UK is celebrating this year the next generation of Pakistani leaders, influencers and opinion makers; says Thomas Drew
Nation special report
ISLAMABAD: Under the auspices of British High Commission, the third annual ‘GREAT Debate’ competition final was held in Islamabad on Saturday. The event was attended by members of the media and civil society, Chevening alumni and senior officials from the British High Commission and British Council.
The audience witnessed a high intensity competition between 14 of the top debaters from across universities in Pakistan who spoke for and against topics on peace, prosperity, democracy and technology. The judging panel consisted of British Council Pakistan Country Director Rosemary Hilhorst, British High Commission’s Director of Corporate Services Giles Whitaker, Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan Jean Francois Cautain and Consultant for the UNDP Ermeena Malik.
The Chief Guest at the event was the British High Commissioner Thomas Drew. After a competitive round of fixtures, Muhiba Ahmed from Lahore and Umer Waqas Ahmed from Gujrat were judged to be the winner and runner-up of the GREAT Debate competition.
The British High Commissioner Thomas Drew said: “This year the UK is celebrating the next generation of Pakistani leaders, influencers and opinion makers. The forthcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in the UK in April also has a strong youth focus in its priorities. I am delighted that with the annual GREAT Debate we are able to give this next generation a platform to showcase their debating skills, hone their talent and get the opportunity to meet debaters from different universities and cities”. “This marks the third edition of the GREAT Debate and I am pleased that we have been able to include over 150 debaters.
The art of debating is in good health and will continue to grow further in universities and colleges across Pakistan. I congratulate all the finalists.
I am sure you will all play a vital part in the future success of Pakistan,” he added. Thomas Drew said that this is very healthy competition which creates interest among students and they get handsome amount to meet their education expenses. “Pakistan and Britain enjoy very close, cordial and trust worthy relations and such activities will obviously boost these ties beneficial for both the countries”, he added. The UK and Pakistan are both members of the Commonwealth and in spring 2018 at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in the UK. Both countries will be working together to strengthen the relationship between Commonwealth countries. The GREAT Debate competition held in 2017-18 was the third annual edition of the competition that gives students from across Pakistan a plat form to participate in debates, interact with other students from different universities and hone their skills in research, analytical thinking and public speaking.
The fourteen final participants of the GREAT Debate will be given one year British Council digital library memberships. The winner and runner-up of the overall competition will receive a scholarship reward to contribute towards their tuition fees. The GREAT Debate is a debating competition for university students. There were seven semifinals – in seven different cities(Islamabad, Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar, Gujarat, Faisalabad and Mirpur) involving students from over 50 leading universities across Pakistan – and the winner and runner-up of each semi-final competed in the final in Islamabad.
The competition was open to all enrolled university students. It is an ideal opportunity every year to get involved in healthy debates and not only enhance knowledge on key current affairs topics but also improve public speaking and research skills, gain confidence, and engage with fellow students from universities all over Pakistan. The competition run in 2 rounds – the first round was consisted of regional debates which were happened nationwide. Every regional winner and runner up then proceeded to Islamabad for the grand finale. The prizes for the regional winner and runner up are free one year membership of the British Council digital library. The prize for the GREAT Debates competition is the British High Commission Scholarship. The winner gets a PKR 400,000 grant towards their semester fee where as the runner up will gets PKR200,000 grant to their semester fee.