On December 19th, 2020 An Najah University Debate Society saw three team members compete in the Bristol University Online Open Debate Championship. The competition included 47 teams (94 speakers) from around the world, particularly Europe, Asia, and North America with nearly 40 top achieving international adjudicators.
Recent graduate of the Metatronics Engineering Department, Shehab Ahmad Ali Khader, current Physics Department undergraduate Zaina Jamal Hurani, and An Najah alumni and new team member Bayan Robin Natsheh represented the University at the competition.
The competition was structured in a 'Pro Am' British Parliamentary format whereby international speakers who have made finals in any several international competitions within their 'open' (non-novice categories) can partner with any speakers internationally who have not made to open category finals in international competitions.
This structure of the British parliamentary debate involves four teams competing against one another with two teams per side and two members per team. Each team aims to create the most persuasive case after only 15 minutes of preparation.
There were four open rounds for all teams to compete followed by three levels of finals for the top 4 teams (gold final), 5-8th ranking teams (silver finals), and 9th - 12th ranking top teams (bronze finals). The rounds focused on diverse topics within global contextualization related to: democracy and civic engagement, AI, philosophy and morality, employment and labor rights.
Shehab and Bayan teamed up and did very well representing our team, receiving impressive adjudication feedback for their performances. Zaina Hurani and her partner, Muhammad Muzzamil Godil, competed in the 'pro-am’ category and made it to the Silver Finals. Godil is a 3rd year undergraduate international student at the U.S. based John Hopkins University working towards his Bachelors in in Science (Bs) in Computer Science and Mathematics. Godil has most recently ranked as 2nd top ESL speaker at the U.S. Universities Debating Championship (USUDC) while Hurani has regularly ranked in top novice speakers and made it to several novice finals including the U.S. based Duke University Online Open, which she participated in many other with her debating partner Tayseer Sultan Alawneh, a medical student and an amazing debater in An-Najah University.
Together, they succeeded in making it to the Silver Finals with three other teams all ranking 5th-8th top teams of the competition. Among nearly 100 speakers, Zaina Hurani ranked 12th top overall speaker and 2nd place novice speaker. This marks the first time any debater representing a Palestinian institution has made it to an international open category (non-novice) final, marking a major achievement for the University.
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