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     Volume 1 Issue 9 | October 1, 2006 |


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IBA takes debating to soaring heights!

Nabila Amin

It was a moment of truth, a time to both rejoice in the triumph of success as well as to face the harsh reality, an instant that was to change some people's lives forever. Amidst hundreds of throbbing hearts and an intense atmosphere of anticipation that grasped the entire hall room, the verdict began “… and the winner of the IBA National English Debate Championship 2006 is…”. “IBA”, roared the crowd in strong support. Well, both the letters 'I' and 'B' certainly matched except that a 'U' had to come in between.

The story of 42 young aspiring individuals finally came to an exhilarating end when it was unveiled on September 18 at Radisson Water Garden Hotel that Independent University of Bangladesh (IUB) emerged triumphant in the event.

IBA National English Debate Championship 2006 was a grand four-day event organized by the IBA Debating Club (IBADC) under the leadership of Syed Munir Khasru the Moderator of IBADC and Faculty, IBA. The companies sponsoring this tournament were Citibank, Texas Group, The Financial Express, and Ispahani Group.

The purpose of the Championship was to bring the most talented debaters from across the country in both public and private universities under the same roof. Ideal ground was created for the battle of words to be waged among the brightest in an environment that saw the best of debaters, the most experienced panel of adjudicators, and an army of highly efficient organizers put their efforts in successfully hosting one of the most well organized and prestigious debating championship held in recent times.

With a strong will to combat just about anyone with only one weapon…words…participants from 13 public and private universities of Bangladesh, namely AIUB, BRAC, Chittagong University, Dhaka University Debating Society, Dhaka Medical College, East West University, IBA, IUB, IUT, NSU, People's University, Rajshahi University, and Stamford University enrolled into the competition which commenced on September 15. It was almost afternoon when the debaters started to step into the jovial, decorative atmosphere that prevailed at the IBA premises. Having completed the registration procedures, students were given a genial welcoming brief by the moderator of IBADC about the event and certain rules and limitations to abide by in the competition and thus acclimatizing them with the setting.

Then there was the lottery session to chalk out the game-plan as to which team was to combat whom in which session. The resulting reactions as the names of the teams and their rivals were being announced was indeed a must see. Some groups had faint smirks on their faces while others were exchanging glimpses of consternation among the team members.

Nonetheless, everyone seemed anxious for the battle to begin. Following this, the participants enjoyed a lively photo session along with the IBA volunteers whereby they could freely intermingle and enjoy some light moments. However, the merriment had to be interrupted and the atmosphere forced to change when the first motion was announced and subsequently the first session of first round debates was held.

A refreshment break in the late afternoon helped ease the situation and provided the teams in the second session with a conducive time to warm up for action. As scheduled, the second session of first round debates of the IBA National English Debate Championship took place within joie de vivre.

With the first day coming to a conclusion, the fate of many had been already decided as to who were moving up into the quarter-finals that continued simultaneously throughout the morning of the next day, i.e. September 16, at the same IBA premises. Though classes were cancelled at IBA, students flocked here and there to watch their teams perform and participate in the fun of debating as teams rolled over a bulldozer on one another. The rooms where the debates were being held breathed an infusion air of seriousness, apprehension, passion, and of course, occasional fits of laughter.

The jubilation on the part of IBA was definitely of no bounds when both the IBA teams made it into the semi-finals that were held on the same day but only at the late afternoon session. IBA Team-1 was up against Dhaka Medical College (DMC) while IBA Team-2 was to take on IUB.

Both the semi-finals were remarkable in their own distinct ways. The first can rightly be termed as “the un-debatable debate” where the two sides were at loggerheads over the motion of “privatization is exploitation”; while the latter was rather the “debate of the cool customers” in which the challengers were fiercely at each other's throats with daggers drawn, fighting over whether media is a modern tool for manipulation or not. Even the two battlegrounds imparted very different upshots to the beholders: IBA Team-1 propelled themselves into the final with a relatively better performance, whereas IUB secured their place in the last phase of this grand event with an emphatic win.

