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     Volume 2 Issue 31| August 1, 2010|


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“Let's Love Logic”
National Debate Competition 2010

Gunjan Barua & Injamam-Ul Alam

IT was the year 1953, four years after the founding of Notre Dame College, Father R.W. Timm, an internationally famed scientist, wanted to make students believe in the power of logic. Thus the first ever debating club of Bangladesh came to existence. He decided to name it Notre Dame Debating Club.

Fifty-seven years have passed since then. Today, NDDC has a glorious heritage to boast of. Till now, as many as 22 debating competitions have been organised by the college at the national level. Each year, teachers and moderators lead the club in the battle of reasons. Father Adam S. Pereira CSC moderated the 22nd National Debating Competition. The month before the beginning of the National (as the event is popularly known) had been a busy time for the executive committee. The EC is chosen from the '10th HSC batch. The '11th and '12th batch worked as senior and junior program officers respectively.

Everyone was allotted a specific job. The first hurdle was the financial support for which a sponsor was needed. As always, Prime Bank Limited came to our rescue. To the organisers, it is always a relief when the fund source is ensured, as only then would we be able to concentrate on other factors. First, invitation letters had to be sent to different institutions. A bus ride to Uttara beating the 36 degree Celsius heat to distribute letters was not easy. First year students were given the job to paste posters all over Dhaka. “In NDDC if you are a freshman, you develop an intimate relationship with the streets”, is what we told them during the first club meeting, and strangely they didn't seem to mind. They were all more than happy to help. As mentioned earlier, the new recruits had the designations of JPO (Junior Program Officer) and they were divided into different departments. There is this Tabulation department where all the debate adjudication papers are calculated and the Computer department gets all the information in the P.C. The Office department handles all the paperwork for the event. Also there is the Food department supplying food and drinks, and Discipline department responsible for maintaining order in the event.

Then there is the Communication department, and last but not least, the Decoration department. The Prime Bank-NDDC National Debate Competition was inaugurated on 14 July. Former Chief Justice and former chief of Caretaker Government, Justice Habibur Rahman was the chief guest of the inauguration ceremony. Deputy Managing Director of Prime Bank Limited, M. Riazul Karim was the special guest of the event. Principal of Notre Dame College, Fr. Benjamin Costa, CSC., vice principal of the college and Club coordinator Fr. Bakul S. Rozario CSC., Moderator of NDDC Fr. Adam S. Pereira C.S.C. and Co-moderator of NDDC Komol Gomez were also present.

The competition was divided into five sector--Inter Club Bangla debate championship, Inter club English debate championship, Inter School debate championship and Wall magazine competition. 36 teams from different colleges and universities participated in Inter club Bangla debate, 32 teams in Inter club English debate and 16 teams in Inter school debate. 20 teams from different schools and colleges attended in the wall magazine competition.

The inter club Bangla debate was held following the parliamentary format. The topic for the first round was “Obama's principle got laid down by American imperialism” and “The ability of replacing rather than solving problems made capitalism the strongest economic system”. Teams like NDDC Gold, NDDC Silver, Stamford University, BUET, NSU, Dhaka College, Holy Cross College, GOD, and Dhaka City College were promoted to the 2nd round.

The battle between the teams turned harder as round 2 kicked off. Some of the topics for the round were ‘incompatibility of the economic system of Bangladesh with the world order’ and ‘Islam as the future ruler of New World Order.’ NDDC Gold, NDDC Silver, BUET, Stamford University, Dhaka College, GOD and NSU managed to step into the quarter-finals.

The quarter-final was held in another format of debate, which is called format-T. Teams of four competed for the quarter-finals. The teams were excellent in their roles, which made it difficult for the judges to choose the candidates for the semifinal round. At long last NSU, Stamford University, BUET and Dhaka College-RNA team were the semifinalists.

In the semifinal, NSU faced Dhaka college-RNA while Stamford University faced BUET. The rounds of debates were highly engaging for the audience. Stamford University and Dhaka College-RNA were the lucky teams to face each other in the finals.

The motion of the final debate was “Welfare Capitalism is the best way of developing the Third world nations”. Dhaka college-RNA was for the motion and Stamford University was against the motion. It was quite an experience to watch the best two teams battling each other in the final.

On the other hand, the inter club English debate was held following the British parliamentary system. Thirty-two teams participated in this competition. There were four teams in the finals - one from IBA and three from NSU. The home team failed to show their magic to reach the finals. The motion of the final was “the house would have a unipolar earth government”. The teams tried their level best to win the title of the champion.

