: Raed Asad, (SFS’25)
3rd Best Novice Speaker: Yaseen Muhammad, (SFS’25)
5th Best Novice Speaker: Juan Carlo Landayan, (SFS’24)
6th Best Novice Speaker: John Carlos Burog, (SFS’25)
7th Best Novice Speaker: Elene Chkhaidze, (SFS’25)