"This House believes women will be worse off after the Arab revolutions."
"This House believes for the sake of democracy Egypt should postpone elections."
"This House believes Turkey is a bad model for the new Arab states."
These are just a few of the current events topics that have been discussed on the Doha Debates, a Qatar Foundation project aired to an international audience via BBC World News. The series, which is currently in its eighth season, has developed a reputation for initiating public dialogue on a range of challenging and timely topics in the Arab world, visiting representatives said during an interactive information session at NYUAD.
NYUAD students both learned about the history of the show, and shared their own ideas on debate topics and ideas for the program.
The show originated in 2004 when host Tim Sebastian encountered the Emir of Qatar and proposed the idea of open and free town hall debates to encourage independent thought and dialogue, Senior Educational Outreach Coordinator Sheelagh Windrum said. The rest was history. The unrehearsed show has continued to attract the attention of both local and international audiences, acting as an important window into the Arab world.
"We're hoping that we are educating (the youth) of what's happening not just in their own countries, but educating them on other aspects of what's happening in the Middle East," Windrum said.
NYUAD freshman Anirudh Sood said that while he was previously unfamiliar with the show, he was impressed with the unique and impactful nature of the initiative, noting: "They're trying to redefine the Arab image to the world."