Qatari student from Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) Moza Alhajr is actively shaping the future of debate in Qatar and the Arabic-speaking world. She recently served as the Master of Ceremonies at the inaugural International Conference on Debate and Dialogue (ICDD) organised by QatarDebate. GU-Q is a partner university of Qatar Foundation

The two-day conference brought together the global debate community of researchers, academics and practitioners to promote the development of knowledge production in the fields of debate, dialogue and argumentation.

In her role as moderator of the first panel, Moza said she was acutely aware that she would be the first impression the audience would get of a very new and different initiative by QatarDebate, which is expanding beyond organising international competitive championships, to organising conferences that study the impact of competitive debate tournaments.

Moza, taking up Foreign Service major in International Economics at GU-Q, is not just passionate about arguing, she excels at it. Competing at the 2nd Asian Arabic Debating Championship in Oman, Moza emerged victorious, winning Best Speaker and helping the GU-Q Arabic Debate Team reach the top four winner’s circle. Moza’s involvement with the Qatar National Debate team in the past, coupled with her current role as an ambassador for QatarDebate, positioned her as a rising star in the field.

Moza was involved with the ICDD conference from the very beginning, taking part in the brainstorming session that took place earlier this year. After that, she was involved in the planning, drafting and content development, as well as communication with the impressive roster of panellists and participants who attended.

QatarDebate Conference

Under the title of Debate Institutes: Role and Impact, and in the presence of high-ranking government officials and leaders in the debating world from around the world, she asked the panellists about the purpose behind their work and their plans for expanding their impact to wide regions and institutionalising the practice of debate.

The theme that resonated most with Moza was the issue of Islamic Heritage in debate, which touched on her interests in elevating Arabic language debate and focusing on local culture and society, not only Western approaches to the field.

She said she believed it is important to look back at the country’s tradition of dialogue and study it to be able to adopt the values it stemmed from, as well as see a different point of view from which the current competitive debate format can be evaluated and challenged.

With the experience behind her, Moza says her involvement with the ICDD has had a lasting impact.

Moza said she looks forward to a future where she can use her debate knowledge and skills, alongside her preparation in international affairs, to be a part of Qatar’s efforts in facilitating international dialogue and negotiation for a peaceful future.

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