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Welcome home! We're glad you made it!

Many of you have experience with public speaking: giving formal or informal presentations in classes, teaching in schools, or maybe even participating in a speaking competition. Debate will let you use and develop those skills, but it will also help you to develop other skills--close reading, interpretation, critical reasoning, argumentation, rhetorical invention--and all in front of a live audience!

"This house believes" that debate will be an exciting and enriching addition to your university experience. So sign on, jump in, "reach higher," and Speak Up!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Echoes: Feedback and Aftershocks

Hello, debaters.

I wanted to share with you a few words from our college leadership.

First, Dr. Rachel Johnson, an Assistant Dean and Professor of Psychology (and one of our wonderful faculty advisors) reported on a few of her conversations after the event. In include a slightly shortened version of her comments here:

Jonathan - 

How amazing to have students prepare arguments, in English, and speak in public. Just having achieved this is a great thing.  

I know my group . . . didn't have much time to prepare and as a consequence their content was quite weak. Their will to participate meant that this wouldn't hold them back.  Then, at the end all three were so proud of themselves.  One of them . . .  told me that she had been truly terrified.  But she'd been prepared to put herself through this ordeal.  She then told me that it was the first time ever that she'd spoken in public - she'd not performed before, even in front of a small group, even in Arabic.  She then said that now she knows that she can both speak in public and do this in English.  And so she's going to participate again.  She was very grateful to have had the experience and boost to self-esteem.

I also spoke with the Gulf News representatives [Bala and Sanjay].  The two blokes told me how MUCH they'd enjoyed the debate, how impressed they were with the students - their energy confidence insight humour and force.  They had also been impressed by your previous 'debate on debates'.   They told me to thank you on their behalf.

I also talked to [Aida Al Busaidy] and [Maysam Ali].  They shared similar views.  They were amazed to hear also that many of the women would be from the Northern Emirates.  They're keen to cover events outside of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, so will be in touch again with you, CHSS and probably Maryak Bayshak.  They want to know about any 'event' going on here that would be interesting to cover.

Dr Rachel Johnson

Assistant Dean, Planning and Assessment

Associate Professor, Psychology

College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Second, the response from Dean Baker, who remarked how pleased and proud he was several times throughout the event:


Permit me to add to Rachel's encomium my own hearty written congratulations

to you and our faculty colleagues for an extraordinarily successful start to

the debate culture on campus. It would not have been nearly so wonderful

without your personal skill in bringing it all together. Today's Gulf News

has two splendid stories. It was a great occasion, and the students'

enthusiasm was wonderful to behold. No doubt word is spreading among

students and you may be swamped with more recruits and the need to move to a

larger venue next time! 


[Dean Baker]

Of course, all the congratulations belong to you, the teams and squads and advisors who worked so hard behind the scenes. Let's keep it up!

And speaking of congratulations, here's a link to the continued coverage in Gulf News' Notes section. 

We're still waiting for pictures to trickle in, and will post them as soon as we can. In the meantime, remember our general meeting scheduled for Wednesday.

Among other things, we need to sign up new recruits, establish our student executive, approve a schedule for the next round of debates, discuss last week's event, and (maybe) have a short training session on evidence. It will be a busy but important meeting. 

See you there!

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