The instant of the title fight commencing was a much awaited moment not only for the contestants but also for the many anxious spirits involved with this event. The final was held at the IBA Auditorium on September 17 and started off around 7 in the evening amidst a room bursting with enthusiasm, anticipation, and the thrill of watching such a tight competition. The crowd fell to an eerie silence as the motion for the ultimate round of debate was declared: “Conservatism will triumph over liberalization”.

What followed after that was a pure enjoyment for anyone who likes to indulge into debating as the confident IBA team comprising of Mohammad Arbaaz Nayeem, Ilma Nur Chowdhury, and Tanvira Choudhury battled against the seasoned IUB debaters: Tanvir Ahmed Haroon, Azim Ahmed, and Md. Habeebur Rahman Sheikh. Among the two distinguished guests present to address the special occasion was the Vice Chancellor of Dhaka University, Prof. Dr. S.M.A. Faiz and the Dean of Arts Faculty, Dr. Sadrul Amin, and Dr. Iftekhar Ghani Chowdhury, Director, IBA.

Well, it was ensured that the excitement of the final would prevail and the festivity continued for at least another day since the results were to be revealed at the championship dinner and award-giving ceremony held in much grandeur on the evening of September 18 at the Utshaab Ballroom of Radisson Water Garden Hotel.

The organisers, i.e. the IBA students volunteering for this event along with the man behind this event, Mr. Munir Khasru had already flocked to the premises and were busy in last minute preparations ensuring that all goes smoothly. Around 7:30 in the evening, the guests began to pour in and were ushered into their respective tables. Present on the occasion were the debaters, adjudicators, IBA faculty, moderators of the debating clubs of the various universities, executives from corporate houses, banks and multinational companies, and among others, the VC of NSU, Prof. Hafiz G.A. Siddiqi and the VC of IUB Prof. Bazlul Mobin Choudhury.

Once the majority of the expected invitees had arrived, the signal for the commencement of the actual program was given and the hosts for the evening took over the podium. Mr. Syed Munir Khasru, Moderator, IBADC and Faculty, IBA started the program with his welcome address and was followed by Mr. Khd. Rashed Maqsood, Vice President and Head-Global Transaction Services, Citibank N.A., Bangladesh. Then the Director of IBA, Prof. Dr. Iftekher Ghani Chowdhury shared his thoughts with the audience regarding the championship. Lastly, VC of Dhaka University, Prof. Dr. S.M.A. Faiz, who was also the chief guest for the event, graced the occasion with his kind words. Following this, a splendidly impressive animation show comprising of the highlights of the championship up until the award-giving ceremony at Radisson was presented. Next, the certificates of the participating teams were handed over to the team leaders of the 12 teams excepting the finalists.

Then arrived the moment of truth for which everyone had been waiting for. The fact that would bring glory to some but would sadden others. In a room crowded with eager faces, the words of Mr. Abdur Noor Tushar, the Speaker of the final debate and popular TV anchor, seemed to echo as he announced IUB as the winner of the IBA National Debate Championship 2006. Attractive crystal trophies were then presented to the winners, runners-up and the best speaker, i.e. Tanvir Ahmed Haroon from IUB. At a time where vibes of victory, celebration and solidarity were all around, a music video of the theme song for this event, “Akash sporsher anubhob” took everyone by surprise and helped evoke in our hearts what all of our ultimate dream is…our much desired unified prosperous Bangladesh.

A mouth-watering dinner awaited the guests after this and people just indulged in the various delicacies offered, especially the “sweet things”. The program was definitely not over yet as the IBA team had more fun up their sleeves to get you rolling. A breath-taking drama was staged immediately after dinner based on the theme of debating.

IBADC Moderator Syed Munir Khasru with the two IBA teams

The entire ballroom seemed to be rocking in incessant fits of laughter to the fantastic yet superbly hilarious acts of the cast. There were wonderful musical performances by the IBA students subsequently. The night came to an end with the crowd swaying to the enchanting melody of popular singer Tahsan's voice as he sang one of his very popular numbers “Prematal”, walking through the audience and becoming a part of this amazing celebration of life, youth, and of course, unity.

Heartiest congratulations to the IUB team for winning the championship with their brilliant performance. More importantly, hats off to IBA all those people involved in the making of this outstanding event into a phenomenal success.

Their unique foresight, meticulous planning, creative input, relentless labours and dedication towards excellence have once again helped prove themselves to be the very best.

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