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Linking Young Minds Together
     Volume 2 Issue 117| May 3, 2009|


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English Debate for Empowerment
1st Inter Club English Debate Championship @ Mohsin Hall, DU

The University of Dhaka has a rich and triumphant history of producing outstanding English debaters, going back to the days even before the liberation war. In those days, debaters from DU dominated the national debating arena. They remained a formidable force in this region for many years after the inception of Bangladesh, bringing glory to the country on numerous occasions. However, somewhere along the way, DU debaters lost their grasp over their position of supremacy, and the culture of English debating seemed to fade into the background. In recent years, many initiatives are being taken to revive the spirit of the glorious past of DU English debaters. One such laudable initiative is the one taken by the Mohsin Hall Debating Club in organizing its 1st Inter-Club English Debate Championship 2009.

THE 1st Inter-Club English Debate championship 2009, organized by MHDC from 8-11 April in the magnificent Senate building on the University of Dhaka campus, marks the constant devotion and tremendous creative energy of the members of the club. A total of 34 debating clubs from all over Bangladesh participated in this event. Prof. Ahmed Jamal Anwar, Provost, Hazi Muhammad Mohsin Hall, and Future Group (FG) were the chief sponsors of the tournament. With the help of the sponsorship and the tireless efforts of the organizers, the event was a very successful one indeed.

Prof. Dr. Harun-ar-Rasid, Pro-VC, University of Dhaka, was chief guest of the inaugural session. The ceremony also witnessed the inspiring presence of Kazi Ali Reza, Officer-in-Charge, UNIC, Bangladesh. The debates started on the second day. The tenth year anniversary of the club was celebrated on the third day, attended by Prof. Dr. Mijanur Rahman, Treasurer, University of Dhaka as chief guest.

The final session started on 11 April at 4:30 PM in the main senate auditorium. North South University (NSU) emerged champions after the lively final debate. Another team from NSU was the first runner up; Notre Dame was the 2nd runner up, and AIUP the third runner up. Prof, Dr. AAMS Arefin Siddique, University of Dhaka, graced the occasion with his presence. He assured MHDC of continued assistance in arranging such programs in the days to come. He also praised the bonds that hold the debating fraternity together and expressed the opinion that debate is the best co-curricular activity to bring students close together.

Prof. Fakrul Alam, faculty of the English Department, was present as the special guest in the event. He enthusiastically expressed his deep sense of satisfaction regarding the performance of the debaters and the quality of the debates.

The session was presided over by Mohammad Al-Amin Kaiser, President, Mohsin Hall Debating Club. He stated that if debate is for democracy, then the debates held on the day of the final session served as an ideal platform from which significant decisions could have stemmed.

Samim Reza, Professor of Journalism, DU; Dr. Zinnath Huda, Dept. Of Sociology, DU; Debasis Kundu Kakon, Lecturer, Dept. Of Sociology, JNU; Mehedi Kaiser Pabitra, Lecturer, Dept. Of English, SEU; Mr. Roman, Vice Chair, BDC; and Md. Abir Hasan, IBA, DU, were the judges of the final session.

Over the last 10 years, MHDC has conducted weekly, monthly and yearly programs on a regular basis. Both Bengali and English sessions are held every week, which are attended by many students from different departments. MHDC has also organized many inter-hall, inter-club, inter-department and national debating championships, as well as workshops, seminars and conferences on debate.

After much deliberations and considerations, Rafik Raihan and Rasedujjaman Menon took the momentous initiative to set up the Mohsin Hall Debating Club (MHDC) in 1998. It was an initiative that was driven by the desire to establish a truly democratic society, and it was a success. They both deserve much credit for their hard work and persistence, as they were in the helm during a very tough period. MHDC has now come a long way indeed after weathering the storm it faced in its formative years. Mahfuz Anam, Editor of The Daily Star, Shamim Reza, Professor M.M Akas, Professor A S M Atikur Rahman and many others are among the famous names that have represented Mohsin Hall in many national and international debate tournaments. The legacy of those days still lives on and is a constant source of inspiration for the aspiring debaters of Mohsin Hall.

Composite culture, polished politics and refined sensibility are the themes that guide the activities of this club, which has a celebrated history to live up to.

(The writer is a student of the Dept. of English, DU and Convener, MHDC)

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