Dubai: A Dubai-based Indian expat is out to mentor and develop debating skills among youngsters in the hope that more students from the UAE get access to global debating tournaments.
Bhavani Kriplani, a mother of two who is nurturing a debating community through her entity Vocalise, now manages the UAE Debate Organisation, which mentors and trains a UAE team to compete in the World Schools Debating Championship (WSDC).
She said the UAE Debate Organisation seeks to play a pivotal role in developing the UAE debate circuit and introducing debate to diverse schools.
“Through proactive involvement in conducting free-of-cost workshops, we hope to enhance accessibility to debating and similar tournaments,” she said.
Kriplani said, “We offer support to schools in establishing debate clubs, providing introductory and intermediate workshops as needed, with the overarching goal of establishing the UAE as a formidable contender in the global debate circuit.”
The World Schools Debating Championship stands as the world’s oldest high school debating tournament, drawing participation from over 80 teams representing various countries in pursuit of the coveted title of World School Champions. Held in a different country each year, this event represents a key platform for high school debaters to showcase their skills on an international stage, she explained.
According to her, the UAE Debate Organisation opens applications to students above the age of 14 every year, irrespective of their prior debate experience.
“Prospective participants are required to submit an application comprising a debate speech and a written case, which are evaluated by the coaches and debaters with significant standing in the global debate circuit,” she said.
Following the preliminary application review, a pool of students is shortlisted by the coaches for trial selections. During this phase, the debaters engage in multiple rounds of debate, evaluated by independent adjudicators, including the coaches. Based on their performance, a final squad of five representatives for Team UAE is selected, while the remaining participants form the development squad. The organization covers all training and associated expenses for the selected students, with the exception of travel costs to the tournament, noted Kriplani.
An inaugural in-person tournament hosted in Dubai last week saw the participation of 120 students from top schools in the UAE.
Beyond the competitive aspect, the event entailed a master class, delivered by the UAE team and the developmental squad. This session aimed to equip debaters with comprehensive insights into the strategic nuances of debating and the discerning perspectives essential for effective judgment, added Kriplani.