The Debating Society of UNYP

Diana Ghalib

Student in the Bachelor’s in International & Economic Relations program 

The Debating Society of UNYP is a unique club. After a moribund semester, it rose from the ashes to become one of the university’s most successful societies.

The Debating Society holds meetings every two weeks, in which it conducts debating sessions in the British Parliament style and the Oxford Union style. Students learn about the different formats and procedural rules of various debate schools. They also learn how to construct an argument, and perfect the art of persuasion by presenting relevant evidence. Most importantly, Debating Society members have the chance to practice their public speaking skills in an environment that is relaxed and friendly but professional. This helps them to build their confidence and speak clearly in front of large groups.   

The great thing about this club is that it is both a society and a family. Every member has a unique role to play, and all members are encouraged to participate in organizing and running the club’s activities, and to suggest ideas for improvements. Students actively cooperate to come up with ways to improve their learning experience. The Debating Society has an outstanding record in making each and every meeting creative and different; dull and redundant discussions have no place here. The topics of debate change dramatically from session to session, corresponding to current global issues. One day could see a debate about ISIS and the Syrian refugees, and another day the club could tackle the issue of climate change. However, not every session includes a traditional debate; the Debating Society also organizes workshops and information sessions to teach specific debate techniques, as well as in-depth examination of topics that the students may know little about. Last but not least, the Debating Society organizes public debates and forums that are open to students and professors alike, and participates in interscholastic debates. 

The Debating Society is a great place to learn, but it is not always as staid and serious as it might appear at first glance. Students regularly incorporate humor into their speeches, and sometimes set up mock sessions to debate frivolous concepts. Debating Society members are open-minded, friendly people, and they make an excellent team. They become good friends through sharing great experiences, and are always eager to accept new members into the family. 

International businesswoman and writer Margaret Heffernan (an international business woman and a writer) once said “For good ideas and true innovation, you need human interaction, conflict, argument, debate.” The Debating Society follows those principles in its push for innovation and creativity, and now plans to include field trips to local organizations and businesses. Finally, the Debating Society of UNYP plans to go global as it prepares to participate in international tournaments, starting in Europe and possibly all over the world.  

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