Almost 250 participants were a part of this event. The champion of the Inter club Bangla debate was Dhaka College-RNA. Nahian Bin Khaled from the winning team was selected as the debater of the tournament for his splendid performance. He received Tk. 7000 as prize money. On the other hand, North South University won the title of champion in inter club English debate championship. Navid from the winning team was the debater of the tournament, receiving Tk. 7000. Ahsan Habib from BUET was the champion and Nazmul Hossain Avi from GOD was the runners-up of public speaking in Bangla. Nazm-us-Sadat of LCLS was the Champion and Shamir Montazid from NDDC was the runners-up of public speaking in English. In the wall magazine competition, Notre Dame College came 1st while Holy Cross College came 2nd.

On July 24, the concluding ceremony of the event took place. Ehsanur Rahman, Managing Director of Prime Bank Limited was the chief guest of the ceremony. Deputy Managing Director M. Riazul Karim, Fr. R.W. Timm, founder of NDDC, Fr. Benjamin Costa, Principal of Notre Dame College, Vice principal of the college and Club Coordinator Fr. Bakul S. Rozario were present as special guests. Fr. Adam S. Pereira,presided over the session. The prize giving ceremony started after the speeches of the guests.

The programme could not have taken place without the help of Prime Bank Limited. Notre Dame Debating Club is much grateful to them. Radio ABC and Star Campus were the media partners and Nescafe was the hot beverage partner of this event. Special thanks go to the College authorities, members of NDDC, the participants and the honorable judges, who took time out of their busy lives to handle the whole event as meticulously as they could. Let us hope this glorious play of logic will continue for many more years in the future.

(Writers are the debaters and the members of Notre Dame Debating Club)

Battling with Logic

Sadia Afrin Arin and Antia Reza

NOTRE Dame Debating Club (NDDC) organised the 22nd National Debate Competition 2010, from 14 to 24 July at Notre Dame College. The theme of the debate was “Global Order”. 16 teams and 8 schools participated in the competition. It was a great opportunity for students to develop their skills in sharing and debating on various topics.

Fr. Adam S. Pereira, the moderator, explained his expectations from the students. He said, “They will be benefitted and ultimately the country will be benefitted”. He thinks competitions like these will improve the condition of our country and the people in the long run. When I asked him about his expectation from other participants, he said, “We expect same kind of enthusiasm from all of them, but from our club members we expect much more. This is a National Level competition that is eagerly anticipated by everyone”.

I was amazed to see the enthusiasm of the members of NDDC, who organised the competition. “Through debating we get to know what is happening around the world”, said Gunjan Barua, a member of NDDC and one of the participants. As the topic of the debate was “Global Order”, they know about imperialism and economy, which will help them in future in their career. “Though we are college students, we are talking about the pros and cons of government policies. We are talking about USA's aggression; we talk about whether it is good or bad”, he added.

To them it does not matter whether they lose or win the competition, what matters is that they know the important things. One of the volunteers, Gunjan said, “We are one step ahead of others as we are participating in the debate. Those who do not participate in such activities limit their knowledge only to books”. It is true that by participating in debates one can gain immense knowledge, which cannot be found simply by reading text books. The members of NDDC are participating in the debate and at the same time they are organising the programme. “Our debating skills are improving and so are our organisational skills. It will definitely come into use in future”, said Gunjan. Their seniors, who used to organise such competitions before, inspired them to participate and volunteer. “They are successful people whose debating skills helped in their respective career”, he added.

When I asked Gunjan what they think about other participants from other schools, he said, “What we noticed is that participants from other schools are immensely talented. Most students are from class eight or nine, the level of their knowledge is really good. The judges felt the same. Their creativity is awesome”. Students from other schools and colleges are very interested in participating in the competition because this is a prestigious tournament.

From Mahadib Habib, President of Administration, NDDC, we got to know that in the club there are three presidents; President of Administration, President of Debate and Workshop and President of Press and Publication. “Administration controls the whole thing. We decide who gives the opening speech, who the Chief Guest will be, among other things”, said Mahadi. Debate and Workshop decides the topic and also selects the judges while Press and Publication takes the responsibility of posters and banners. “We know how to cope up with club activities and so these activities do not hamper our studies”, Mahadi added.

The moderator of Notre Dame Collage said that they did face some minor problems while organising this debate. He said, “Ultimately I select the president of the club but I take opinions from others as well. Sometimes I accept their opinions and sometimes I don't. While selecting the president usually I look for certain qualities. He has to be someone who can communicate with ease and can organise effortlessly.”

Photos: Ranak Martin


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